A new economic boom?

The U.S economy is still in the doldrums.  But former general and CIA director David Petraeus and Brookings scholar Michael O’Hanlon see the possibilities of a new economic boom on the horizon.  IF the government doesn’t mess it up.

Here are the promising developments:

●An energy revolution. We are the world’s largest producer of natural gas, with a 100-year supply, and we are on track to become among the largest producers of crude oil.

●A manufacturing revolution. We are rapidly developing robotics and 3-D printing, areas in which the United States is among the world’s leaders.

●A revolution in life sciences.Genetics and stem-cell technology offer great potential in fields such as agriculture and pharmaceuticals and fundamentally new approaches in medicine.

●The IT revolution and the transition to cloud computing, in which we are also leading.

With all of these advantages, together with our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, the energy-rich and economically dynamic Canada and Mexico, we could be on the threshold of the New North American Decades. The prospect is that North America — not China, Japan, Europe or India — will pull the world out of the global economic slowdown. But we will do so only if government gets the basics right.

But for these to come to fruition, Petraeus and O’Hanlon say, the government needs to cut the deficit and follow these policies:

●Regarding energy, agree on the Keystone XL pipeline while fostering partnerships between extraction companies and environmental groups; determine required regulatory rules; and grant a modest number of licenses to export natural gas.

●On infrastructure, drive the establishment of faster and cheaper Internet connections for most Americans to fully exploit the shift to cloud computing; and repair and rebuild roads, rail lines, ports, electricity grids and other assets that support our economic supply chains.

●On human capital, reform immigration policy; encourage science and technology study and research; and improve public schools while underwriting training in rigorous, relevant vocational skills.

●On finance, reform and simplify the tax code to stimulate savings; make health-care costs more visible; and help bring home the more than $2 trillion sitting offshore.

via David Petraeus and Michael O’Hanlon: A new American renaissance – The Washington Post.

We see here an interesting blend of proposals from the left (raise revenue; more money for schools) and the right (balance the budget; approve the Keystone pipeline).  They suggest a partisan balance:  “We suggest that, for the good of the nation, each party agrees to achieve equal amounts of something neither wants to do: Republicans should produce, say, $500 billion in additional revenue over 10 years, and Democrats should identify $500 billion worth of reforms to entitlement programs over the same period.”

I wonder if the undoubtedly competent general may be positioning himself for higher office–despite his resigning in disgrace over an adulterous affair–as a post-partisan harbinger of hope.

At any rate, the optimism is refreshing.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Grace

    Our social fabric is falling apart, just as Rome, Greece, and the British Empire.

    We, the U.S. need help, but it will never come from socialism, or it’s relative communism. “A new economic boom?” doesn’t take the place of stripping the citizens of this country of their tax dollars, to give to those who won’t work, are only interested in what they can get for nothing.

    Look at the NEW NUMBERS of those who collect ‘DISABILITY, it is astounding, that would include medical as well. People think we can achieve “A ew economic boom” on the heels of such a charade? This is pure nonsense. I wounder what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would say to such claptrap?

    If Thatcher hadn’t came in and straightend out the liberals, the situation would be far different today.

    David Petraeus? Why would anyone put their trust in what he says? – one has only to look at his past, his needs are not in keeping with the situation this country faces today. We didn’t know this man, whatever he expounds as of now, has little meaning to this countries future. I would never trust him, or what he says.

    ” More money for schools) “? – that’s a worn out phrase, based on lazy parents, and kids who have no intention of learning to read at grade level, who’s grammar is that of a toddler, not because they aren’t able to learn, but because they can get some of what they want through government aide. This country enables those who don’t take advantage of their education 1st grade through whatever grade they finally quit, because they FAILED, by their own wits, not because they aren’t capable, but because they refuse to apply themselves. It’s all a sham!

    It’s not money our schools need, but teachers who will TEACH, and show their stuff, not backing off, and making excuses for their lack of teaching, and parents who back them up, with additional excuses why their kids can’t read, or use proper grammar, or learn simple math, add to that correct spelling. If this is too hard, why do they attend school past the third grade?

    Don’t worry about the “boom” – tighten up our resources, and tax dollars we already have. Stop spending, freeze it.

  • Tom Hering

    What I expect from a new economic boom is that the rich will get richer, the poor will stay poor, and the middle class will continue to decline or stagnate.

  • trotk

    Grace, your tirade becomes funny when you write, “who’s grammar is that of a toddler.”

  • SKPeterson

    David Petraeus saw us winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he’s an economic prognosticator?

    Though, on balance, I agree with their proposals, which are largely akin to saying that a good harvest will happen if there is plenty of water for the crops, decent weather, and there aren’t any major pest or disease outbreaks.

  • Jon

    +1 to SKP.

    What we need to have a true boom is “the next big thing” to come along, not just version 2.1 of the same stuff we’ve already had. Otherwise, we are just put-putting along.

  • Lumpenkönig

    I’ll see you a CIA director and raise you a former assistant secretary of the treasury:
    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.

    NAFTA helped accelerate the offshoring of jobs to third world countries such as Mexico. Manufacturing would have to return to the USA in order for a “new economic boom” to occur:

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/03/14/when-truth-is-suppressed-countries-die-paul-craig-roberts/

  • http://www.gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

  • DonS

    There is no question that the recent energy boom offers us tremendous opportunities to improve our balance of trade and develop hundreds of thousands of good middle class jobs right here in the U.S., while greatly reducing our subsidy of ruthless dictators in unstable areas of the world. However, our current administration, in league with environmentalist fanatics, seem pretty intent on at least retarding, if not eliminating this growth sector of the economy.

