Opinion: Big Government, the Wrong Medicine for an Ailing Economy
When President Barak Obama was sworn in as President of the United States he had two options to cure the recessionary trends he was inheriting; advance policies that would set in motion unprecedented government spending measures, or choose to implement policies which would unleash America’s entrepreneurial potential.
Instead, he and his cadre of advisors chose to wager our economic future on big government policies that heavily financed unsustainable “green” ventures, phantom “shovel-ready” jobs, and public projects headed by special interests and labor unions – all of it funded thanks to money borrowed from future generations.
Those of us, including many in the Hispanic/Latino community, who subscribed to more “classical liberal” economic freedom tonics maintained that temporary spending gimmicks aimed at stimulating a flat economy would fail to change the long-term behavior of small business owners – the true champions in any free market economy who create durable and sustainable economic opportunities. Many a television pundit scoffed at those who contended the stimulus would actually turn the economic sniffles into a raging fever.
Today, few on either side of the political spectrum would dispute the pork-laden stimulus bill failed miserably to deliver on its intended outcomes. Stagnation reigns over the American landscape, fewer people are employed than the day Obama was inaugurated, more people live under the poverty line than at any other time in the last two decades, and there are seven people who compete for every job opening.
When you add the imminent imposition of the Obamacare law, bloated deficits, and insurmountable amounts of debt, it should come as no surprise that uncertainty rules the day.
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Otto Merida of the Nevada Hispanic Chamber of commerce signaled a telling sign to me about the impact the current recession is having on Hispanic start-ups. Mr. Merida pointed out that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce membership in Las Vegas Nevada has dropped from 1,600 down to 1,300 in the past three years.
This is especially noteworthy when you consider that the numbers of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States were recently expected to grow by 41.8 percent in the next several years to more than 4 million, with total revenues increasing to almost $540 billion.
And yet, given the well documented shortcomings of the first “jobs” bill you would think the Administration would change course. You would be wrong. Incredibly, the Administration demands we gulp down more of the same placebo pill to remedy our economic malady. But this time it proposed the second “jobs” package be paid directly by the very same private sector it presumes to stimulate by calling on permanent tax increases to pay for temporary tax cuts.
Well sorry, lo siento, we are no longer willing to buy the snake oil. It would be the height of gullibility to believe that taking half a trillion directly from families, small businesses, and successful job creators and giving it over to central planners would increase prosperity.
Far from being the answer to our economic woes, increased government spending has proven to hamper small business growth, distort true market prices, and hurt minority families most.
The only job growth government has shown to be highly successful at is achieving job growth for itself. According to a recent study, the unemployment rate of the government workforce is at a very desirable 4.7 percent. But guess who has to sustain the skyrocketing salaries and superior employee benefits enjoyed by government workers? Yep, the private sector! And as the size and scope of government grows every single year, the burden grows on the private sector to sustain it.
And although it’s important to acknowledge that government plays an important role in any free enterprise system, such as defining and enforcing the rules, protecting people’s right to own property and enforcing voluntary contracts between people, it must also be said that government planners are no substitute for the entrepreneur when it comes to creating sustainable economic opportunities and enduring income mobility.
Unless we to go back to the proven and time-tested formulas that spur innovation and job creation; those numbers may need to be reconsidered. The road to recovery starts with less spending, less borrowing, less regulation, and less taxation to lessen the burden on businesses of all sizes and types. It also requires an aggressive national energy plan, approval of the pending trade accords, and a return to personal accountability and self-reliance.
In the end, if history is any indicator, passage of the American Jobs Act will make us less prosperous and less free. It will shackle our children to a higher burden of debt, a more powerful central government, and make it harder for our own entrepreneurs to create growth and jobs.
It’s a clear case where the cure is worse than the disease.
Daniel Garza was formerly Associate Director at the Office of Public Liaison for The White House. He is currently the Executive Director of www.TheLibreInitiative.com