Gabelli100 | Apr 21, 2021 | Gabelli School of Business
What Would President Lincoln do in the 21st Century?
Early in U.S. history, federal funding of public infrastructure was deemed unconstitutional. Railroads, canals, and bridges were few and far between until President Abraham Lincoln had a vision that would not only bolster the economy by widening travel, but also allow every American citizen the chance to “climb the economic ladder” post-emancipation.
Centuries later, Lincoln’s policies remain a touchstone and even the basis for some of America’s most foundational laws, according to John Wasik, author of Lincolnomics: How President Lincoln Constructed the Great American Economy. He shed light on understudied parts of Lincoln’s career in a Gabelli School Virtual Centennial Speaker Series event sponsored by the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis, the CFA Society of New York, and the Museum of American Finance.
Had his presidency not been cut short, Wasik believes that the “innovator in chief” would have pushed technology and equality as fundamentals in progressing the United States. Today, in the face of the climate crisis, inequality, and disparities in healthcare and education, he considers the question: What would Lincoln do?
“There’s a whole raft of things that I think Lincoln would have fundamentally addressed,” Wasik said. “It really speaks to his sense of fairness and the idea that equality is truly based on your ability to take advantage of an opportunity.”