In my latest reading of Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, Arianna Huffington discusses ways that the government can create or facilitate the creation of jobs: establishing jobs to refurbish parks (among other things), tax credits for small businesses, attracting foreign talent to the United States, setting up banks to encourage green energy, etc.
What I particularly liked in my latest reading,
however, was Arianna's discussion of what private individuals can do to
prevent the U.S. from becoming Third World America. For one, she says
that people should put their money in their local community banks or
credit unions rather than big banks. She refers to a movement that she
and others launched (Move Your Money) that did precisely that. One way
to stand against banks that are too big to fail is, well, to put you
money in smaller banks! Moreover, Arianna states that many credit
unions do not aim to "maximize short-term profits" for the reason that
they are not owned by shareholders, and so they tend to avoid "risky
subprime loans", "offer lower fees and higher interest rates on
savings", and hold home mortgages themselves rather than slicing them up
for Wall Street (pages 203-204).
Second, Arianna mentions
HelloWallet.com, a company that gives affordable financial advice. It
helps people to save and steers them toward mortgages and credit cards
with good rates----so that you're not signing a mortgage or agreeing to a
credit card that looks good at first, before the rates are
significantly jacked up! As Arianna notes, because HelloWallet is
independent of banks, users of its services are getting "unbiased
guidance", with the result that banks can be held accountable as people
make informed decisions.
I am more of a liberal nowadays, but one
reason that I became a conservative years ago is that I preferred
private ways to deal with problems over big government. Now, I'm not
for the government sitting back and letting nature run its course, but I
still think it's cool when the private sector works to make things
better. In my opinion, making things better should be something that
all of us try to do----in the public and also the private sectors.