Originally Posted: June 12, 2018
This article was written by Matthew Rooney, managing director and Cullum Clark, director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative.
North Texas has one of the most successful regional economies in the U.S. Over the past three decades, Dallas has grown faster, exported more and added more jobs than nearly any other part of the country. It has attracted people from all over the world to live, work and invest here. But Dallas has not generally been a place where national or international economic policy is made.
The George W. Bush Institute and Southern Methodist University recently launched the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative. This partnership is not unique — a number of the most influential and effective policy centers in the U.S. are closely linked to great universities. But what is unique is how we will leverage our geographic position in the heart of one of America’s fastest growing, most successful metro areas. Over the coming months, we will build the initiative, and therefore build Dallas, into a globally respected voice on the most pressing economic issues of our time.
We are nonpartisan, but we do have a point of view. We believe Americans hold the fate of their country in their own hands. We believe free markets promote prosperity for all. We believe American leadership in the world benefits American workers and entrepreneurs. We believe that evidence-based policy-making is crucial. We know smart public policy can foster more rapid growth and rising living standards, overcoming much of the disruption generated by rapid technological advances and making growth more inclusive than it has been in recent years.
This initiative will ensure Dallas has a strong voice in economic circles. We will advance high-impact policy ideas, supported by credible and impartial research, to accelerate domestic economic growth. We will also continue to gather the most respected leaders in government, academia and the private sector to discuss and promote sound policy. We believe our program will elevate policy discourse and strengthen the competitive position of Dallas in the global economy.
We are not starting from scratch.
Since the Bush Institute’s founding, its Economic Growth Program has developed significant bodies of work on globalization and immigration. Our work on North American competitiveness finds that the supply chains built under the North American Free Trade Agreement have strengthened the ability of the United States to compete globally. We believe that NAFTA delivers better economic performance for the United States — stronger growth and greater job creation — than other trade pacts around the world. Similarly, our analysis of the impact of immigration on our economy concludes that smart immigration policy is good for the economy, promoting entrepreneurship, creating jobs and making the U.S. more prosperous.
Going forward, our initiative will shine a spotlight on the growing fiscal challenges threatening our future, at the federal level but also in our states and cities, and provide growth-friendly solutions. We will look closely at the private-sector foundations of economic growth, including the health of entrepreneurship and innovation in the U.S. and the nexus between education and economic vitality. And we will bring together the best minds in our country on the critical question of how to restore upward mobility and equal opportunity for all Americans.
SMU economists are doing path-breaking research on a wide range of urgent policy issues, ranging from U.S. trade and monetary policies to educational, health and behavioral challenges that limit upward mobility for less advantaged people in our country and elsewhere. Our partnership will advance this important work and raise SMU’s profile still further.
The entrance to the Bush Institute features a large wall engraved with words President George W. Bush delivered in a speech at London’s Whitehall Palace in 2003: “We believe in free societies ordered by moral conviction, private markets humanized by compassionate government, economies that reward effort, communities that protect the weak, and duty of nations to respect the dignity and rights of all.” Our calling is to apply these timeless American values to the most consequential economic issues facing our country today. We will do our part to ensure that the coming century brings America’s prosperity to new heights. READ MORE