Calvin Coolidge once said, “the chief business of the American people is business. [We] are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing, and prospering in the world.”
As Rob Atkinson writes in the Daily Caller, Coolidge may have been wrong about many things, but he was right about that. The most important way to help working Americans is to ensure that enterprises are most productive. Healthy enterprises are the prerequisites for production, which in turn is the prerequisite for consumption, growth, and prosperity.
America’s enterprises—which include every for-profit, nonprofit, and government entity from sole-proprietor dog-walking businesses to the country’s largest employer, Walmart—together produce $57 billion in goods and services a day. That might sound impressive, but at that level the median U.S. household is consuming just $187 worth of output a day (including public services).
Things would be a lot better if the median household were consuming two to three times that much. Some simple-living advocates in Portlandia might protest, but most other liberals should get onboard, because it would improve living standards for workers. Meanwhile, conservatives should rejoice because it would mean robust economic growth.