“The Ownership Society”

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David Brooks has a must read on what we’re about to get from the Bush administration. Something both centrist and conservative.

Arthur Okun is once again reverberating off White House walls. Okun, an economist, is the author of Okun’s Law, which predicts how fast the economy has to grow to reduce unemployment. Back in the early 1990’s, economists expected that the economy had to grow faster than 2.6 percent to create jobs. Today, because of productivity gains, growth rates have to be much higher.

“This is going to change the entire economy,” one senior Bush official observed. “How do we deal with it?”

Brooks goes on to lay out the President’s idea to take over the center from centrist Dems and keep one foot planted firmly in the conservative territory of personal responsibility.

In his State of the Union address, the president will announce measures to foster job creation. In the meantime, he is talking about what he calls the Ownership Society.

This is a bundle of proposals that treat workers as self-reliant pioneers who rise through several employers and careers. To thrive, these pioneers need survival tools. They need to own their own capital reserves, their own retraining programs, their own pensions and their own health insurance.

Administration officials are talking about giving unemployed workers personal re-employment accounts, which they could spend on training, child care, a car, a move to a place with more jobs, or whatever else they think would benefit them.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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