The president of the United States, Donald Trump, will touch down in Utah midmorning Monday to announce reductions in the size of both the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
While Utah is by no means a utopia, we hope Trump can garner lessons from the Beehive State’s successes to assist his administration back in Washington. Even as Utah faces challenges — from opioids and homelessness to education and air quality — the state has nonetheless benefited from a robust economy, strong upward mobility and a quality of life that’s the envy of many across the nation. The following proven principles have helped propel the state's success. Washington would do well to take note:
Utah is not immune to negative campaigning or political corruption, but the state has rightly received credit in recent years for its ability to broker bipartisan compromise on important issues, including balancing religious freedom and nondiscrimination, finding common ground on immigration and working cooperatively to achieve long-term regional economic development. The initiatives — namely the Utah Compromise, the Utah Compact and ongoing collaborative efforts among 90 municipalities on the Wasatch Front to outline land-use and transportation strategies — have brought diverging political interests together in a way that sustains the communal and economic health of the state.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks Utah fourth in the nation in fiscal health. Utah, the report notes, “has between 4.05 and 10.07 times the cash needed to cover short-term obligations.” In addition to analyzing whether the state has enough cash to cover short-term liabilities, the ranking draws on data that look at whether the state’s revenues match its budget and whether the state is well situated to pay its long-term debts, even in light of potential economic downturns. Washington would be wise to follow the fiscally responsible example of Utah.
Family and faith
Utah has one of the youngest populations in the nation and one of the highest rates of children living with both their parents. These factors, according to reporting by Megan McArdle in Bloomberg earlier this year, have likely contributed to higher rates of upward mobility along the Wasatch Front. With robust religious participation in the state, Utah also has one of the highest rates of volunteerism and charitable giving. This in turn sustains many additional social safety net services that complement government.
The foregoing principles are vital to the success of any community. We hope that Trump can learn from the Beehive State as his administration strives to improve the quality of life for all Americans.