AFT On Campus
Fueling Economic Growth
A well-educated workforce is key to state prosperity.
Historically, U.S. economic growth and prosperity have been achieved through an implicit partnership of federal, state and local governments, a partnership that worked astonishingly well for a period after World War II.
The federal government provided overall economic stability and sought to ensure that the economy never veered too far from full employment. State and local governments assumed primary responsibility for the education system, which produced a more skilled and productive workforce. Federal and state governments invested both in infrastructure, and in basic research that provided enormous long-term benefits for the private sector. The end result was a long period of postwar productivity growth, the prerequisite for growth in the standard of living.
During the 1970s and 1980s, state and local governments across the country became convinced that they should play a more aggressive and expansive role in economic policy. Economic development became accepted as a major function of state and local government, and came to mean the direct promotion of private investment within the borders of a state or city. This led to escalating competition for a limited supply of private capital investment through increasingly generous incentive packages.
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