Even with improved jobs numbers last week, we are still in a situation where it will take years to get back to what Americans recognize as full employment. The unemployment rate hit 9.9% in April, but including those who have stopped looking for work, the rate is about 17%.
The good news is, close to a million workers are trying to rejoin the workforce and are looking for work. The bad news is it will take years to get back to full employment at this rate. It reminds me of those new credit card statements, the ones that say, “If you pay the minimum, you will take 30 years to pay off this account.” If we keep creating jobs at this rate, it could take us years to get back to full employment.
My concern is not the boomers who have spent their life working. My concern is those entering the workforce or who are in the beginning of their work life. They will have the experience of an unsettled work-search experience.
More importantly, this administration’s policies are not encouraging job growth. Over 70% of all the new jobs in the last generation have been created by small businesses, but small-business job creation is now being shut down. The President is wrong when he says the credit crunch has made it difficult for businesses to borrow money for their monthly expenses. A business that borrows for basic expenses is a business that won’t be in business long. The credit crunch has squelched the creativity that creates jobs and starts businesses.
We currently have a culture of uncertainty. There is uncertainty about tax burdens, uncertainty about spending restraints, uncertainty about the size and scope and regulation by government. The expanding public sector is stifling creativity in job creation. If you want to see where we are heading, take a look at Greece and Spain, where they are rioting over public benefits and the size of government. Take a look at Germany, where the people are saying, “We will not be the bank of the EU.”
We are repeating the mistakes of the New Deal by thinking we aren’t throwing enough money at this problem. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. If you haven’t read Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man, you should. It explains the truth about the Great Depression. The Obama Administration’s answer is “more.” More spending, more taxes, more regulation is not the way to create jobs in America. So let’s get to the table and put together a policy that will create jobs.
First, balance the budget. Don’t spend more than we take in. Zero out any unspent stimulus funds and use the repaid TARP money to pay down the deficit. Do what we did from 1995 to 2000 and balance the budget. This Congress, with the largest majority in years, says they can’t pass a budget. As Lady Bird Johnson often said, “That’s crazy talk!”
Then take the advice of Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Louis Gohmert and give payroll tax holidays to all workers for a period of 3 to 6 months. This would put cash back in the pocket of every working American and help job creation. Give incentives to small businesses and eliminate capital gains taxes. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified in the 1990s that this was the best policy for economic growth. We also need to reduce the business tax rate because businesses do not pay taxes; they pass them on as a cost of doing business. These changes along with the permanent elimination of the death tax would create many new small business jobs. Then let’s get to the table and replace the current tax code with a 21st Century tax policy. I’m a FairTax supporter, but I’d be happy with a real debate.
Finally, we must have an energy plan that creates jobs in America and is an “all in” strategy for energy independence. Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions says, “Developing more American energy while protecting the environment would mean the creation of millions of new American jobs and the generation of billions of dollars in new federal tax revenues, largely without the need for any new federal spending.” We need to be all in on oil, natural gas, oil shale, nuclear and clean coal while looking for answers for the electric grid, new energy sources and alternatives. Finally, like medical malpractice, we have to eliminate the fear of litigation.
My father said, “If a man has a job, everything looks good to him.” He wasn’t a very educated man, but he was very wise one. It’s simple, make government smaller, balance the budget and be good steward of the people’s money and leave the rest to us. That will create jobs as it has throughout our history.
When the pendulum swings away from the free market, we have high unemployment. Unleash the creativity of the private sector and we maintain low unemployment. It’s that simple. Maybe if the President had a few more folks working for him who actually have created a few jobs in their careers, he might get it.