Forget an "Economy Built to Last," We Want One Built to GROW

President Obama has tried to sell voters on his economic vision of an “America built to last.”

It was a slogan that sounded awfully similar to one that Ford used in the past; ever the more ironic considering Ford was the only of the ‘big three’ auto companies that refused the government bailout. But that pretty much summed up Obama’s vision for America’s economy: rather than reward innovation and encourage creative destruction, it was a plan to prop up failing businesses and pump taxpayer cash into questionable ventures. It was a strategy that sought to preserve the past, not embrace the future.

Thus far, the results have been lackluster. Despite the numerous government bailouts, the huge infusions of taxpayer-funded stimulus, and the cash-happy forays into unprofitable industries, the economy hasn’t roared back to life. Indeed, it’s been the longest, slowest recovery since the Great Depression. And the latest economic indicators aren’t exactly showing signs of a quick turnaround. The Labor Department reported that just 120,000 jobs were added in March, about half the amount that many analysts had predicted.

All told, Obama’s vision doesn’t appear to be creating an economy that any right-minded young adult should want to last. America appears to be on a path towards a debt that will eat away at our ability to make the sorts of investments that will be needed to maintain our status as the world’s premier destination for capital. Perhaps worse, the governmental-debt threatens to “crowd out” private investment as borrowers demand higher interest rates on government bonds.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seized on the President’s flawed message in a speech earlier this week.

“Today, the President again claimed that he wants an ‘economy built to last.’ But there is a reason his budget plan was rejected unanimously in the House last week, because it will result in an economy that comes in last,” Cantor said.

Later in the week, in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute’s Nick Schulz, Cantor crystallized the Republican’s plan as an “economy built to grow.”

“If there’s one thing that delineates a real difference between the two sides in Washington: one, as the President likes to say is a vision where we have an economy built to last; and I would posit the alternative is an economy built to grow,” Cantor said.

Cantor goes on to describe the Obama’s style as a “Washington-based engineered economy” where bureaucrats pick and choose which industry will survive and then shifts taxpayer money in that direction. By contrast the Republican idea embraces the idea of an “ever-changing, adapting, mutating, if you will, to unimaginable ends.”

These are more than just words. Just this week Politico reported how Republican “Young Guns” are making a concerted effort to reach out to the startup community, the venture capital investors, and the next-generation of entrepreneurs. It seems to be a natural fit. The Republican delegation is younger than Democrats, but more importantly, they have long embraced a vision of smarter (not more) regulation and decentralized government that has been a boon to places like Silicon Valley.

“A lot of us came out of a small-business world and are naturally sympathetic to startup companies, to capitalism, to free enterprise, to innovation,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) told Politico.

Sadly, to many young adults are coming out of a stagnant economy where growth seems but a distant hope. This is not the economy we hope will last, so let’s stand behind Republicans and their plan to build an economy that will grow.