1. The Low Job Participation Rate; Yes unemployment is at fifty-year low but much of that is because we have a very low civilian labor force job participation. Many people have left the workforce. The work ethic has taken a hit over the last few decades as many people adopted the attitude that frequently the reward for going the extra mile is just not there. The longer someone is out of the workforce the more difficult it is to return. Expensive job retraining programs will not solve the issue of creating new jobs in a world where higher mandated wages push employers to replace workers with robots that can perform repetitive tasks.
|A Smaller Percentage Of Americans Are Choosing To Work
2. Exploding National Debt; During recent years the national debt has soared and all indications are that it is about to get bigger as the bill for entitlements increases. The myth that a scenario of growth coupled with a falling deficit will allow us to outgrow many of the problems we face brings with it a false optimism and hope. In all truth, we have allowed those we have sent to Washington to spend money we don't have and continue to ignore the ever-growing debt being created.
|Click Here To View The National Debt Clock
Currently, the costs of entitlement programs are slated to rise in coming years. When we couple that with Trump's tax reform bill which has added to the deficit to the cost of paying over 100 billion dollars for a slew of natural disasters plus increased military and infrastructure spending it is clear the deficit will continue to grow. Trillion-dollar deficits are set to become commonplace in the coming years unless taxes or raised. Sadly, this massive deficit is much of the driving force that is propelling the economy forward, and it is not sustainable.
|America Remains A "High-Cost Producer"
Many people have mistakenly surrendered to the idea America is too small to continue to remain the world's premier nation. This is based on population numbers and discounts the idea that quality beats quantity hands down. Sadly, the spirit of, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" is alive and well in many of those advocating free trade and the expansion of globalism. Those advocating free trade would have been wise to remember that countries such as China that export goods at slightly below cost in exchange for manufacturing jobs are not stupid they are predatory and we in America are their prey.
We should not lose sight of the fact that while free trade is important, fair trade is far more so and should be the main issue. Trade policy has massive long-term ramifications on the strength of a nation's economy. Often people fail to note the difference between free and fair trade. In many ways, the global economy has become an ill-regulated business model tilted to favor big business and giant conglomerates. It is these companies that promote "free trade" which has replaced the idea of fair trade. Companies have long pushed for national borders to vanish as they pursue ever-larger markets and strive to achieve greater supply chain efficiency. Transnational companies have sold us out and made it completely about profit.
The combination of the three obstacles listed above constitutes a grave problem with no easy fix. The bottom-line is that the longer we go before making a real effort to mitigate our problems and change our current policies the larger the negative ramifications will become. Clearly, America is not the only nation to face such problems or imbalances which means mankind and society, in general, will see economic challenges continue to unfold. Balanced trade instead of huge deficits or surpluses between various countries would contribute to both global cohesion and the world economy. Unfortunately, a country's prospects can rapidly diminish and when they do it can be incredibly difficult to turn things around. Like it or not in an unfair world tariffs may be the only tool able to protect the ability of the middle-class to earn a living.