Don't underestimate Jeb Bush is the point I've been making here, and Governor Bush is making me look sagacious with a humdinger of a speech today at the Detroit Economic Club that seems to really grasp the substance of the economic issues in a way that I find both encouraging and refreshing. Some excerpts from the remarks as prepared for delivery:
America is a place where, as Lincoln dreamed, any person "may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year…and the next, work for himself… and finally, to hire men to work for him!"
America, though discouraged, has not given up on the dream of Lincoln.
The dream of Lincoln is alive at 5 a.m. at a bus depot in a distant suburb or in an inner city as workers get to jobs in hotels and restaurants and hospitals.
The dream is alive in the breath of a construction worker running cable under a city street in the bitter night air.
The dream is alive in the college student driving an Uber car part-time to graduate debt-free....
the troubles Detroit faces are an echo of the troubles facing Washington D.C.
Decades of big government policies, petty politics, impossible-to-meet pension promises, chronic mismanagement and broken services -- combined with a massive loss of jobs and competitiveness in the auto industry -- drove tens of thousands of people from this city and this region.
For example: Detroit under the previous administration was so proud of shutting down businesses that hadn't paid their licenses and fees, they bragged about it in press releases. The city threatened nearly 900 businesses with closure and followed through on nearly 400 businesses, shutting them down.
Many of these were small businesses run out of homes and alley-facing garages, run by people who just wanted to take that first step up the economic ladder...The city was losing money writing parking tickets.
Of course, on Amtrak they lose money on the snack car.
They literally have a captive audience.
But government inefficiency isn't just irritating. It's instructive. If the government can't collect parking fines, or sell snacks on a train, why would government know how to enable every citizen to move up in life?
That's why I launched the Right to Rise PAC. So that someone would speak for people who don't want to wait for the government to deliver prosperity. They want to earn it themselves....
Competition is messy. But it's essential. We've all seen the battles: The taxicab companies fight against web-enabled car services. The restaurants fight against the food trucks. The brick-and-mortar retailers fight against the Internet companies.
I'm not here to take sides. And I don't think government should either. Because when government protects one business against another, or tilts the field of competition, there is a clear loser: Anyone who wants to create something as a team. Anyone who wants to innovate and shake things up. Anyone who wants more choices and better service. And we know that in the end, standing against competition and dynamism is a losing battle....
Our nation has always valued such economic freedom because in economic freedom, each citizen has the power to propel themselves forward and upward.
This really isn't understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It's a company town. And the company is government. It's all they know.
For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.
We have seen them cut the definition of a full-time job from 40 to 30 hours, slashing the ability of paycheck earners to make ends meet. We have seen them create welfare programs and tax rules that punish people with lost benefits and higher taxes for moving up those first few rungs of the economic ladder.
Instead of a safety net to cushion our occasional falls, they have built a spider web that traps people in perpetual dependence...The progressive and liberal mindset believes that to every problem there is a Washington D.C. solution.
But that instinct doesn't solve any problem, other than the problem of how to keep Washington's regional economy well-lubricated.
And the cost is enormous!
Let's say you're a hard-working middle-class family. You work hard. You pay your mortgage on time. As President Obama likes to say: You play by the rules.
But for President Obama, one of the rules is this: He reserves the right to change the rules. Just last month, he thought it was a good idea to tax 529 college savings plans. Remember: 529s were created to be tax-free ways to save for college. Millions of people started them for their kids and grandkids.
So it's no surprise people hated the president's idea. And he dropped it.
But it was an instructive lesson in the liberal and progressive mindset.
Saving for college is the responsible thing to do. But instead of embracing 529s, the liberals moved to tax them.
It's frustrating. But it shows you how they think...
Growth above all. A growing economy, whether here in Detroit or throughout this country is the difference between poverty and prosperity for millions. If you want to close the opportunity gap, grow the economy. This is a principle that concentrates the mind.
If a law or a rule doesn't contribute to growth, why do it? If a law subtracts from growth, why are we discussing it? And for what it's worth, I don't think the US should settle for anything less than 4% growth a year - which is about twice our current average. At that rate, the middle class will thrive again....
Finally, let's embrace reform everywhere, especially in our government. Let's start with the simple principle of who holds the power. I say give Washington less and give states and local governments more.
We make multi-billion dollar infrastructure decisions based on a labor law written in 1921.President Obama proposes making rules on the Internet using laws written in the 1930s. We regulate global airlines using laws written for railroads. Our immigration laws were written a half-century ago.
Governmental policy seems frozen, incapable and fearful of change. It is in the way. And we deserve better than this.