The Next Economy

I just came back from the Democratic convention where I served as a delegate from New Hampshire. I have no doubt that the President and the Democrats are on firmer philosophical footing than the Republicans when it comes to tackling the challenges facing our nation and I will do everything I can to help the re-elect. On one hand, I actually heard a cohesive message from the convention about Democratic values…inclusive, shared responsibility, community, middle-out and bottom up, a clear contrast with the divisive, top-down Republican ethos. On the other hand, What I did not hear was a bold vision for getting us to the “next economy”. Conventions are not the time for State of the Union addresses. Bill Clinton spoke about educating for the new jobs of the future but his was the lone voice to suggest that we need real investment in an educational system designed to train students for 21st century jobs. I heard the now standard mantra about “hard work and play by the rules”, I did not hear much took about innovation and technology which requires that our workforce adapt and our economic thinking advance about the ways in which innovation propels our economy. And while many speakers spoke about democratic tradition and important Democratic social issues, I did not hear any bold plans to stimulate jobs in the short term, such as an infrastructure bank and public-private initiatives to mend and build the highways of the 21st century. The diffences between Democrats and Republicans are pretty clear. We agree that austerity and tax cuts for the wealthy won’t produce what our economy needs. I am hoping that the Democrats will take heart from the convention and start speaking honestly and boldly about getting us to the ” next economy”. What we need now is the expanded vision, which I know the President has, about how to move us “forward”.


Paul Hodes


Economic Innovation Institute and Action Fund , 2012.
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