“CREATING JOBS IS TOP PRIORITY” – ANOTHER POLITICAL JARGON
There’s another gnat that has buzzed around the campaign trails lately. It is usually some form of “creating jobs for the American people.” This political jargon is accompanied with some staged events. For starters, a stop at the local diner is a sure way to communicate a down home image. Next, there are plenty of handshakes, autographs and promises to fight for our jobs. Finally, the stump speech is spiced up with a few stories of out of work families and some vague plan to “put America back to work.” The image we have is of a sleeves-rolled politician ready to crank out jobs.
Is all that really true? Here are a couple of problems with this gnat. First, what is the true role of government? Government exists to protect life, liberty and property of its people. It punishes those who infringe upon the rights of others and gains restitution for the victims. It defends against foreign and domestic threats. It takes care of those who are really in need. It oversees environment protection, patent protection, product safety, fair business transactions, transportation systems and other interests that protect and enhance our standard of living. As the Declaration of Independence clearly states: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.” In other words, job production was never part of the job description of the Government.
Second, can Government create jobs? Employers create jobs not Government. When there is a demand for a product, employers put up a “now hiring” sign. This is backwards with the Government-created jobs program. It puts up a “now hiring” sign and then looks for some artificial demand to justify it. Recently, there has grown talks of targeted stimulus towards infrastructure repairs, clean energy and education. Where will the Government find money to pay these new employees? Unlike the private sector employer who withdraws from his savings to pay his employees, the Government digs into our wallet when it is time to write the paycheck. When the money runs out, the only available option is to raise the taxes on the “rich” (a.k.a. the private sector employers). What is the natural recourse for these employers? Cut backs. In the final analysis, the Government destroys jobs and not creates them. Furthermore, Government-created jobs have no clear accountability or bottom line. Projects can drag on for decades with an endless supply of tax payer dollars.
Third, what role can the Government play in our job crisis? To start with, the Government needs to stop taking ownership of the private sector. In 2009, the Government took some unprecedented steps to acquire near controlling interest in the nation’s banks and auto industry. The following year, the Congress passed legislation that will put a significant part of the nation’s healthcare under Government control. As a result, the American economy will be largely owned by the Government and not by businesses or shareholders. Such actions will eventually stamp out any prospect of business and job growth in our nation. Instead, the Government should make every effort to create a business friendly environment in our nation. Unnecessary mandates, which lead to higher cost of labor and hold back the supply, should be removed. Employers should not be threatened with tax increases which only lead to a protective mode and further job cuts. President Calvin Coolidge understood that unnecessary Government interference in the flow of society will only lead to economic stagnation. He was known for taking a mid-afternoon nap daily. When he awoke, he would remark jokingly, “Is the country still here?” Those were the days of great financial growth in our nation.
As Reagan remarked on several occasions, “The most dangerous words in the English language were: ‘Hi, I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” It’s time we swat that gnat.