The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 9, 2012

Our View: Economic future

The Joplin Globe

— The economic world at large is changing dramatically. The campaigns for the upcoming presidential election mirror those changes and offer different paths to confront them to enable America to make economic progress in the world of tomorrow.

Since the turn of the new millennium in 2000, Americans have experienced those changes and are not very satisfied with the results.  By and large, all Americans want to see things getting better, economically.

The question confronting us now is just how much can our federal government do to put us on such a course toward more economic improvement.

Here are some major trends observed today:

• The American work force, those actually working or wanting to work if jobs were available, is now growing at a rate of about 0.5 percent, a rate about one-third of that seen for decades after World War II.

• The education and training of that work force is in decline.

• Productivity gains as measured by our own government are now small compared with past results as well. Some believe productivity has flattened out.

• “60 Minutes” had a segment on Sunday showing that in the world of telecommunications, there is no company in America now that is competitive with private businesses elsewhere. In the past, American companies were essentially unchallenged in such high technology endeavors, but they are no longer even competing in such a worldwide arena.

• Finally, the population is aging rapidly and more and more of the wealth created is increasingly going to economic support of that aging population. Just look at health care costs as an example, in America and around the democratic world.

The key for future economic progress depends upon our national ability to produce new things demanded by the world at large in a competitive manner. Yet, our presidential debate seems to center on how our federal government as well as the governments of other democracies spend the wealth currently produced within America today.

Is it, we ask, a misguided debate of spending over production as a nation? We believe the question deserves serious consideration before Nov. 6.