It is easy to talk about the economy, or should I say criticize.
The factors that influence the economy are many. One area of focus that has become a fan favorite is whether our economy is “sustainable.” I admit, I have been seduced by the catch phrase that is a darling of both the fiscally conservative and the socially progressive. The concept is broad enough to encompass renewable energy and the need to invest in transportation.
I have seen presentations about whether our economy is sustainable. They seem similar to presentations about the deficit or the budget. They talk about the bad news under a new label. We have an unstable tax base, very high per capita debt or sinister unfunded liabilities.
What is lost in the conversation about what makes an economy sustainable is an analysis of the engine — the means of producing revenue that supports everything. True, we often talk about jobs. How could you not? This gets us close to the core, but we can — and should — go deeper. What keeps the economy churning? What pays for everything?
Brian O’Shaughnessy of New Haven is a principal in the firm Community Impact Strategies Ltd. The mission of CIS is to facilitate the investment of public and private capital for the purpose of creating measureable improvements in human productivity and living conditions.
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