No Labels: Partisan Paralysis Hinders U.S. Competitiveness
How much damage does Washington’s dysfunction do to America’s ability to compete in a global economy?
That’s one of the questions being put on the table Tuesday by No Labels, an organization of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the not-so-shocking idea that political leaders ought to start talking across the political divide once again.
As noted in today’s Capital Journal column, No Labels is presenting a new book that lays out the four big goals it thinks the country’s political leadership, regardless of party, ought to rally around: creating 25 million jobs over the next 10 years, balancing the federal budget by 2030, making America energy independent by 2035, and making Social Security and Medicare secure for another 75 years.
Underlying those goals in the No Labels presentation is a message that the partisan paralysis now plaguing Washington isn’t simply frustrating on the domestic level, but also effectively putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage internationally.
Michael E. Porter, head of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Harvard Business School, contributes an essay to the No Labels book in which he asserts the need for not just a competitive economy but a national strategy to achieve one by. For example, he says, that calls for dealing with budget deficits, improving job training and taking full advantage of the brightening American energy picture.
Other nations, he maintains, are doing such things and doing them better than is the U.S. Denmark “has gone through a process of national strategic thinking involving its political, business, and labor leaders” and as a result has performed better than other European nations economically. In South Korea, “leaders have been very strategic about the steps required to move the country to a higher level of skill and technology.”
And in an interview, former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, one of the two political figures leading No Labels (the other being Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia), points to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as a leader who has worked with groups across the political spectrum to reform the nation’s financial and economic system to set it up for growth.
“Who would ever have guessed we’d be looking to Mexico for guidance?” asks Mr. Huntsman.