This Friday will mark the release of the May unemployment report. A
report that will reflect the last effects of the Obama trillion-dollar
stimulus and of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE2).
The report is likely to show that job creation is mediocre at best, with unemployment insurance claims continuing well above the 400,000 weekly level, housing in a double-dip recession and the gross domestic product contracting to a paltry 1.8 percent growth rate for the second quarter of 2011.
The situation is so dire on the economic growth front that The New York Times has awoken from its slumber to opine, in a May 30 piece titled “The Numbers Are Grim,” that:
“Republican lawmakers have responded to renewed signs of weakness with a jobs plan that prescribes more of the same 'fixes' that Republicans always recommend no matter the problem: mainly high-end tax cuts, deregulation, more domestic oil drilling and federal spending cuts.
"The White House has offered sounder ideas, including job retraining, plans to boost educational achievement and tax increases to help cover needed spending.”
In just a few lines, the Times managed to encapsulate the left’s complete lack of understanding of why jobs are created.
To be clear, jobs get created in private enterprise when additional labor is required to produce goods or services that will increase the profit of the enterprise.
Jobs don’t get created:
A: because people are trained to do them.
B: because people have higher educational attainment.
C: by raising taxes on those who we hope will create the jobs.
So why aren’t private employers employing more people? Perhaps this real-life example will help shine a light.
In Alaska, one of the most significant finds of copper, gold and molybdenum (hardens steel) in U.S. history was discovered. Yet almost a decade later — and more than $125 million of environmental and cultural studies later — the Pebble Mine is still being subjected to Environmental Protection Agency review. A review that is at best likely to demand that tens of millions more dollars be spent for additional studies encompassing an area roughly equal to the states of Maryland and New Jersey combined. All to open one mine and put 2,000 miners to work.
To make matters worse, the ore won’t be processed in the U.S., because our domestic copper smelting capacity has been cut by about 60 percent in the past 20 years. More jobs lost largely on the altar of environmental regulation.
This is just one of myriad examples of how our nation’s obsession with litigation and environmental regulation has turned us into a place where employers cannot afford to create jobs. It is cheaper and more profitable to do it elsewhere.
As we approach this Friday’s unemployment report, our leaders are already telling us that 9 percent unemployment might be the “new normal.” It will be interesting to see if the real story that America’s failure to create jobs is largely a self-inflicted choice by a college-educated elite who would rather consign millions of Americans to government dependency rather than get out of the way and allow them to work.
Somehow, I don’t think so.
Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government.