May 1, 2012

Cover Story

30 Women to Watch

In Utah, women are natural and effective leaders. Utah women are creative ...Read More

Featured Articles

Around Utah

Robert Bowen: Steering a Course for Continued Success

Sections

Spotlight
Katy Welkie: Working with Care

Special Section
Building Utah

Editor's Note
Closing the Achievement Gap

Features
In the Loop

Features
Balancing Act

Industry Outlook
Commercial Real Estate

Special Report
Think Big

Legal Briefs
The America Invents Act

Money Talk
Emerging Market Equities

Economic Insight
A Forgotten Virtue

Lessons Learned
The Soft Sell

TechKnowledge
Launch Pad

EntrepreneurEdge
Build Out

Business Trends
Trading Up

Executive Living
Extreme Utah

Players
Players

Article

A Forgotten Virtue

Unity Makes Good Economic Policy

Natalie Gochnour

May 1, 2012

Just before penning this column, I took an afternoon run with my dog in Murray Park and received confirmation that spring is in full swing. I saw seven egg-size baby ducklings swimming with their mother in Little Cottonwood Creek. It’s a Kodak moment that I look forward to every year because it symbolizes renewal. Whether it’s ducks in a pond or economic recovery, we all love a bright new day.

Next month will mark the third anniversary of the end of the Great Recession. According to our country’s business-cycle dating experts (the National Bureau of Economic Research) the U.S. economic expansion ended in June 2009, even though it’s been a bumpy ride. Utah’s economy excels beyond national norms, but in both the Utah and national economies unemployment remains unacceptably high, wage growth too modest and housing too stymied. Economic life just ain’t what it used to be.

Full economic recovery has been slow for myriad reasons, many outside of our control. Rising commodity prices, debt struggles overseas, conflict in the Middle East and natural disasters have all deterred our return to full economic potential.

But there has been another reason… dare I say… and that is disjointed and clumsy economic leadership that fails to unify us behind common goals. Tax policy by the month, brinkmanship on the debt ceiling, an unpopular and anti-business healthcare law and failure to move important national priorities like energy, immigration and others forward have created economic ambiguity, indecision and insecurity. Uncertainty prevails, while unity is a forgotten virtue that holds the key to our economic renewal.

I join a cadre of economists and thought leaders who are calling for greater economic unity as America seeks to regain its economic leadership in the world.

The first pitch for unity that caught my attention was a thoughtful book by Peggy Noonan called Patriotic Grace. Noonan imparts an urgent, heartfelt call for Americans to unite and address the problems of our day. She writes, “The partisan gamesmanship, the focus-group cynicism, the base-playing: There’s only one base now, and it is our country.”

She says we need a post-partisan spirit that eschews the politically cheap and recognizes that division is not worthy of this time. It’s something she calls “patriotic grace.” Her book reminded me that properly placed patriotism would be a big boost to our economy.

Another bit of inspiration came from a 1952 campaign speech about the nature of patriotism by Adlai Stevenson. He defined patriotism as a national responsibility. He said we should, “Walk with it [patriotism] in serenity and wisdom, with self-respect and the respect to all mankind; a patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

Love of country as a steady dedication of a lifetime … I like the sound of that. It means to put the public interest first and always. Unity helps us do that. But what do we unify to accomplish?

Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum in their book, That Used To Be Us, argue for collective action on a large scale. They describe a formula for prosperity that includes five pillars—improving public education, modernizing infrastructure, supporting R&D, fixing immigration and implementing more sensible regulations. These pillars are a great starting point. We need the leadership and unity that will get the job done.

I’m ready for the economic renewal that can come from great leadership, properly placed patriotism and unity for the common good.

Natalie Gochnour is the chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber.

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
SAMY Awards 2015Utah Business Event
Jan 23, 2015
Utah Business magazine along with Presenting Sponsor: Griffin Hill, Premier Sponsors: The Summit ...
Forty Under 40 - 2015Utah Business Event
Feb 26, 2015
Utah Business Magazine along with Presenting Sponsors: Kirton McConkie, BIG-D Construction and Ma...
CEO of the Year 2015 ... NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN!Utah Business Event
Mar 31, 2015
CEO of the Year Nominations end - January 7, 2015. Visit: www.utahbusiness.com/nomination_item...
Community Events View All
Create Success: Intellectual Property Protection for Growth Technology Companies
Dec 31, 2015
This is a presentation by Michael Best, a major national leader in the commercialization of Intel...
Inbound Marketing SLC: Focus on Ecommerce
Dec 31, 2015
Come learn from four ecommerce experts how to grow your business through inbound marketing. Regis...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel