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ICYMI: Rubio: America’s Ability to Meet Challenges of Tomorrow Rests on our Conviction to Turn a New Economic Page Today

May 5, 2020 | Press Releases

Foreword: On Resilience
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
May 4, 2020
American Compass
The coronavirus pandemic is a generation-defining moment for the American people. Facing tremendous suffering, we have seen heroic stories of self-sacrifice and bravery, and communities overcoming tectonic disruptions by pulling together in mutual support.

But insofar as coronavirus has changed things, it has also revealed long-standing truths about the pre-pandemic economy. America hemorrhaged manufacturing capacity because conventional wisdom held that economic resources were better allocated based on maximizing efficiency, as opposed to ensuring resilience. Offshoring the bulk of our manufacturing base might have been “efficient,” but it also meant sending millions of dignified jobs with it, leaving communities across the country with shattered families and soaring addiction rates.
Those same communities – and many more – are now suffering because America’s service-oriented economy is bearing the brunt of crushing public health lockdowns. No economy can escape a global pandemic unharmed, but decades of shortsighted lawmaking and corporate leadership made America unacceptably vulnerable.

The logic of economic efficiency holds that politics either cannot decide what is necessary or will make the wrong decision, so determining the allocation of resources is better left to unregulated market forces. In many cases, American capitalism has proven remarkably adept at doing exactly that. It has cured diseases and led to incredible technological advances. And there is no other way for an economy to grow and innovate, especially in a country as large and diverse as ours.
However, there are obvious exceptions. The capacity to meet medical needs in a pandemic is not efficient, but it is necessary. A robust, secure, domestic food chain sacrifices some efficiency for the assurance that we can feed our population.

The great casualty of prioritizing efficiency is a lost focus on the political common good. It is an inability to identify what is necessary and to enact in law and practice the means to achieve it. Losing that focus has only served to separate the components that compose a functional civil society: family, work, faith, community, and the mutual obligations of citizenship.

Historians will look back on the coronavirus pandemic as a point of national inflection and, hopefully, as a corrective to the policy choices of the last few decades. America’s economic policy must match the strength and spirit of our people, and our ability to meet the national security challenges of tomorrow rests on our conviction to turn a new economic page today. I am optimistic that the winds are changing, with organizations like American Compass already proving essential in the process of charting the right course.
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