A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats?

When President Kennedy said a rising tide lifts all boats, he was referring to the fact that developing natural resources in an environmentally sound way and restoring our manufacturing productivity was beneficial to all. Pursuing policies of full employment would lead to more wealth for all.

Today, his quote is used to back the idea that if we pursue policies aimed at Wall Street, Main Street will benefit. Surely, policies aimed at undermining Wall Street will undermine Main Street. You cannot long enrich the poor by attempting to impoverish the rich. We need investment and opportunities for all us to benefit from capital formation. Still, the idea that you can transfer wealth from the worker to the investor and benefit the worker is equally fool-hearty. This idea has resulted in stagnant wages, a declining manufacturing base, and declining median household income. Economic growth is anemic. The East is rising, the West is stuck in a morass. The global top 1% are prospering. In the U. S., 95% of income gain has gone to 1% of the population during the Obama years. It appears some of the boats ran aground and are yet to recover.

What is the solution? Do we need a big government picking winners and losers? Do we need our dreams of success being taken away by regulators and replaced with mediocrity? Do we exchange our freedom to achieve for the monotony of sameness? I say no.

We need a strategy of economic inclusion. We need to insure that our policies are business friendly, family friendly, and benefit the general welfare (common interest) while not attacking the individual welfare (special interests). Government belongs to all of the people. Its policies should be sensible and generally benefit all of the people not just those who give political donations or have armies of workers.

We should tear down barriers which have redlined communities. We need to affirmatively bring capital formation to those communities with 21st century enterprise zones. We should insure the family is considered in every policy. We should follow the intent of our founders for a limited government. We should protect property including intellectual property with reasonable opportunity to profit. Our tax system should be simple, fair, family friendly, labor friendly, investment friendly, and proportional. Our contracts should be accessible to small and medium size businesses including minority run businesses. Unlike Dodd-Frank, we should encourage Angel investors and not regulate minorities out of non-public IPO’s. We need to reduce the felony rage and not make everything a crime. We need to keep our people safe. We need to build a modern infrastructure for energy, transportation, and water/sewer. We need to develop our natural resources in a sensible manner. We need to demolish barriers to reentry into the work place. Things like food stamps, earned income credit, vocational rehabilitation, veteran credits, Pell grants, and work force development make sense because they subsidize work. We need more subsidy of work and less subsidy of the lack of work.

We have to tackle problems of substance abuse. We need to partner with non-profits and the faith community not only to expand treatment but prevention. We need to teach relationship skills and so people can repair the family.

We need policies which will set an environment where everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or religion can prosper. Government should not pit one group against another. Whether you are a homeless person or a business person, an immigrant or a 10 generation American, in a wheel chair or a NASCAR driver.

2 thoughts on “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats?”

  1. Kennedy’s campaign speech was a typical screed; Socialist-Democrats good, Republicans bad. For example;

    Franklin Roosevelt in accepting the second Presidential nomination before 100,000 people in Franklin Field in 1936, I think said very clearly the differences between our two major parties. In that speech he said:

    “Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine Justice weighs the sins of the coldblooded and the sins of the warmhearted in a different scale. Better the occasional faults of a government living in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”

    I think that is the issue. What does this country want? Does this country want a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference, or do we want a government that will move, that will care for our people, that will set before the American people the unfinished business of our society?

    After Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1933, the new President’s friend, Robert E. Sherwood, set it all down in a brief sardonic poem:

    “Plodding feet, tramp, tramp
    The Grand Old Party breaking camp
    Blare of bugles, din, din
    The New Deal is moving in.”

    Today on every major crisis that faces the United States, from the crisis at Formosa to Berlin, in the plight of our cities, of people out of work, we hear no blare of bugles, din, din; we see only plodding feet, tramp, tramp, and the Grand Old Party breaking camp.

    What Kennedy said was that economic prosperity was dependent upon government expansion. He referenced the New Deal, but failed to mention the fact that it was a failure; Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary and architect of the plan said so himself. It was World War II that ended the depression, not the New Deal.

    In any case, Kennedy can rest easy, as his big government dream has been fulfilled. And we now have an incomprehensible 18 trillion dollar debt and a 67% labor participation rate to show for it. Thanks to LBJ’s monumentally misnamed “Great Society,” we have a permanent inter-generational welfare class with public schools so dysfunctional as to guarantee dependency in perpetuity. Foreign manufacturers dominate the American auto market and China now has the world’s most vibrant economy. Our corporate tax rate is the second-highest in the world, forcing manufacturing offshore. There is a government-business collaboration that borders on fascism; supposedly “green” companies lose millions but turn a “profit” thanks to government largesse. Yet, our current “chief executive” calls this a “recovery.”

    FDR, JFK, LBJ and BO, just links in the big-government chain that enslaves future generations with incomprehensible debt.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. The Republican Party needs a real and accurate understanding of economics. I have sat in meetings in the Heritage Foundation auditorium in which young conservatives from around the Nation’s Capitol were spouting off shallow talking points. They talk about economics… but they don’t understand economics.

    Of course liberals know even less.

    Free enterprise and the competitive marketplace must center on the CONSUMER.

    The discipline of the marketplace works because a consumer can walk across the street and take their dollars to the competitor if a business does not treat the consumer well, offer good service, and continually strive to provide the best service or product at the best value.

    The heartbeat, centerpiece, and focus of free enterprise is the CONSUMER — not the businesses.

    Republicans cannot favor business and say they are for a strong economy. A strong economy rests on the consumer and consumer choice.

    Businesses excel when they HAVE to do better to keep their customers or win over other customers.

    Now, that does not mean that the government can burden business with weight after weight without damaging the economy, jobs, and the consumer.

    Getting rid of unnecessary burdens on business and society is essential.

    But the main focus is on empowering the consumer, not benefitting business.

    And remember: The problem with “supply side economics” is that no one who supposedly was for supply side economics ever uttered that phrase or every mentioned it.

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