The Agenda

Ramesh Ponnuru on the Exhaustion of the Republican Job-Growth Agenda

Ramesh’s latest column for Bloomberg View is sobering. I strongly recommend it. It is particularly sobering in light of Tim Pawlenty’s address on the economy, which, at first glance, strains credulity.

Think of an imaginary family: a husband and wife in their mid-50s, living in a blue-collar suburb of St. Louis. The husband lost his job and has been finding a hard time finding another one. The wife is working steadily, yet she’s had to draw on her (meager) retirement savings. They have one adult son who has just graduated from college and he is, for now, living at home. He’d love to move to Austin or Dallas, where friends of his have found work, but first he needs to save enough money for a car and for a deposit. So far, he’s been having a hard time scaring up an entry-level job close enough to home that he can make it there without a car. Add in a health problem and you’re talking about an anxious family. They’re not complainers, and they’re basically confident that they’ll be able to get ahead. But a conservative presidential candidate has to keep them and their non-tragic but not entirely cheerful narrative in mind.

Reihan Salam is president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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