We spend a lot of time in Washington and elsewhere wondering what’s wrong with people, and how we can fix them. But for the most part, people don’t need fixing. Our systems and institutions need fixing. Yet when you have to constantly deal with broken system and institutions—that can break people. They become discouraged and don’t think they can make progress, and in many cases they’re right.
As a country we ask, why is productivity growth slowing down? Why do we see a rise in income inequality? Why is there wage stagnation? The culprit in my view is that the largest part of productive capacity in this country—people—are being massively underutilized.
While there are many things we ought to do to move this country forward, there is nothing really more important than giving every person a shot to transfer their effort into progress, and their learning into earning. People aren’t just mouths to feed; they are potential, energy, creativity, effort, and work.