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A Modern Conversation

July 21, 2022 — John Stanford and Brad Howard

Today’s economy would stun a time traveler from only fifty years ago. Entire businesses run by a machine that fits in the palm of your hand. Robots running warehouses and cars driving themselves. Videoconferencing replacing arduous global travel. Millions in the “gig economy” that work when they want and how they want. An entrepreneur class that is the closest its ever been to representing America’s diversity – across gender, race and zip code.

What wouldn’t look very different to that time traveler? How Washington talks about the economy. Tired and partisan rhetoric that boils down the entire economy into sound bites and ideological entrenchment designed to make Americans feel you are either “with us or against us.”

But set foot in a small business on Main Street or a factory floor and that outdated tension fades leaving a highly-productive economy leading the world in innovation and across so many industries. Our economy remains the free market beacon to the world.

To deal with the economic challenges this century will present us, we have to renew our language to even discuss these issues. We have to get out into the economy to see what’s working and what isn’t and bring that reality back to Washington. We have to reconnect our policymakers with our ever-modernizing economy.

That’s exactly what the Modern Economy Project is all about. We are fiercely bipartisan believing that both major parties can benefit from more data to guide their policies. Our members are leading, diverse organizations that work together to break the silos of policymaking that have limited our imaginations for too long.

Instead of rehashing outdated talking points or attacking blindly anyone with a different opinion, we believe in listening, consensus building, and in getting results that build a modern, inclusive economy. Together, we can protect America’s position as a global leader, while ensuring no hardworking American gets left behind.

We’ve focused our work in the areas we think are critical to the modern economy: jobs, employers, and government.

We’ll discuss and research important questions like what is a good job and how can we make more of them? How can we ensure a pipeline of entrepreneurship for those who seek it? How can we better leverage the existing resources created to support employers and their workers? And then we’ll take those findings and share them across our coalition to coalesce around and advocate for meaningful reforms.

But none of this works if government is too outdated to measure, react, or uplift critical parts of our economy and ensure benefits are realized by all. We’ll be talking about that too.

How will we do this? By tackling our second priority: building deeper relationships with those in Washington dedicated to these ideals. We’ll be convening groups socially to talk about critical issues and share what we are learning through our research.

We’ll be heading to Capitol Hill as a group to share our common vision but diverse experience. We hope to be a one-stop shop for policymakers who want ideas about how to strengthen and sustain the modern economy.

We’ve set out on an ambitious journey to reset the conversation on how we view the future of our economy. We do this at a time when political indicators suggest we cannot come together to the benefit of the American people. We think we can change that, and we hope you’ll join us.

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