by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
What did the teachers gathered in Raleigh last week have in common with Pres. Donald Trump, besides an affinity for red clothing?
The teachers’ union called the walkout a “Rally for Respect,” not just pay. And Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again” was seen as a way to restore dignity to those left behind by the global economy. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School, decided the school’s students would do well to experience the heartland instead of Hong Kong.
“I wanted the students to go to a place that had experienced industrial decline,” he says. “And they came back with a clear sense that there’s no silver bullet to our problems, but that people there had real points—that a lot of what you read about their lives is true.” There are, he continues, “real economic concerns in the heartland, but also concerns about dignity that neither party had addressed.”
Hubbard sees a role for government to “deliver a kind of mass prosperity, with people feeling like they’re all part of the system.” His concern is not just about the average, but about creating opportunity for those left behind. There are no common answers, but the questions sound more similar.