Saturday, February 20, 2010

Something I Just Don't Get It

I got an email from "The White House" the other day. No, I am not on a first name basis with the President, I am just one of several million on their email list that get regular missives trying to get support for the administrations positions and initiatives. This particular one was from Vice President Joe Biden trying to say how successful the stimulus bill has been working. He had some facts and figures to show that the initiative has been successful creating jobs, growing the economy and helping small businesses. The figures were pretty impressive, that is until you looked closely.

For example, to support his claim that the bill has created jobs he said they have created 2 million jobs as a direct result of the stimulus package. That is a pretty impressive number. The problem is that we were losing as many as 700,000 jobs a month and by the end of the year we had lost 8 million. Now I am not a professional mathematician but it looks to me that in the year since the bill passed we did not gain 2 million jobs, we lost 6 million jobs.

But that isn't even the worst part. The worst part is one they never mention. The jobs that have been lost, or shipped over-seas, are jobs that people have held for years. They have developed job knowledge and skills for those jobs. Going out and creating new jobs (especially the "green jobs") means that many of those people will need to start from scratch again, accepting entry level positions and much lower pay. To add insult to injury, they will have to learn job skills all over.

This aspect of the jobs problem is one that makes the "recovery" harder and is something that no one has tried to address, or even acknowledge. This is a problem, however, that can be solved, and solved fairly easily if they wanted too. First, bring those jobs back from overseas. You do that by taxing the hell out of companies that send jobs overseas and by increasing taxes on things manufactured outside the US, especially by American owned companies. This worked pretty well with the automotive industry bringing plants into the US to make cars like Toyota and Honda and discouraging GM from having Chevy engines made in Japan. That was after the unions put their foot down.

Next, make it profitable for business to go back to manufacturing in the United States again. You do that by reducing payroll and business taxes (I think they should even put a moratorium on federal payroll taxes for small businesses for at least 2 years). They must also reduce the strict and expensive reporting and compliance regulations. Don't misunderstand, I am not opposed to careful government regulation to protect the public health and safety. There are, however, a huge number of regulations that make it hard for businesses, especially small businesses, and many of these can be reduced, suspended or eliminated.

I am no genius and I am not the only person that sees these things. These are fairly obvious and I am sure a great many of our politicians have considered these very ideas. What I don't get is why people as smart and as dedicated to recovery as the administration claims to be, does not even want to discuss these things.

Our economy just isn't going to recover until people are not only back to work, but are back working in secure, full time and decently paid jobs. That is not 'rocket science' -that is just common sense. It is time for our politicians, from all parties, to face these facts and fix them.

We Americans are fairly laid-back when it comes to the government. We spend years letting the politicians run things pretty much as they want to and getting away with a lot, but when they become abusive and greedy, when they stop listening to us completely, we get pretty angry. Americans may be too laid-back, too easy going and sometimes way too tolerant, but they aren't stupid. They will only accept so much empty rhetoric, broken promises and failure. So, something I just don't get it is why so many of the professional politicians think they can ignore us or think they can continue to fail to address the problems. I have a feeling, and a hope, that many of them will be needing to learn new job skills come election time.

The message is simple: Do The Jobs You Have Been Elected To Do - Or Go!

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