Invest in opportunities that allow each person to be productive, particularly education. Invest in the improving the emotional health of people, by encouraging the development of their artistic and spiritual abilities. People forget there are two environments that exist in life. One is the physical environment defined by wealth that politicians so often wish to declare war on, and the other is the emotional environment that is affected by the emotional and spiritual self that politicians ignore. Even in poverty, children do well when provided a sound emotional environment. Even wealth cannot overcome an emotional environment lacking a sound foundation. Our failure to understand the relevance of these two environments (physical and emotional) and their importance to life has prevented us from making the proper investments needed to optimize our chances for enhancing opportunities that encourage the greatest returns to our society. Investing in individual opportunity allows each person the chance to reach their full potential -- it does not guarantee they will. Individual wealth should always be defined by drive and ambition, productivity and social contributions, not social or economic exploitation or prior achievements alone. Investing in these opportunities merely provides each with the tools needed to succeed. While no society should ignore its obligation to help those truly in need, neither should society encourage neediness, but rather independence.
Meanwhile, government should also invest or encourage business and academic research and productivity. The goal of any productive, vibrant society is greater productivity and efficiency as society grows. Currently, we punish success with higher taxes and we reward inefficiency and waste with tax incentives and tax cuts or rebates. Those who receive tax incentives are often those industries that never produced anything, and tax breaks are often given to those industries that are less productive and efficient. This encourages industries to believe political connections can and should be used to bolster poor managerial ability. We also fail to punish those who exploit and game the financial business sector, even providing them help when their exploitation eventually results in financial ruin. It makes far more sense to reward investments in research that at least have the potential to yield improved products, improved technology and/or improved systems that enhance our quality of life. We should not reward, but severely punish non-productive and exploitive practices in business with excessive taxes that serve as a strong disincentive to those efforts. Is it not more reasonable to support business expansion of productive and successful industries rather than to encourage this for failing industries and businesses that are unproductive and/or exploitive? The later prevents the efficient shift of resources in our economy from less productive, less efficient and exploitive businesses to more productive and more efficient industries that might replace them.
Everyone (individuals and industry) deserves a chance, but the greatest help should be provided to those who are most competent, not those who are the least competent and able. American values dictate the best should rise to the top and the worst should settle to the bottom where their abilities and effort define their relative rewards. Any system of government that discourages this from happening efficiently encourages incompetence, waste, greed and inefficiency to flourish like a cancerous growth that feeds upon our society and slowly robs it of its vitality.