by Howard J. Grossman, AICP
There are many events that dictate economic security or insecurity in this region. Some are self-induced and some come from national or international trends. They all relate to patterns of systematic publicity, spelled out by economist writers, authors, historians and other workers of tales that sharpen the minds of readers or other protagonists who wish to offer commentaries about these conditions.
For example, one topic is the question of economic insecurity, which is growing across the nation, this region and the world. It has been defined by authors such as Steven Brill, Tom Friedman and others. Some have argued this solution can only come about by holding the community or geographic area together.
Household debt is another growing condition which needs corrective action, and this has clearly entered the dimension of regional life in the Pocono-Northeast. Debt has led to many families being unable to save, many local governments entering the life of budgetary obstacles and the growing condition of pension plans being a perennial issue affecting governmental budgets. One in five families are without access to sufficient food for an active, healthy life. Infrastructure is clearly falling apart in many places, and is an issue in this region. It generates what may be called a broken region, state and nation, and needs quick and large-scale federal responses – which to this point has not occurred.
Game playing has affected the true safety nets, which at one time included social security, medicare and other tools such as Medicaid. These and other safety nets are threatened by political stands which are obviously being attacked and not accepted strategies which have proven effective in the past. There is a need to find solutions to maintaining these important ways to meet the needs of a large share of American demographics.
It is a regional issue that should be further enhanced by an approach that leads toward an action-focused task force.
Colleges and universities deserve credit for training new leaders and workers. The cost of undergraduate or graduate programs has skyrocketed, however, and needs a solution.
New obstacles to international trade have threatened the traditional means to advance global support for trading and the recent spate of tariff negotiations has meant difficult economic times – an issue which affects all of the United States, as well as other countries. The role of the private, public and nonprofit sectors needs study, analysis and generated actions that spell out the differences and the common impacts of these sectors of the economy, regionally, statewide and nationally.
The overall impacts of social media and other ways to transfer information have changed society in ways that authors such as Walter Isaccson have written about and examined thoroughly, and these ideas and thoughts need to be studied and implemented across blurred geographic boundaries.
Attacking the First Amendment threatens a traditional source of news gathering and should spur ways to make sure that this First of the Bill of Rights remains a strong standard for protecting the role that the Founding Fathers strengthened when this was initially examined through the Constitution.
The writers of a book titled “Generations,” years ago, defined how we are interconnected across time lines that have given the nation, and therefore its regions, creative generations that truly move from one area to another, in a straight and predictable pathway, lending history and futurism together – something that, at a regional scale, is as true as anywhere in the world. Think of what time it takes our Congressional leaders to raise funds, some saying five hours a day, and this is an unholy process that needs correction as well as the Citizens United Supreme Court case that changed how funds are accumulated for elected races. It is a drag on the overall economy of a nation in distress.
There was a bill that would have been a Constitutional Amendment that would have changed this system, but it never passed. Another economic change has been the growth of online shopping, which has impacted retail jobs strongly and shows no sign of diminishing. While training is badly needed, some statistics show that the nation is falling behind many smaller countries in the amount of funds available for this purpose.
This is something this region needs. We have excellent training entities, but the needs are higher here than in many other geographic places.
Perhaps the most dramatic erosion has been accountability and responsibility being misplaced as a tool for finding answers to some of these problems economically.
As this nation and this region age demographically, the needs are stronger and the solutions become more difficult to be obtained. On the other hand, security can be examined in the following context as economic development continues as a major priority. Here are some ideas:
■ Create a regional organization that shadows these trends and takes action accordingly to discover new ways to meet these obstacles and ensure new generations that ability to overcome some of these trends.
■ Prepare a regional documentary on economic trends and evaluate what steps are best suited for meeting our needs in the next year or two.
■ Have all the regional colleges and universities in the region collectively prioritize ways they can help meet the economic needs of the future.
■ Develop a regional plan that can adjust current practices to best practices for economic security for the growth and development of the region.
■ Make sure the middle class is not lost in the turmoil of turbulence that engenders the future of this region and that the safety nest discussed previously remain mainstay of economic stability inside the Pocono-Northeast.
In these ways, economic security may overcome economic insecurity.