See PART 1
The American economy created zero net jobs in August 2011, the worst monthly reporting since last September. The government lost jobs while the private economy created jobs and the two canceled one another out.
The small government enthusiasts will likely key in on the drop in government employment as a good thing. What they ignore is that regardless of who your employer is we are still one America. If the government sheds jobs, those are a net loss for the economy unless every one of them is picked up by some private program waiting in the wings. We all eagerly await what the free market has in store for educators, law enforcement, regulators, and the fine people who clock in every day at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Government payrolls fell by 17,000 at the same time that non-government payrolls rose by 17,000. The government lost jobs because it was forced to do so by the so-called “conservatives” who are trying to take over a sinking ship in our nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, the much beloved private economy failed yet again to provide any boost to growth.
Corporations have lower taxes today than at any point in modern American history, the richest individuals have lower taxes today than at any point in modern American history, and still no jobs. Obviously, lowering taxes is not the solution to spur the economy.
Some have argued that businesses would start hiring again if only we got rid of the regulations that stand in their way.
What regulations should we get rid of?
Should we repeal the Clean Air Act so our skies can be covered by beautiful profitable smog?
Should we allow oil companies to sully our beaches so they can access more oil while not actually lowering energy prices? The number of operational oil drilling rigs in the United States has quintupled in the last ten years and prices keep going up regardless. It is almost as if American production no longer drives global prices (and has been unable to do so since peaking more than 40 years ago).
The jobs do not come when we lower taxes. They fail to materialize when we decrease regulation.
Even if deregulation could create jobs, who would want to live in such a world? The Industrial Revolution was the peak of unregulated capitalism, and no rational person wants to go back to the days of child mine labor, strike breakers, and “death fogs.” In the last sixty years alone death fogs killed thousands of people around the world in highly developed First World metropolises. (see: here and here)
The first obstacle to growth is the sheer insanity of politics in Washington today. Our elected officials treat the American government as one would expect a sociopath or a spoiled child to. President Obama placates his base with lofty speeches, and then turns to his incredibly wealthy corporate friends with kid gloves. The Republicans talk about bringing on an American revival but they do so while promoting plans that are unabashed proven failures.
Neither side is taking on the real issues facing this economy and the market for workable solutions is virtually empty. This country needs to work toward balanced trade and it requires a federal mandate to accomplish the task. The free market was already asked politely to keep jobs and production here – it simply accelerated outsourcing.
This country needs strong domestic procurement laws for all government spending. If the government is going to put steel reinforcements in the pavement as it refurbishes crumbling highways, that steel must be made in America by American workers and an American-owned company.
Next, this country needs a real stimulus that is sizable enough to create and sustain a recovery. No more blanket tax rebates – 84 percent of the $100 billion in tax rebates in 2009 were simply put into bank accounts before being spent on consumer goods, 70 percent of which are imported anyway.
The Republicans will surely throw up their arms in protest at the cost of another stimulus. It is time they focused on the cost of doing nothing – the current modus operandi. For example, the cost of rebuilding the economy to consume less imported oil, and oil in general, is great. But that cost pales in comparison to the cost of subsisting on toxic and largely imported energy
The private economy cannot support the entire American recovery on its own. If the August jobs report (combined with reports for the last three years) are any indication the private economy cannot support the recovery at all on its own. The government must have the courage and fortitude to act.