Good Government

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

September 19, 2014

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.