Good Government

Trent England | September 19, 2014

Optimism or liberalism: Grow the pie or fight over the pieces?

Trent England

Traditional American optimism is an impediment to the left’s economic agenda. People with long-term hopes to climb the economic ladder are unlikely to fall for politicians peddling short-term, soak-the-rich policies. This is why so many of the left’s political messages — like “income inequality” — are designed to demoralize. Optimists desire freedom; pessimists demand protection.

As you can see from the table below, economic data on private-sector growth show that while some states have faltered, others are growing fast. Oklahoma comes out in the top 10 for each time period examined, showing strong and steady growth. In 22 states, total private-sector output more than doubled between 1997 and 2013. This growth is a rebuttal to the left’s economic argument.

Differences in state economic performance also show the importance of federalism, forcing states to compete and revealing how the results of their policies stack up. One trend: high-income-tax states and forced unionization states tend to do poorly. In other words, the very policies promoted by the left for economic protection are the ones that stifle growth.

The left will win if Americans believe the best they can do is fight for economic scraps. Those who believe in the possibility of a brighter economic future, on the other hand, are likely to want that economy to be free.


Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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