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Want More Jobs? The Ideas Are Out There

June 7, 2011 — Investor’s Business Daily — Editorial   Bookmark and Share

Employment: The latest talking points from the Democrats on the slumping economy and jobs recession go like this: Gee, we've tried everything, but nothing works — and Republicans haven't put forward any ideas at all.

This was on full display Monday when former White House aide David Axelrod, carrying water for the administration, said Republicans should stop "yammering" about President Obama's pathetic jobs record and come up with their own plan.

"Yammering"? The GOP has two good, workable plans already put forward — Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to restore fiscal balance to our nation, and another by House Speaker John Boehner to revive jobs growth.

Clearly, Democrats in the White House and Congress haven't tried everything, contrary to their assertions. They've focused on old Keynesian tricks like more spending, higher debt and higher taxes on entrepreneurs. Things that have never worked and never will.

To help Axelrod and other economically benighted left-wing pundits, we've made a list of things to do right now — virtually overnight — to get jobs growing again.

  • U.S. businesses face the highest tax rates in the industrial world. The corporate rate today is 34%, well above the 27% average for other rich nations. Meanwhile, Obama threatens to raise taxes on the "rich" to as high as 40% — a de facto tax on entrepreneurs. As the House GOP suggests, cut the top business tax rate to 25% and they'll grow, hire and compete again.
  • Keep capital gains tax rates low. Democrats threatened to raise the tax on capital gains by a third — from 15% to 20%. Bad idea. This would kill investment and millions of jobs. Making the cap-gains rate permanent — or better yet, zeroing it out — would create a flood of new investment and millions of jobs to go with it. We've been this way before — Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and even Clinton signed cap-gains cuts during their time in office. Two were Democrats. And each time the economy boomed.
  • Stop harassing U.S. champions, like Boeing. The National Labor Relations Board wants to stop Boeing, the world's most successful plane maker, from building planes in South Carolina. Why? It wouldn't use union workers there.

But unions have become an albatross for many former industrial states, which is why there are already 22 right-to-work states, where workers can't be forced to join a union or pay dues to one. From 1999 to 2009, those states added 1.5 million private-sector jobs for an increase of 3.7%; states without right-to-work lost 1.8 million, a decrease of 2.3%.

  • Pass free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which have already been negotiated and await votes in Congress. This would create at least 250,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • End senseless regulation. The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulations impose $1.75 trillion in costs on the economy — or about 12% of GDP. Today there are 4,225 regulations "in the pipeline." Overall, these cost U.S. companies $8,086 per employee. At a minimum, those regulations that cost more than their real benefit should be ended — saving hundreds of billions for U.S. businesses.
  • Keep defense strong. Cranking up the U.S. arsenal of democracy — we face real threats from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran — will have economic benefits, too. A 2007 study by University of Massachusetts researchers Heidi Garrett-Peltier and Robert Pollin found that each $1 billion invested in defense spending created 8,555 jobs. That's real shovel-ready stimulus.
  • Drill, baby, drill. Yes, it's a cliche. But massive new shale oil and gas finds in Texas, the Northeast's Marcellus formation and the Far West's Bakken field would cut energy prices, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and boost our energy independence.

In the Marcellus shale region alone, some 48,000 new jobs were created over the last 18 months, mostly in hard-pressed Pennsylvania. Ending the drilling ban on offshore oil would likewise unlock at least 180 billion barrels of oil, creating hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs — the kind now missing from our "green" economy.

  • Stop harmful climate change initiatives. Measures such as cap-and-trade and onerous new burdens on the coal industry will have an enormous impact on the economy and jobs.

The White House wants to slash output of CO2 emissions. But according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's own forecast, a proposed 70% cut in CO2 will cause gasoline prices to soar 77% above current forecasts, kill more than 3 million jobs and slice average household income by more than $4,000 a year over 10 years.

  • End ObamaCare. Its estimated cost of $1 trillion is bad enough, but it will create a shortage of doctors and nurses and destroy medical and drug innovation, decimating employment in the device and pharmaceutical industries. Worse, it will discourage small businesses from hiring or offering health coverage at all.
  • Enact tort reform. Texas, already on a job-creation roll, has just passed a "loser pays" provision as part of the 2011 Omnibus Tort Reform Act signed by Gov. Rick Perry on May 30. According to Towers Watson, tort costs in 2009 cost the economy $248.1 billion, or $808 per person. The impact is particularly severe in health care, where lawsuits add $30 billion to health care costs each year.
  • Cut spending. This year, the federal government will spend about $3.8 trillion, with a $1.5 trillion deficit. It will spend an estimated $46 trillion over the next decade — up 77% from the last decade. Cutting spending, reducing our deficit and putting capital back to work in the private sector would be the best stimulus plan of all, creating millions of new jobs.

These are just a few things that would create jobs immediately. Maybe Axelrod and his pals, who have presided over the worst recovery in more than a generation, should stop "yammering" themselves and listen.