Opinion: Our next GOP president must facilitate the American dream


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The Weekly Standard’s Opinion editor, Matthew Continetti, contributed to our Wednesday Op-Ed pages to call on our ‘next Republican president’ to present a plan for social mobility. In his piece he points out the success stories of GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, who both scratched themselves out of meager beginnings, and he also praises Mitt Romney for not ‘sliding back down’ the income ladder he was born at the top of.

The question facing the Republican candidates, then, is this: How do we align economic and social incentives in a way that fosters independence and drive? The Republicans might start by looking at things that make life easier for working families. […] Family, education and work all helped the Republican front-runners realize the American dream. Now it’s time for them to let the less fortunate in on the secret to success.


Here are the suggestions readers are offering on our discussion board.

Romney knows the value of work and education

I genuinely appreciated your piece. May I offer that Mitt Romney is one generation away from poverty. His father grew up much more like Michele and Rick. Mitt was raised in a home that taught the value of work and education. He learned the lessons taught by a father and mother and continued the upward climb to the ‘American dream’. In the process he has not forgotten the lessons. I was impressed and continue to be impressed with his not taking a salary for his work with the Olympics nor as Governor of the State of Massachusetts. His service record is as commendable as his employment record.

I know education, strengthening families, protecting this nation, advancing American values are extremely high on Mitt Romney’s list. He is not a power hungry type of person. He really is the down to earth gentleman that his wife attests to. He is a family man. He cares about the future of Americans and thus America. You are right he knows ‘how it is to be done’ and I am sure he is anxious to put his shoulder to the wheel.


No more government handouts

The one thing these three candidates did not need to become successful was a government handout. All gained their success from hard work. They did not need government ‘stimulus’ to become successful.

They also know the corrosive negative effects of inflation that occurs as a result of running huge budget deficit hits the lower income population the hardest.

Obama and Bernanke, by monetizing our debt (printing money), are causing inflation. By stripping away people’s buying power it keeps the underprivileged from getting ahead.

- jjmart

We need structural social mobility

Social mobility is caused by two factors: (1) Individual movement in the social mobility table (upwards), and (2) structural social mobility, the increased opportunities or sizes of classes. In my opinion, both political parties have their own way of increasing social mobility -- Democrats tend to do it through the former via preferential treatment, affirmative action, and diversity paradigms, while Republicans tend to create more structural opportunities at middle class and top through tax breaks, less regulation, etc.

Technically Bachmann and Romney have the good record on this, while Rick Perry doesn’t. While Texas may be doing good overall economically, this is due to a massive increase in the lower-class.

Ultimately structural mobility is the stronger of the two for this economy. With the internet, certain types of jobs are disappearing, and new types of jobs are reappearing. It’s not just Amazon putting booksellers out of business, but the internet is creating a new style of life. This style of life has more demands on certain products and less on others. As a nation, we have to figure out how to adapt our economy to produce the new products that we want, and what the world wants. Instead we are pouring money into things that may not necessarily give us this. It’s more important than ever to reduce taxes and regulations -- any Republican will be running on that.


Government should step out of the way

The best form of social mobility that the Republicans can provide is to prevent government from being a roadblock or impediment on the way up.

-- TimBowman

Government is the problem

The principle is simple: radically reduce the size, scope, power and cost of government to ensure maximum individual liberties and economic freedoms.

Government is the problem; get government out of the way and we’ll have all the ‘social mobility’ and economic growth we need.


The Republican view of social mobility

The Republican view of social mobility is that it’s only upward if you’re already on top. For everyone else, the only social mobility is *downward*.


Social mobility is a personal choice

In the rat race of life, there cannot be winners without losers.

Social mobility is a personal choice, not a government issue.

--Scaley MacKerel

*Spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.


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