The number one issue facing all Americans today is the state of our economy.Our leaders in Washington must adopt policies that will expand the economy and create high-paying 21st century jobs.
We need to recognize that we live in a global economy. The United States must take every practical step to ensure that American businesses and workers have the opportunity to compete and win in the worldwide marketplace. To accomplish this goal, Main Street supports free trade. Opening markets gives American businesses of every size the opportunity to attract new customers and increase revenues. Modernized trade agreements will boost American manufacturing, create quality jobs, ensure common environmental and labor standards, and make both the United States and our trading partners more prosperous and secure.
We must also unleash the power of our entrepreneurial spirit and keep the United States the world leader in innovation and research.We must continue to invest in research and encourage innovation by strengthening and making permanent the R&D tax credit.
Low taxation is critical to continued employment growth. The last thing we should do, at a time of fragile economic recovery, is to increase taxes on any American family or business. The United States has the highest corporate tax rates in the world, and there is agreement from left, right, and center that they should be lowered. Main Street also believes that decreasing the tax burden on individuals will let us keep and spend more of what we earn, which will increase the prosperity and security of all Americans.
Education is the foundation on which our economy is built. We must strengthen and invest in math and science programs and, at a time when computer literacy is becoming a necessary condition for employment, ensure that computer instruction is a core element of school curricula. We must make college affordable for all who wish to better their prospects, and who will use their education to better America.
Standardized achievement tests can be an excellent tool for exposing achievement gaps between schools, but their best use is to diagnose what students do and don’t know and allow teachers to target instruction to individual student needs. Testing that is too frequent and extensive results in “teaching to the test,” which distorts the curriculum and fails to motivate teachers or improve student outcomes. Main Street believes that No Child Left Behind should be modified so that students are assessed once in elementary school, middle school, and high school, rather than being tested every year.
Improvements to our national infrastructure are an investment in America’s future. Never have such improvements been needed more than now, when every day brings news of crumbling highways, collapsing bridges, shoddy railroads and ports, outdated power grids, freight bottlenecks, and air traffic delays. Uncertainties about the future reliability of our energy, water, and transportation systems are creating obstacles to investment and impeding businesses. Our aging, substandard infrastructure is a drain on the country’s productivity, a cost to companies, and a public safety hazard. For our sake and the sake of future generations, we need to invest in infrastructure modernization that will allow us to catch up to and surpass the standard set by our economic competitors.
Main Street also believes that there should be wider recognition that our telecommunications systems are an increasingly critical part of our national infrastructure. Investment in greater cell phone coverage and faster broadband networks will be impeded by heavy-handed government regulation. At the same time, government has a key role to play in protecting our infrastructure and our individual data and finances from cyberattacks by terrorists, hostile nations, hackers, and criminals.
We can make health care more available and affordable to all Americans, but this cannot be accomplished by cumbersome government bureaucracies and one-size-fits-all regulations. Instead, we need to pursue market-driven solutions using new technologies, end medical malpractice abuse, eliminate waste and fraud, and encourage competition to reduce costs, improve treatment, and expand access.
The United States has the most advanced health care system in the world, which attracts patients from every nation. We must continue to encourage and foster innovation in the health care and biomedical sectors to ensure that we remain the global leader in modern medicine.
Main Street believes that the country should unite behind Congress’ new 21st Century Cures initiative, which aims to accelerate the discovery of new treatments and cures. It will remove the hurdles that make it so expensive and cumbersome to develop new drugs and medical devices. It proposes to put the interests patients first, encourage our most promising young scientists and researchers, and modernize clinical trials without compromising safety.Just as American medical science reduced or eliminated such historic disablers and killers as tuberculosis, smallpox, polio, and AIDS, so it can eliminate current threats such as Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, and diabetes. The 21st Century Cure initiative will bring hope and healing to millions of Americans and to people around the world.
As America has withdrawn from international responsibilities during the past several years, new dangers have arisen that can strike us here in this country as well threatening our interests and allies abroad. Islamic extremism poses new risks to the global community, and the Islamic State (or ISIS) is perhaps the most formidable terrorist entity in world history. Aggressive and expansionist rivals seek to displaceAmerican influence and destabilize the global order that we have maintained for decades.
The safety of our citizens and our credibility as a defender of world order depend on the strength and preparedness of our military. We must reverse the crippling cuts imposed on our armed forces by Congressional gridlock and ensure that our military is ready to meet any threat. We must continue to develop the world’s most advanced military systems and confront the new challenges of cyberwarfare.We should honor and respect the services and sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform.We must do all we can to keep them safe on the field of battle and ensure that they receive every possible medical, educational, and vocational opportunity upon their return to civilian life.