Get Email Updates
Sign up today to receive information and event invitations from the Forum for Innovation.
Throughout a long and contentious election season, fractious campaign messaging has focused on highlighting the “differences” between the political parties and their candidates. Amid the partisan fray, however, the party platforms reveal refreshing accord on a top national priority: improving the global competitiveness of the American economy. National consensus on this objective is an encouraging first step. Now comes the more difficult part—achieving our aim.
The United States is on an unsustainable fiscal course. This year marks the fourth in a row that the U.S. federal deficit will exceed $1.1 trillion. Since the end of 2007, the federal debt, now $11 trillion, has doubled as a share of annual GDP—from 36% to 73%. The long-term outlook is even worse.
There are voices today depicting America’s economic straits as “the new normal” – low growth and high unemployment that leaves the country technologically and economically static. There are, however, concerted efforts and powerful forces at work throughout the 50 states that belie this all-too-simple conclusion. In fact, it seems clear there are bright and growing areas around the country, offering important lessons for America’s state and business leaders.
We all have moments that catch us by surprise. Mine came recently as I stepped off the plane in a place known as the “Magic City.” I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of places in my life, but few struck me the same way as Minot, North Dakota. Oil and gas discoveries have brought tremendous opportunities to this place. There’s a hunger for opportunity there that many in America long for in their own areas. While our national economy idles, people stream in to Minot from towns and farms for miles around. Yet, I also saw the challenges that come with being a modern-day boomtown.