COLE: Restoring the American Dream
One of the greatest aspirations we have in this nation is the concept of the “American Dream.” The idea that any person, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion can achieve prosperity, happiness and success has always been a bedrock principle of our national experience. Achieving the American Dream generally relies upon individual initiative, so the best way the government can assist in the pursuit is to get out of the way.
Unfortunately, within the past decade our nation has been crippled by an administration that has created more barriers than opportunities when it comes to the American Dream. Conversely, Congressional Republicans are developing new strategies to support and encourage American prosperity and to bring the achievement of the American Dream closer to every citizen of the nation.
Just last week, the White House released its report on projected job and economic growth for the next year, and the results were dismal. The February report projected growth in the GDP to be 2.6 percent in both 2016 and 2017. The revised projections are 1.9 percent in 2016 and 2.5 percent in 2017. Investor’s Business Daily described these new projections as “a disaster” and stated that many middle class families will struggle to secure jobs and face the possibility of poverty.
Every American should have the opportunity to work and to reap the rewards of their labor. Unfortunately, more and more Americans are finding themselves unable to find gainful employment and are instead relying more and more on government assistance. This unfortunate cycle of poverty and dependence prevents families and individuals from even pursuing, let alone achieving, the American Dream.
Fortunately, Speaker Ryan and Congressional Republicans have developed a plan to help Americans who are struggling to get out of poverty and back on track in the work force. Known as the “Better Way” agenda, this plan makes sure that federal assistance programs will be a hand-up rather than a hand-out, and they should be evaluated by how much they help rather than how much they spend. By helping people move from welfare to work we restore dignity to individuals and families while simultaneously saving the taxpayers money. This is a worthy and honorable objective.
No citizen of this great nation is owed the American Dream — only the opportunity to pursue it. But the government should not put in place unnecessary barriers to the Dream, nor should it continue programs that are ostensibly intended to help people escape poverty, but instead ensnare them in a vicious cycle dependence. When we endeavor to help our fellow citizens, we should focus on creating opportunity which will, in turn, lead to prosperity.
U.S. REP. TOM COLE, R-Moore, represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.
Read the full op-ed: http://www.edmondsun.com/opinion/cole-restoring-the-american-dream/article_abcf9cca-538c-11e6-aac5-031d73fec611.html