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Empowering the New American Worker

Empowering the New American Worker

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Empowering the New American Worker identifies what Cato scholars believe to be the most important market-oriented policies for today’s American worker, covering a broad array of issues including education, housing, remote work, health care, criminal justice, and licensing.

Since at least 2016, policymakers on both the right and the left have lamented the plight of the American worker and promised to fix it. Unfortunately, the most common “pro-worker” policies today—heavy on government intervention in labor, trade, or other markets—suffer from critical flaws. They overlook the numerous laws and regulations that distort markets, harm American workers, and breed economic sclerosis. Instead of promoting a certain kind of job, promising cradle-to-grave protection from disruption, or presuming that the employment and lifestyle trends of today will last beyond tomorrow, policymakers should seek to maximize Americans’ autonomy, mobility, and living standards.

Each chapter of Empowering the New American Worker identifies the problems facing American workers and suggests pro-market ways for federal, state, and local officials to better address these challenges. These policies will give individuals the freedom and resources they need to be the American worker they want to be—not the one many policymakers think they should be—and to be happier and more prosperous in the process.