Bipartisan Path to Prosperity

September 26, 2011 By Erin OBrien

In these difficult economic times, Congress is working to find places to cut the national budget while President Obama and the Republican Presidential candidates who hope to replace him focus on domestic policy and job creation.  Yet by preventing disproportionate cuts in one critical area of the budget, the U.S. could actually create jobs here at home.

A new report by a bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Independent Task Force lays out a strategy set on seven pillars for trade and investment to grow the economy. These pillars discuss ways to jump start the United States’ economy through foreign investment. One pillar that called for expanding use of trade to foster global development was dismissed as “a political non-starter” by blogger Dan Drezner.  Drezner’s article, “It’s Let’s Release Something About Trade Day today,” portrays the pillars as being overused policy assertions that will make no difference in policy. Yet even in the current climate, U.S. global leadership as a path to prosperity enjoys strong bipartisan support on the Hill and among Presidential campaigns. The expansion of trade has proven to be a successful means to promote job growth. By promoting development abroad, United States’ politicians can work at a bipartisan level to lower the deficit and to create jobs at home, while strengthening national security.

U.S. leadership in the world is important for our growth for numerous reasons. As states develop, their buying capacity increases. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, developing countries make up half of our foreign consumers. By investing in these countries, we build up markets for American products. Jobs in the United States are created through trade and investment, not through isolationist policies. Developing economies are global marketplaces for items that we export. Investment in the developing world opens our markets and advances theirs, which leads to job growth here at home.

In addition, investing in developing countries promotes economic and community stability in those nations. When people have an opportunity to work and can take care of their families, they are less likely to be influenced and enticed by terrorist or organized criminal organizations.  This keeps both their nation and ours secure. As stated in the UN Secure World Report , security is not just a national issue. It is an international issue, especially as international criminal organizations continue to breach borders and infiltrate both developed and developing nations. By allowing nations to develop as productive members of the international economic community, it allows for job growth and stability in both developing and developed countries; including ours.

The evidence is clearly in support of continuing the implementation of economic development abroad. By promoting growth in developing states, we as a nation are able to increase our economic growth and create new jobs for Americans while increasing our national security. Fostering development abroad is not just something that will help emerging economies gain a place in the international market, it is something that will give the United States new markets and consumers to buy our exports. As slums become suburbs, the demand for goods will rise, giving the United States an opportunity to mend its broken economy.