America now faces too much government spending, a huge deficit, an exorbitant national debt, a suffering economy and unacceptable rates of unemployment. While some reports indicate decreases in unemployment, a substantial group of discouraged workers , those who have given up their search altogether, as well as part-time workers who would rather be full-time, are not even included in those tallies — thereby misleading Americans with an artificial impression of job growth.
The Wall Street Journal described how a more conservative brand of economics saved Canada during a debilitating fiscal and economic breakdown in the early 90s, when Jean Chretien became Prime Minister. Chretien then decided to implement conservative fiscal policies which, by the late 1990s, saw the economy rebound.
What is needed for the economy to revive, as many have prescribed, is a conservative plan of less spending and lower taxes. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently said it was imperative that the next U.S. President improves the U.S. federal government’s fiscal health. Harper was asked what he sees as the biggest threats to the Canadian and global economies. His reply was the ongoing fiscal crisis in Europe, followed by the U.S., saying: “The United States fiscal situation is very bad. The trajectory is very bad.” He concluded that he and his government are ready to work with whoever prevails in November.
Given the arguments in favor of the need for real “hope and change” in America, the question of economic growth for the largest demographic—the “Baby Boomers,” born just after World War II — is essential: it not only answers questions of future economic sustainability but represents a huge voting bloc.
The ability of small businesses to grow, and the need to lock up the Boomer and Senior votes, which combined count for 60% of the vote, represent an ironic new reality: that a huge number of Boomers (and even Seniors) are not retiring “on schedule,” and that the labor force participation rate for the oldest workers has been climbing steadily, while that of the youngest has been dropping —in a contrast that is dramatic. Almost a quarter of the people who were supposed to have retired automatically at age 65 will still be in the labor force.
Many are still working as their retirement packages (most notably, the value of their homes) have been seriously eroded, if not wiped out – yet one more proof of the disastrous past four years. They simply cannot afford to retire. They are healthier than their historical counterparts and enjoying longer lives.
Both Boomers and Seniors are buying franchises and creating small businesses, even home-based ones, in record numbers. They have become the new generation of entrepreneurs. According to a 2009 report,”The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom,” by the Ewing and Marion Kauffman Foundation, “Contrary to popularly held assumptions, it turns out that over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, meanwhile, which we usually identify with swashbuckling and risk-taking youth, has the lowest rate.” The report also suggests that those entrepreneurial 60-year-olds could be the 2020s’ entrepreneurial 70-year-olds.” This trend also opens up an even stronger, more innovative, future-oriented case for the growth of small businesses as presented by Romney recommended, even as, in the debate, he vowed to preserve Social Security.
The Conservative government of Canada has already shown foresight and recognition of these trends by raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security from 65 to 67, to begin in 2023. Although not without criticism, the decision was about the sustainability of resources in anticipation of this “Boomer Bulge” moving up in age — as well as small business growth according to the Conservative mandate.
To return to the need for tighter U.S.-Canada relations, it was recently further underscored through a warning issued to American companies by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee to avoid doing business with China’s two leading technology firms (Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp), in view of the national security threat they pose to North America. The warning was met with a defensive response by Huawei’s Vice president for external affairs, who stated that he hoped the U.S. would do more to benefit the interests of the two countries, the U.S. and China, not the opposite. The influence of communist China as a growing economic superpower as well as its interests are at best ambiguous. With the expansion of globalization come partnerships, both politically and economically. In a climate of competing interests and potential threats, Canada can be counted on as a close and reliable ally.