Throughout our history, the promise of work has held our country together – the promise that anyone willing to work hard and play by the rules should have the chance to go as far as their ability and drive will take them. But for millions of hard-working Americans, our economy no longer seems to live up to that promise – and our political system too often seems to let them down.
The Future of Work Initiative, along with Sen. Mark Warner and Purdue President Mitch Daniels, have crisscrossed the country over the last year to ask entrepreneurs, workers, thinkers, and civic leaders how to make capitalism work for the American worker and ensure everyone has a stake in America’s success.
These two documents are the culmination of that work. “The Promise of Opportunity and the Future of Work,” which is posted separately, describes how technology and global competition have modernized the American economy in many positive ways, but that some changes have also made it harder for Americans to find jobs with the wages, benefits, and skills training to get ahead.
“A Policy Agenda to Restore the Promise of Work,” which can be found on this page, offers a set of ideas to meet the challenge. It recognizes that policymakers have often responded to the aforementioned trends with regulations meant to protect employees, but this approach can drive up costs and encourage businesses to rely more heavily on contract and contingent work, which in turn provides even less security to workers.
This agenda provides an alternate approach, one that restores the promise of work without stifling innovation. This report doesn’t have all the answers, but is intended to start a conversation across sectors and parties about how we can come together to address these common challenges. No one stakeholder will love every proposal – but a new bargain must be built on the promise of collaboration, shared purpose, and the courage to be bold.