Terry Paulson

A leader's job is to keep hope alive. But as more and more Americans slip into prolonged unemployment and struggle to sustain their own confidence, hope is giving way to lower expectations. Instead or reinforcing entrepreneurism, personal resourcefulness, and self-reliance, more and more are turning to government for the answers that used to come from their own efforts.

The General Social Survey, a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, found that just under 55% of Americans agreed that "people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living." That is the lowest level since the question was first asked in 1987. People are feeling trapped, not hopeful.

At the same time, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow. A UC Berkeley study last year found that the richest 10% of Americans enjoyed more than half of the income nationwide.

President Obama's response to support the "middle class" has been to lower their share of taxes, raise taxes on the richest Americans, and find ways to transfer the cost of healthcare from the individual to businesses and wealthy Americans. But his approach has seen the middle and working classes decrease, poverty and government dependence increase, and the gap between the rich and the poor widen.

Liberals have one answer--Give more refunds, forgive debt, provide more food stamps, give...give...give. But every dollar taken from the rich is one more dollar not invested in the private sector that could be creating new companies and more jobs. Instead of creating a vibrant private sector that creates jobs, he's seen companies rely on technological innovation, part-time employees, and relocation to states that reward business success.

States are the laboratory for what works. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, nine of the ten states with the greatest economic outlook have a Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature. Virginia is the only blue state to break into the top ten largely due to the federal contracts that flow into their state from Washington. Eight of the report's lowest-ranking states are governed by Democrats.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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