THE NEED FOR US STRATEGIC ECONOMIC OBJECTIVES

On 09 December 2013 former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman discussed the need for US Strategic Economic Objectives.  In the interview he said “of the countries I've lived in (i.e. China, Singapore, and Taiwan), only one -- the US -- doesn't have a national strategic agenda.”

The primary goal of Jobs-First.org would be to make the US the most competitive country in the world.  Since it is difficult to define which country is number one, the Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum should be used as the benchmark. 

This is one of the most widely read international economic studies, and evaluates each country’s economic competitiveness using 110 variables organized into 12 pillars. Concentrating on these rankings could provide this movement with clarity, focus, and would allow policymakers to evaluate countries above the US, and determine which reforms should be enacted in order to surpass them. 

Annually, it evaluates each country’s economic competitiveness, and in 2015, the US ranked #3 behind Switzerland and Singapore.  The Report emphasizes four “critical pillars”:

  •  Macroeconomic Environment (US ranking #113)
  • Health/Education (US ranking #49)
  • Institutions (US ranking #30)
  • Infrastructure (US ranking #12)

 THE GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS REPORT

For example, according the 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report, the US ranked 11th in the world on the quality of its infrastructure, while Hong Kong is number one.  The US currently spends approximately $267 Billion on infrastructure or 2.4% of our gross domestic product (GDP). 

But, Hong Kong is projected to spend about $9 billion on its infrastructure in 2014, or 3.2% of GDP.  The difference is 0.8% of GDP which translates to $67 billion in extra infrastructure spending to tie Hong Kong for first.  But, for an investment of around $80 billion annually, we could build the best infrastructure in the world and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

INCREASING US GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS

This increased spending could also have a huge multiplier effect on job creation and economic growth.  According to a report from Standards & Poors titled U.S. Infrastructure Investment: A Chance to Reap More Than We Sow, a $1.3 billion investment in infrastructure could add 29,000 construction and infrastructure-related jobs.

In addition, it could also net $2.0 billion to real economic growth and reduce the deficit by $200 million.  Using the recommended investment of $80 billion annually could also produce up to 1,784,615 new jobs per year.

These objectives need to be based on the four “critical” pillars of the Global Competitiveness Report (Macroeconomic Environment, Health/Education, Institutions, and Infrastructure), and followed up with policies to help increase the US’s ranking in each category.  According to the report, these are also the areas in which the US does the worst, so the US Strategic Economic Objectives should be prioritized by focusing on our lowest ranking pillar first.