For too long, our economic recovery has been hindered by partisan bickering. Middle-class families in Illinois and across the country have been suffering while the politicians in Washington have been fighting old battles over contraception and the EPA. It’s time Congress started working for working families again.
For more than 25 years, I’ve helped small and medium-sized, mostly family-owned businesses succeed and grow. The businesses that I’ve worked with know that you can’t spend more than you take in, and this is just one of the many common-sense policies that I will bring to Congress in order to turn around the economy and put the middle class back to work.
In the last two decades, small businesses have created the vast majority of new jobs; they are the driving force behind economic expansion and middle-class prosperity. The fastest and best way to turn this economy around is to get small businesses hiring again. If we can expand their workforce, then the tide will finally turn completely, and we will end this downturn. In order to expedite this process, we can clear the road of overly-burdensome regulation and offer targeted tax incentives to small businesses so they can grow, hire more workers, and pay higher wages. But government can only do so much, and help must also come from the private sector; banks need to be lending to entrepreneurs and small-business owners rather than just hedging their own risky bets.
Research and Development:
Over the past 40 years, federal investment in research and development has plummeted. Even as we struggle to get back on our feet, we can’t lose sight of the importance of sustained investment in research and development. American innovation has changed the world, and the next generation of inventions will be the direct result of private ingenuity and public support. Already we’ve seen advancements in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and special technologies bring about a leaner, more agile military and less need for outsized Defense spending. The same research can be implemented in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, and energy with similarly fruitful results.
China spends 9% of its GDP on infrastructure, Europe spends 5%, and we spend 2.4% while looking to cut more. Congress hasn’t been paying attention as highways, bridges, docks, and tunnels across the country crumble. An investment in a new bridge or an old highway is an investment in our future. Starting today, a national infrastructure bank can put millions of Americans to work rebuilding this country’s backbone. Many of our largest corporations currently pay more for lobbyist than they do in federal taxes, and yet we continue giving breaks to the most fortunate while ignoring the plight of our workers and our infrastructure.
Good education is the foundation on which our 21st Century success will be built. Our population isn’t as large as our biggest competitors’, so we must turn education into our greatest competitive advantage. Our schools must emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs as well as broad liberal arts curricula. And the government must offer simple, affordable paths for all students who wish to attend college, easing the crushing burden of post-graduation student loans.
Green and Renewable Energy:
The next great American invention will come in the field of green and renewable energy; we need it to. Our over-consumption of foreign oil has left us vulnerable to hostile regimes, and has ravaged our precious environment. Through tax incentives for companies that adopt environmentally-sound practices and limit the man-made effects of global warming, we can encourage market solutions to our energy crisis.