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THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR EQUALITY


The United States of America was founded on the principle that all Americans are created equal. All Americans having the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, the United States has not always lived up to our espoused values. In our past, many have found their right to life, liberty, and happiness impeded by hate and discrimination. Still today, racism and other forms of discrimination stand in the way of many people’s access to our fundamental social promises and their personal paths toward freedom. 

Our nation’s diversity is one of greatest strengths along with our fundamental belief in self-reliance, self-determination, and freedom. Americans must find a way to get past our superficial differences regarding race, gender, religion, or other personal demographics and focus on expanding opportunity to all striving for it. Cultural diversity along with intellectual diversity allows our society to attract the best and brightest from around the world and within our own communities. Our economy benefits when all can access our free market economy, thus reducing government dependence. Our elected officials need to find a balanced way to allow all Americans their rightful access to economic and social freedom. 

One cannot deny that racism and other forms of discrimination still exist in our society. Even in many blue states, there are some that believe race, gender, and demographics rightfully dictate outcomes and opportunity. Some people honestly believe that non-whites and women lack the intellectual ability to compete. Conversely, some minorities unfairly cast every white person as racist. Racism played a major role in economic disparities, but it will not help solve the issues. 

There is a falsehood that identity politics will solve our issues with race and gender. Instead of repeating mistakes of associating only with people that look, act, speak, pray, and think like us, Americans must seek to understand those differences, which can present opportunities. Embracing diversity can connect people with new markets, employee pools, and investment opportunities. Despite some differences, many in society have shared values and similar needs. Appreciate differences each person can bring and unite around of shared perspectives. 

All groups in our society struggles with the confines of groupthink, adhering to preconceived ideals passed on from generations. Rather, people must add their own experiences and learning to that equation. There may be reasons for someone feeling a certain way about another group, but that sentiment needs not to automatically carry on to the next generation. At some point the cycle must break. All sides have room to improve in this area. 

The challenging question for policymakers is how to facilitate a move forward. Initially, there was a need in implementing preferential programs, but there is a need to modernize approaches. While programs helped, there still lacks adequate pipelines of talent, as many potential individuals do not pursue programs or the fields with such programs. A greater focus needs to be reducing disparities in skill training, where education quality is determined by geographic location. Government should not remain in the business of picking winners and losers but can help ensure its functions provide equal access to skill development regardless of demographics. 

All Americans deserve equal opportunity to find success, based upon their own ambition, effort, and persistence. Allow all people the ability to determine their own level of success. Greater equality can positively impact our economy, as subgroups largely dependent on social programs can become productive contributors to our free market economy. As stated in Expanding Economic Opportunities, many communities have untapped potential for economic growth and prosperity for residents. The political dogma and environments need some alterations in order to improve the attractiveness and preparedness to take advantage of opportunity. 

There are many areas in our society that could benefit from a change of dogma. Many crime ridden and economically depressed areas need to reshape their political thinking to better improve the future prospects for residents living in their neighborhoods. The most effective social program one can provide another person is a job, which can help promote economic freedom. Policy changes in these communities is essential to help attract investment to spur job creation to set these areas towards greater opportunity and better social outcomes in the future. Unfortunately, many of the leaders focus more on maintaining their own political power then the outcomes of their residents. 

The path forward should be expanding access to economic opportunities to communities that are not normally at the forefront of Wall Street. Revitalization of these areas can have a long-term positive effect on crime reduction as well as lower the cost of welfare programs, criminal justice institutions, and government dependence. There will be a need to invest in infrastructure improvements, education structure, and community safety. Eventually, the focus needs to be developing a pool of local investors that can sustain it in the future. Expanding free markets and empowering the people will go much further than empowering the government over the people. 

Despite some setbacks, society has made real progress on race relations and discrimination compared to generations ago. But those achievements are fleeting if progress is yielded because people are not truly given equal opportunity. Government should not dictate outcomes but give all an equal chance at success. That only happens if society expands economic opportunity to those groups previously ignored.