Almost to a rule, the speakers presented specific ideas instead of partisan talking points. But two speakers stood out: right-leaning economist Michael Strain and longtime Democratic hand Leon Panetta.
Strain, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, offered pragmatic ideas to boost economic growth. He lamented the current conservative antipathy towards immigration, and suggested that high-skilled workers should be welcomed into America's economic fabric.
Strain called for a long term approach to investing in and reforming K-12 education reform, and for skills-focused training after high school. These skills courses, Strain said, should be advanced enough to add significant value to individual productivity, but shorter and cheaper than college degrees. Expanding on this skills-based principle, Strain suggested that "workplace apprenticeships" offered a way for Americans to learn basic "best practices" and "how to scale that up" in whatever business endeavors they pursue thereafter.
He concluded with a hint of optimism, arguing that there are "ideas sitting on the table waiting to be tried," but that political leadership is a prerequisite.Read more at The Washington Examiner