Not surprisingly, given the length and depth our recession/depression, poverty rates are climbing in the U.S. This on top of the sharpest divide of rich and poor since the late nineteenth century. Not a pretty picture. No wonder consumer confidence is in the toilet and businesses don’t want to invest in expansion – who’s going to buy their goods and services?
Just about everyone across the political spectrum agrees that the only real “solution” to poverty is economic recovery, and more specifically from the individual perspective, jobs. And while reasonable people can disagree about the best route to recovery and jobs (not that there seems to be all that many reasonable people in national policy making positions these days), I think there’s broad consensus that a sustainable economy – one capable of competing globally – needs at least three things: excellent physical infrastructure (roads, rails, etc.), a sound and comprehensive educational system (pre-K through graduate work), and an effective, affordable health care system that supports worker well-being and mobility (so they can go where the jobs are without fear of losing health care coverage).
Sadly, we have none of these critical prerequisites to economic health (two of which focus, notably, on “human capital” development), and precious little discussion about how to get them. “Less government” and “lower taxes” are slogans, not solutions.