Ushering in a New Era of Economic Prosperity
No matter which side of the political aisle you fall on, even if you consider yourself an Independent, the number one issue people care about, according to a recent Gallop poll, is the economy. To me, this comes as no surprise. The economy is legitimately the glue that holds together and supports the remaining issues. We need to usher in a new era of economic prosperity and participate in the global economy.
There has been a significant economic paradigm shift from the 1950's and 1960's to today. We have transitioned from a manufacturing and agrarian based economy to one based on service. Decent well-paying jobs have been taken away from many good hard working South Carolinians. These jobs have been replaced with robots and microchips. This is generally good for large corporations as they can manufacture on a larger scale for a fraction of the cost. This situation is good for them, and not so good for the average worker.
The same issue occurred on the agricultural side. Farms and farmers were able to cultivate and harvest exponentially more yield at a fraction of the cost. Many farms became more specialized and instead of growing a multitude of crops, they now only grow one or maybe two. This led to smaller farms not making a profit, given the cost of doing business was actually greater than the larger farms. These farmers were ultimately forced to either sell their land and move leading to a decline in rural communities.
The transition from a manufacturing/agrarian type economy to the service economy has been abrupt. Individuals, families, and business have struggled to adapt. This is not their fault. Regulations have been slow to change. Other regulations have been implemented without reviewing previous ones. The federal tax code has not changed fundamentally since 1986. Common sense solutions are required to strengthen our local economy, make government work for the little guy and for us to participate in the global economy of the 21st century.
Here are a few of my solutions to get the economy of South Carolina and the 112th district strong and prosperous:
- Economic development via green energy. 21st century issues require 21st century solutions. South Carolina has the potential to be an industry leader in the production of green energy infrastructure. We can incentivize these businesses to relocate to our area to manufacture photovoltaic cells and solar panels, turbines for harnessing wind energy, tidal turbines and related infrastructure. These companies can offer good jobs and decent wages to the workers and contribute to the tax base. We can offer these businesses tax incentives, access to our port for international shipments, and rail access. This creates an atmosphere which allows business and residents to not only make end meet, but allows each to thrive.
- Encourage the construction of a large indoor farmer’s market. Each of the communities in the district either already has a one day per week farmers market or is considering the development of one. There are also several other one day per week farmer’s markets in the greater Charleston Metro area. The demand is sufficient to support the construction of a larger sized farmers market in the area. This will benefit not only the local growers, it will benefit local bakeries, our fishermen and women, meat producers, artisans, sweetgrass basket-weavers, and many others who wish to participate. This allows them to also tap into the many tourist dollars that currently they are not receiving. Finally, this also has the added benefit of our own children and families having a mostly inexpensive and cost-effective means to meal plan and eat healthier, rather than obtaining their sustenance from the local fast food chain or massive supermarket chain. This reduces the burden on our healthcare industry by attacking the obesity epidemic where it lives and puts fresher, healthier meals on our kitchen tables.
- Support for small business and entrepreneurship. The biggest roadblocks for small business and entrepreneurs has and will always be; taxes, regulation, and fees. At the state level, we need to draft and support legislation that strengthens our small businesses, allows them to thrive, and removes regulation and costs that hold them back. This includes providing incentives to the small, family growers to strengthen our rural communities. Small business and entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy. The stronger we can make them, the stronger the economy will be. This is the bottom line.
Everything is cyclical. You cannot talk about the economy without talking about jobs, healthcare, the environment, or education. Every single one of these issues is interlinked. A robust economy that works for everyone, is in the interest of everyone. The changes from the 20th to the 21st century economy were swift, and we need to be able to adapt to these changes in order to make South Carolina a shining example of what can be done on a national scale.