Recently, the “Rebuild America Act” was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). This a comprehensive bill that aims to help American manufacturers compete and help young people get the education they need. It calls for rebuilding roads and bridges, improving schools and job training, and protecting U.S. companies from predatory trade practices.
In his article in U.S. News and World Report, David Brodwin takes on the question of whether or not it is the government’s role to intervene in economic issues at all. According to many, “government should play no role. It should simply stand aside.” Those who believe this think government intervention of any kind makes matters worse.
But according to Brodwin in his article, this belief “flies in the face of principles that have made America strong throughout its history.” From the early 1800′s, when the government taxed manufactured imports and put policies in place to protect America’s new manufacturers until they could compete on a broader scale, to targeted investments in selected industries to help them get off the ground, the U.S. has implemented many policies over the years that have helped grow our industrial base that sustained us through two world wars.
It used to be that providing funds to build roads, bridges and infrastructure, as well as providing money for education, were strategies both parties agreed upon as a necessary function of government to help provide a framework for industry to succeed. Such policies in the past helped make America great. According to Brodwin, “government must create and maintain the conditions in which competition can flourish.” We need to get back to a less ideological and more common sense approach to government economic intervention in helping to rebuild our economy.