    On to the platitudes:

    Regarding energy, agree on the Keystone XL pipeline while fostering partnerships between extraction companies and environmental groups; determine required regulatory rules; and grant a modest number of licenses to export natural gas.

    OK, that sounds great. Exactly how are these “partnerships” going to work? While there are certainly some reasonable environmental groups, which take the word “conservation” seriously, and largely work in a responsible way through the private sector to conserve resources, there are also many fanatical ones, which will fight any efforts to build any kind of an energy infrastructure, even a so-called “green” one. “Parnerships” is government code for “buy-offs”. I prefer to expose these frauds for who they really are — wealthy white urban extremists who couldn’t care less about the middle class or the poor, and their struggles with lack of employment and expensive and scarce energy. What does “determine required regulatory rules” mean? Has anyone looked at the EPA’s recent rulemaking, and proposed rulemaking? Is that required? Whose definition are we using?

    On infrastructure, drive the establishment of faster and cheaper Internet connections for most Americans to fully exploit the shift to cloud computing; and repair and rebuild roads, rail lines, ports, electricity grids and other assets that support our economic supply chains.

    How? We are already establishing incredibly fast and cheap Internet connections, so I’m not sure what they are proposing here. As for public infrastructure, yeah, that’s what we should have been doing for the past 30 years. Instead, we have devoted almost all of our taxpayer dollars to transfer payments — bloated public employee salaries, benefits, and retirement costs, entitlements, and the like. I’m all for returning to a proper emphasis on the real role of government — to build and maintain the public infrastructure for the benefit of all, and phasing out of this idea that government’s job is to transfer wealth to its friends and cronies. We cannot afford, however, more borrowing to pay for the things that we should have been paying for with our regular tax dollars all along. As for rail, why? It’s a 19th Century technology. Our electricity grids have been allowed to age, deteriorate, and become inadequate because regulatory and litigious actions make it nearly impossible to upgrade and build new power plants and power lines. I’m all for an awakening on the part of our public officials and courts in this area, and hopefully our environmental zealots will also see the light.

    On human capital, reform immigration policy; encourage science and technology study and research; and improve public schools while underwriting training in rigorous, relevant vocational skills.

    Ohhhh. That’s it!! Why didn’t we see this before? Of course we should reform immigration policy. How is the question. And I’m all for de-emphasizing college and re-emphasizing rigorous, relevant vocational training. But our administration seems hell-bent on moving in the opposite direction — college for everyone!!!! Entitlement!!!

    On finance, reform and simplify the tax code to stimulate savings; make health-care costs more visible; and help bring home the more than $2 trillion sitting offshore.

    “Reform and simplify the tax code”. Well, there’s another thing we are NOT doing. We are going in the opposite direction, limiting deductions and credits depending on income levels (different levels for each deduction and credit), so that every deduction or credit requires an additional form to see if you qualify or if you are in a phase-out zone, in which case you have to calculate the percentage of deduction or credit you are entitled to. Crazy. Our tax system is not designed to promote economic growth, but to punish economic success. I’m all for changing that mentality, but it is not going to happen during this administration. As for making health care costs more visible — Yeah! But, Obamacare goes in the exact opposite direction, so we have a big job to change that reality.

    Bottom line — there is very little not to agree with here. But, it is written not to offend, and so it is written in a manner that everyone reading it will bring his/her own spin, and believe that their favored policies get us to these goals. Fortunately for us, to a certain degree, the American people are still a hard-working people who continue to amaze in our productivity and accomplishment despite the obstacles placed before us by our government. That is where the source for optimism lies, not from believing that government will ever DO anything to help us be successful. The short-hand for each of the above points, that would really help us to move past this economic trauma we have all faced over the last five or so years, would be “Government, get out of the way! Let the American people have the liberty and freedom to begin to work out of the mess you have created”.

  • Grace

    trokt @ 3

    “Grace, your tirade becomes funny when you write, “who’s grammar is that of a toddler.”

    Yes dear one, it should have read:
    ” whose grammar is that of a toddler.”

    Leave it to the ‘post pickers – LOL the only post you made!

  • dust

    Don S and Grace…right on!

    Why can’t folks see that if it’s too risky for a bank to be “too big to fail” then why not a government?

    cheers!

  • Grace

    Thank you Dust.

    Check out my last few posts (LINKS) on “Church authority vs. state authority over marriage” this is all intermingled with this thread.

    The United States has a mess on most important fronts. God must grieve over mans attempts to achieve success, without HIM.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/04/church-authority-vs-state-authority-over-marriage/#comment-261767

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Petreaus’ and O’Hanlon’s work reminds me of any number of other prognosticators I’ve read in the past 35 years. Electronics and automotive was supposed to keep Japan doing well, the same for the United States, manufacturing will never fail China (ignore the abandoned city-sites behind the curtain), the Wirtschaftwunder will be forever…..and the sun never sets on the British empire.

    But if we must discuss the proposals they make in earnest, maybe it’s time to look at routine spending waste that is said to be at least $200 billion annually. Maybe if we stop throwing money down the toilet for windmills, solar power, Pell Grants for the 50% of recipients who have no real hope of graduating, electric and hybrid cars, and the like, we’ll get somewhere.

  • Tom Hering

    … not to mention breaks and subsidies for the rich and big business, or the latest, biggest, and mostest new toys for the military, or billions for spreading democracy through invasion and occupation.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    …yes, anything that clearly is not working needs to go, and that would include farm subsidies–really most any true subsidy. And yes, we need to consider whether we really can spread liberty, and not just spread “three wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner” before we send the Marines.

    (to be honest, I was working from a pretty low standard; cutting programs that obviously fail to achieve the stated goals for that program, ignoring whether the goal was good for now….I would hope that both sides of the aisle could agree to start with that!)


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