We have both an infrastructure and an inequality crisis in our country. For “America to be great again”, we need to urgently attack both problems. For starters, national infrastructure investment cannot be self-regulating; or, simply left to the open market. It must be strategically leveraged in the public interest; and intentionally directed to achieve shared prosperity and equitable outcomes for all Americans.
President-Elect Trump’s economic blueprint which includes major revitalization and expansion of American infrastructure has the potential to be a major game changer. “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals…We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And, we will put millions of people to work as we rebuild it.”
But, it is not enough. Unfortunately, the record is abundantly clear that economic growth does not automatically result in economic inclusion. The dramatically growing chasm between “haves” and “have nots” across our country has resulted in a chronic and systemic divide depriving the vast majority of Americans with opportunity and hope for a better future; ravaged a once proud American middle class; and reduced productivity and economic performance for a nation that once led the world.
As we are poised to invest billions of dollars into the nation’s aging infrastructure, it is imperative that we work together to ensure that shared prosperity, economic, social, racial, and environmental justice are a centerpiece of our country’s national investment and infrastructure renewal and modernization strategy. That will take a genuine commitment to good jobs; plus critical investments and partnerships in the “best-in-class” workforce training and development needed to successfully deliver a massive American infrastructure rebuilding program.
“The best social program is a J-O-B”! Unlocking the untapped potential and productivity of the average American – with special care for our most vulnerable and underutilized – is the “hand-up”” needed to deliver the American renaissance that will make America great again. ALL of our best thinking and effort needs to be directed to supporting this most urgent work!
Beverly Scott, Ph.D., CEO, Beverly Scott Associates, LLC