Guiding Principles and Insights
Let’s Close the Opportunity Gap and Boost Economic Mobility.
To put it bluntly: Today’s economic system not only denies people the opportunity to rise, but also the very belief they can do so. Millennials are the first generation to be worse off than their parents at the same point in life. Data show the poorer you are growing up, the more likely you are to stay poor through adulthood. And more than 40 percent of the country thinks America’s best days are behind us.
These trends are brought about by barriers in education, business, communities, and government that make it harder to rise. This is injustice. And we’re partnering with social entrepreneurs to remove these barriers holding people back.
That includes volunteer activists with Americans for Prosperity who are uniting citizens to make health care more affordable by, among other improvements, leveraging technology to expand access and increase choice; prevent future tax hikes by reforming state pension systems to be sustainable over the long term; stop overspending that’s led to an explosion in our national debt that will impose increasing burdens on Americans; and transform today’s social safety net—that, however well-intentioned, has trapped millions of people in long-term dependency—into a social safety springboard that helps the needy back onto their feet; among other public policy reforms.
We’re also partnering with educators at Junior Achievement USA who, by teaching the values and skills of entrepreneurship, are preparing students to compete in a rapidly evolving economy. And we’re supporting more than 30 workforce development programs that help the homeless experience earned success.
There is no silver bullet or single solution to this problem. It requires uniting educators, community and business leaders, and policymakers of all parties to fix it. So that’s what we are doing.
Economic opportunity is the most effective anti-poverty program in history.
Expand the Great Enrichment to All by Eliminating Special Favors for the Few.
We’re fortunate to be living amidst the Great Enrichment—the most prosperous period in human history. It started in the early 1800s and was built in part on the establishment of equal rights and a recognition that people can work and do business together voluntarily and to their mutual benefit.
This country has never lived up fully to this ideal, sometimes falling far short. But to the extent that we have followed these principles, our country has flourished—increasing Americans’ standard of living by as much as 3,000% in the last two centuries alone.
The tragedy today is the pace of progress has stalled for many. Middle-class wages have failed to keep up with a booming economy. Nearly three-in-five people have less than $1,000 in savings. And 2-in-5 Americans say they would have trouble covering an emergency that cost $400.
So, what’s happening? Why are so many today being left behind? Part of the answer is public policy barriers have rigged the system in favor of a few and against everyone else.
Policies like corporate welfare have created a system in which success for some comes at the expense of others. In a recent six-year period, for example, the federal government doled out $4.4 trillion to just the top 200 U.S. companies, costing roughly $35,000 per household.
Our regulatory system has become so burdensome and complex that small businesses report spending more than $80,000 on compliance in their first year of operation—providing a steep advantage to large businesses that can more easily absorb such added costs. Meanwhile, other policies like occupational licenses stack the deck against the unemployed by requiring them to sometimes pay thousands of dollars and endure hundreds of hours of training to simply enter their chosen profession.
We want to ensure more people are able to feel more benefits from the Great Enrichment. We’re working to restore an economic system in which the only way to succeed is by benefiting others. Among other reforms, that means advancing equal rights by eliminating all special government favors—whether they be subsidies, tax credits, anticompetitive regulations, or anything else.