A Recovery Agenda
Dr. Walter Greason
7 April 2013
The situation has become intolerable. Since 2010, the federal government has ground to a halt, stalling any dedicated effort towards a global recovery. Elected officials have offered excuse after excuse for their failures of leadership and imagination. Now, individuals and organizations must stand up to hold these charlatans accountable and, more importantly, to take action outside of the bounds of traditional electoral politics.
In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett has failed in his promise to bring a new era of prosperity and responsibility to state government. He has worsened the relationship between the rural counties and the metropolitan areas. Bridges and roads deteriorate. Private enterprise stagnates. Embarrassing legislative initiatives like the privatization of state liquor stores and electoral gerrymandering humiliate the Keystone State in the eyes of the world. By crippling local school districts and ignoring emerging projects like the Norristown Men of Excellence, Governor Corbett and his supporters in the state legislature do little except continue policies of economic stagnation from the last century.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has used bombastic rhetoric to mask the collapse of responsible governance in Trenton. His polarizing attacks on teachers’ unions and retirees’ pensions have furthered an austerity plan that cripples local and national economic recovery efforts. Even in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, his administration has been slow to respond, but quick to blame others for his own inability to compel action by his allies in Congress. Where are his campaign donors in the private sector when it comes to reducing the state’s unemployment rate which stands among the highest in the nation still?
Together, these two executives constitute greater failures than the presidency of George W. Bush. The root of their problems remains the same – a bankrupt approach to American politics in the twenty-first century. Their vision allows virtually no role to local and state government in promoting economic development. As a result, millions of entrepreneurs languish in declining wage jobs and devastated neighborhoods with little chance to participate in the global economy. While they attempt to mitigate the political strength of the coalition of Latinos and African Americans that shifted the national landscape since 2008, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it is the coalition of women and gay entrepreneurs that have the power to resuscitate prosperity for everyone. If only there were competent state leaders to support their personal initiatives, the nation could move beyond paralysis in Washington and this perpetual, anemic recovery.
Dr. Walter Greason is the CEO of the International Center for Metropolitan Growth (www.icmetrogrowth.com)