Hicks: Blame critiques of capitalism on state and local politics

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The poll says 57% of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, compared to 47% for capitalism. Wochit, Wochit

Anti-capitalist feelings in the United States are enjoying a brief moment in the sun these days.

Surveys of young people report that support for socialism is on the rise, and we can even hear some apparently wistful musings about communism from the shallow end of the public debate pool.

Given that the only coherent national spokesman for socialism is a millionaire with three homes, it’s pretty clear this is not yet serious stuff. However, we would still be wise to take seriously the economic worries of young people.

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I for one think there is reason to share some of their concerns about the workings of our market economy, and I believe much of the problem is at the state and local level.

Today’s labor markets offer jobs for everyone who wants one, and even the grimmest local economies have abundant employment options for young people. Still, the Hoosier economy has not created a single net new job for folks with a high school diploma since 1998, and wages in many occupations are stagnant.

To make a life, young people need education, yet funding and focus on that is surprisingly challenging. Our economy offers support and opportunity for the quarter of kids graduating from a four-year college, but what about everyone else?

Indiana’s community college system continues to struggle with little more than one in 10 Ivy Tech attendees ever receiving a degree. Young people turning to our workforce development system will find it focused wholly on supplying workers to businesses rather than offering a resource for career-minded adults.

Once in the workplace, new employees will find their labor heavily taxed by payroll and income taxes, which exceed 20 percent on even low-wage workers.

We tax labor heavily, but what about capital?

Buyers of business capital in Indiana can fully depreciate the value…

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