Why Domestic Policy Matters
Because Prosperity is a Product of Empowering People, Not the Government
Feb 14, 2022. | By Will Hurd
American domestic policies should be based on a simple reality -- prosperity is a product of empowering people not the government. Individuals should have the freedoms to choose where they go to school, where they want to live, which doctors they want to visit, what business they want to start, and, ultimately, who they want to be.
We live in an interconnected and dangerous world. I’ve talked about what USA foreign policy should be so we can leverage our international relations to deal with our adversaries, such as rogue nations in the Middle East, or win a new Cold War with the Chinese Government, which is trying to replace us as the sole superpower in the world. But we will not be able to handle these international problems that affect us at home, if we don’t have our own house in order.
Right now, all of us in the general public are dealing with a host of issues above and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The costs of everyday goods and services are rising faster than wages are increasing, leading to inflation. Crime is increasing in many of our cities, taxing law enforcement and creating potential public safety catastrophes. We have a continued crisis at our southern border because President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the folks on Capitol Hill would rather use border security as a political bludgeon against their rivals than actually solve the problem.
Despite the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, our bridges and roads are crumbling and our digital infrastructure isn’t keeping up with the needs of an evolving lifestyle that requires us to be ever more connected. With population growth slowing and a growing federal debt, seniors and those close to retirement are worried about whether social security will be there for them in their twilight years.
We are at an inflection point where the rest of this century can continue being the American century or not. Whichever option becomes the reality of our future will have been influenced by the policy choices selected by our leaders at every level of government to shape the domestic issues we face today.
We are at an inflection point where the rest of this century can continue being the American century or not.
I don’t care who you are, where you live, or where you grew up, you have the same goals as everybody else:
- to put food on your table,
- to have a roof over your head, and
- to ensure that the people you love are happy and healthy.
Former Wall Street Journal editor and author James Stewart, wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Den of Thieves that “At the most basic level, American capitalism has flourished because everyone, rich and poor alike, has seen the marketplace reward merit - enterprise, innovation, hard work, intelligence.” There are so many ways that quality of life for the American people has improved over the last fifty years. Just one example: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the fifty-year period from 1969 to 2019, when adjusted for cost of living, real median family income has increased 48 percent.
Whether you want limited government or bigger government, the federal government and local governments should be working on your behalf. Whether you think tax cuts, new taxes, or tax increases should be part of domestic policy decisions, having a handful of elites in a faraway capital deciding the specifics of your future just doesn’t work, because our global economy is complicated.
However, we have social services like social welfare because not everyone has benefited. A Pew Research Center study conducted in 2020 showed that while there was more movement up the income ladder than down the income ladder, the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorest families more than doubled from 1989 to 2016.
Very real social issues like income inequality are too often weaponized against the bedrock systems that our country is built on, by framing those who haven't benefited from American capitalism as the norm, rather than an unfortunate exception that should be given special attention and focus.
Because of this trend, some folks are looking for ways to replace our political, economic, and social systems with something new. The domestic policy agenda of the Democratic Party is increasingly being influenced by the disastrous concept of socialism, which over the past 100 years has been attempted more than two dozen times around the world and failed miserably.
...some folks are looking for ways to replace our political, economic, and social systems with something new.
In my upcoming book American Reboot, I tell stories from my experiences in the Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, and the private sector that have led me to a better understanding of American domestic policy and how to steer it back in the right direction. I explore issues like health care programs and insurance policies.
Why does an MRI cost $1,080 in the U.S. and $280 in France? What gets lost in the uproar about efforts to bring health insurance to more people is that health insurance is not healthcare. More than a decade after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, there are still millions of people who cannot access or afford quality healthcare. They may have received expensive insurance, but they do not have the financial resources to pay for treatment. Having government agencies make decisions on the kind of care an individual should receive is not the answer. The answer begins with introducing price transparency into the healthcare system so individuals know in advance how much the healthcare they need will cost.
Why are childcare expenses taking an enormous chunk out of working parents’ paychecks—an average of 23%? The average cost for an infant in a childcare center is an astonishing $1,230 per month. For many parents, that’s more per year than the cost of a college education. The government can help ease this financial burden. The long-term solution to this problem is not President Biden issuing some kind of executive order. The solution is passing legislation that increases the child tax credit so that more Americans with kids get to keep the money that they’ve earned.
Why is our economy losing out on trillions of dollars in economic output because our kids can’t keep up academically with kids in other countries? Members of the National Economic Council have estimated that the U.S. economy could be almost 4 percent higher than currently projected over two decades if American students’ math and science skills were as good as the rest of the world’s. We don’t need a Domestic Policy Council report to tell us what to do; just start introducing coding into middle school so that every one of our kids has access to a skillset at a young age that will allow them to be successful in almost every job of the future.
We are facing a number of monumental challenges. The world is getting weirder, requiring the entire planet to come to some agreement on climate change programs. The world is getting more dangerous, requiring the U.S and our allies to agree on foreign policies that curb our adversaries’ attempt to drastically change the new world order. The world is getting more complicated and interconnected, requiring the United States of America to show the kind of global leadership that it has since the end of World War II, leadership that has not only led to the uplifting of humanity, but to the American public enjoying a quality of life this planet has never seen. The way we are going to be able to transcend the current divisiveness that plagues our domestic politics is to empower the people of this great country, and not to concentrate power in the hands of the few that run the government.
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