Over at The American Spectator, I break down the debate over regulation’s impact on the job market and propose one regulation that could create countless jobs:
As everyone knows, winter is coming. And many of the nation’s least-employed states will see a lot of snow this year. Already, giant snowplows are beginning to traverse the highways and byways of Michigan, Ohio, and other states going through hard times. With these plows, one man can do the work of a hundred.
I say we ban snowplows and hand out some shovels.
Think about it for a minute. In Michigan alone, nearly 520,000 people are looking for a job and can’t find one. Tens of thousands of miles of roads zig and zag across the state. If this winter lives up to lofty Midwestern standards, it’s possible that every last one of those 520,000 could work at least part time clearing the way for their fellow citizens. And all because of regulation!
I do enjoy economic humor. Read the whole thing here.
Over at RealClearMarkets.c0m, my colleague Ryan Radia offer some ideas for how to create more high-tech jobs. Our main points:
-Do more with less. This often involves cutting workers who aren’t productive enough to offset their wages. Sounds like bad news. But it’s actually crucial to job creation. That’s because in the long run, automation frees up resources — and employees — for new opportunities.
-Hiring new employees means jumping through countless regulatory hoops. According to a 2005 study by economist W. Mark Crain, compliance costs average $5,282 per employee at large companies. Small businesses pay $7,647 per employee. Some of those resources could have been spent hiring more employees. Over-regulation causes unemployment.
-Politicians can’t create jobs. But they can help to foster better conditions for wealth and job creation. Regulations cost businesses and consumers $1.17 trillion last year alone. Congress should roll them back. Some companies fear potential clampdowns on their businesses. Congress should leave them alone. Some failing businesses are eating up resources that could be better used elsewhere. Congress should stop bailing them out.
Posted in Business Cycles, Economics, regulation, Technology
Tagged creating jobs, deregulate to stimulate, deregulation, economic liberalization, employment, high tech jobs, job creation, jobs, realclearmarkets, realclearmarkets.com, regulation
The Senate just passed an $18 billion spending bill. Since the House already passed it, the legislation is now headed to President Obama’s desk to await his signature and become law.
The hope is that the spending will create jobs. If you’re reading this blog, then you probably know enough about economics to know that isn’t what will actually happen. Remember: anything that Washington giveth, it must first taketh away from somewhere else. It’s a zero-sum game. All those new jobs that politicians will be touting for the cameras will have come at the expense of other jobs elsewhere. On net, they’re not creating a thing.
Take the payroll tax break for small businesses that’s in the bill. Yes, those small businesses benefit. Maybe the money they save will even be used to hire more workers. That’s easy enough to see. But that money had to come from somewhere. That is harder to see. Too hard for the Senate to see, at the very least.
The reason is this: the government is foregoing some payroll tax revenue. But since it isn’t cutting spending to match, it has to borrow more. And there’s only so much investment capital to go around. Because Washington is borrowing more, less is left over for private investment opportunities. At the very least, companies will have to offer investors higher interest rates to lure them away from government bonds.
That makes getting loans more expensive. And when something gets more expensive, there tends to be less of it. Because of today’s bill, about $18 billion less capital will be available for the private sector to create jobs.
The legislation the Senate passed today is no jobs bill, at least on net. It is a spending bill. It doesn’t create jobs, it only redirects them.
Posted in Economics, Spending, Stimulus
Tagged barack obama, billions, creating jobs, Economics, jobs, jobs bill, jobs saved or created, obama, overspending, president barack obama, president obama, profligate spending, senate, spending, Stimulus, unemployment, us senate
Here is a letter I sent recently to The New York Times:
February 17, 2010
Editor, The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
To the Editor:
Michael Cooper’s article, “Stimulus Jobs on State’s Bill in Mississippi” (February 16, page A1), lists several people who have directly benefited from the stimulus package.
The article names none of the roughly 300 million people directly hurt by that same stimulus package. The money that pays for Roshonda Bolton’s factory job was taken away from other people. They would have spent that money in other job-creating ways.
The stimulus doesn’t actually create jobs. It rearranges them. The best possible result is no net effect. Stories touting jobs saved or created by government are at best incomplete.
Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Posted in Correspondence, Economics, Stimulus
Tagged bastiat broken window, bastiat broken window fallacy, broken window, broken window fallacy, creating jobs, econ 101, Economics, economics 101, economy, jobs, mississippi, new york times, roshanda bolton, saving jobs, Stimulus, the new york times, unemployment