Addressing Poverty in a Free and Dynamic Society

 

With an unemployment rate now down to 4.2% and the average wage rising 3.1% in the past year, the U.S. is finally recovering from the Great Recession which ended in June 2009. My last several posts have described an optimistic scenario for the U.S. economy going forward.

  • The American idea is thriving.  The U.S. is the world’s most competitive large economy. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are in the process of revolutionizing all aspects of life, all over the world. Productivity growth in the digital industries has grown at the annual rate of 2.7%, much faster than for physical industries. Democracy is mostly flourishing around the world.
  • Ecommerce is one example of a thriving industry.   Fulfillment center weekly wages are 31% higher on average than for brick and mortar retail in the same area. Total ecommerce related jobs have increased much faster in the last two years than have traditional retail jobs been lost.
  • Income inequality can be addressed effectively by speeding up economic growth (with tax and regulatory reform), improving educational (especially with early childhood) opportunities and with better training programs for the unemployed and underemployed to qualify them for the millions of skilled jobs going begging for lack of qualified applicants.

One additional feature needed is “A balanced and sensible anti-poverty program,”  to help many of the down and out get back on their feet.


The way to accomplish this is with:

  • Work requirements as a condition of public assistance. The work first approach has been shown to have better outcomes with regard to attachment to the labor force (see above chart) than even approaches which focus on training and education.

Conclusion. The U.S. economy is basically sound. We lead the world in many industries and especially in digital technology.  There are lots of good jobs going begging for lack of qualified applicants.  The best anti-poverty program is job training.

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4 thoughts on “Addressing Poverty in a Free and Dynamic Society

  1. Many sectors of each community’s COMMON GOOD will require a combined collaborative strategy to solve the civil and economic problems of our Nation. Protecting our borders from the world-wide illicit drug industry and harmful emigration should be the number ONE priority along with improved economic growth. Next, we must solve the cost and quality problems of our nation’s health spending. Neither the generational character of poverty NOR the cost and quality problems of health spending will be solved without a nationally sanctioned, locally promoted strategy to improve the enduring level of SOCIAL CAPITAL for the neighborhood network of each citizen’s family, community by community. It is highly UN-likely that a centralized and autocratic government could unravel the needs of each community to energize their level of enduring SOCIAL CAPITAL.
    .
    Remember the following population growth projection: the world-wide population will grow from the level of 7.3 Billion in 2015 to an estimated 9.7 billion in 2050. The three hurricanes that our nation has endured this summer is likely to be a small event as compared to what will occur during the next 33 years. Of the 7.3 Billion world-wide citizens, 6.2 Billion do NOT live in a nation that enforces the First Amendment rights that we enjoy. It is likely that the level of international discord that currently exists will worsen. Any National Disaster Mitigation Strategy should not assume other-wise. Good evidence exists that there is a 4:1 return on investment when applied to Disaster Mitigation before an event occurs. Our Nation’s investment to support hurricane recovery should reflect that priority.

    • You certainly paint a bleak picture. With increasing world population there may indeed be increasing international discord. It is in our own interest to promote freedom and democracy around the world but we do need to put our own national security first. Disaster mitigation is also a huge challenge, all the more so with burgeoning national debt which needs to be curtailed.
      Right now I don’t see a way forward for all of these huge challenges which confront us.

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