Harvard surveyed their Alumni and guess what they found?

So some econ out of Harvard is shocked about what he found regarding our economy.  It’s a government problem.  The government is just not responding (read that: not doing anything).

Americans no longer trust their political leaders, and political polarization has increased dramatically. Americans are increasingly frustrated with the U.S. political system.

The political system is no longer delivering good results for the average American. Numerous indicators point to failure to compromise and deliver practical solutions to the nation’s problems. Political polarization has especially made it harder to build consensus on sensible economic policies that address key U.S. weaknesses.

The solution:  Cut the corporate tax and balance the fed budget.

The Eight-Point Plan consists of the following policy recommendations: simplify the corporate tax code with lower statutory rates and no loopholes; move to a territorial tax system like all other leading nations’; ease the immigration of highly-skilled individuals; aggressively address distortions and abuses in the international trading system; improve logistics, communications, and energy infrastructure; simplify and streamline regulation; create a sustainable federal budget, including reform to entitlements; and responsibly develop America’s unconventional energy advantage.

What did you expect from the conservative mind?  OK, they do want to do more than cut the corp rate:

Consensus corporate tax reforms include reducing the statutory rate by at least 10 percentage points, moving to a territorial tax regime, and limiting the tax-free treatment of pass-through entities for business income. The transition to a territorial regime should be complete, not half-hearted via the inclusion of an alternative minimum tax on foreign income.

They want alternative energy.  Ya think?  I was wondering when some smarty in an econ department would notice that not having to pay for fuel for electricity, just pay for infrastructure and maintenance would be a competitive advantage that We the People are losing.

Though if find the call to increase “highly skilled” immigration to be kind of counter to:

Inadequate investment in those parts of the business environment on which middle-class Americans depend (areas like K–12 education and skills)…

The report does call out business for not doing their part.

Many companies have failed to invest enough in improving the business environments in the regions in which they operate. Companies can have a major impact on restoring U.S. competitiveness through internal steps such as training and improving opportunities and compensation for lower-income employees. Companies must also step up their role to enhance the business environment in their communities by investing in workforce skills, supporting public education, restoring a local supplier base, and participating in collaborative economic development programs in their regions.

I should not be too hard on the report.  After all, they are noting one thing I was harping on years ago here at AB.  The decline in trust which I suggested was the biggest factor in undoing our economy.  From the Harvard report:

The political system is no longer delivering good results for the average American. Numerous indicators point to failure to compromise and deliver practical solutions to the nation’s problems. Political polarization has especially made it harder to build consensus on sensible economic policies that address key U.S. weaknesses. It is at the root of our inability to progress on the consensus Eight-Point Plan.

I quote myself from October 8, 2007, Human Capital is where it’s At:

My quick assessment of this report is that it is a testament to the misdirection of our policies. [referring to the World Bank report].

“Trust” seems to be the real intangible the report is talking about. We as a whole can be educated to the hilt, but if we can’t trust that our efforts will be put to constructive use, we have problems.

From my article quoting the World Bank report:

The rest of the story is intangible capital. That encompasses raw labor; human capital, which includes the sum of a population’s knowledge and skills; and the level of trust in a society and the quality of its formal and informal institutions. Worldwide, the study finds, “natural capital accounts for 5 percent of total wealth, produced capital for 18 percent, and intangible capital 77 percent.

It does not take a Harvard degree to figure out what is wrong with our nation.  It just takes not thinking selfishly.  It takes stopping the thought that if we just mind the money (economics) all of society will structure appropriately such that the risk of life and living are reduced for all.   As I have stated in the past, an economy is not a society.  An economy is only one possible sub set of a society.   I hope you read both the Harvard report and my past article.

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