Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama and the myth of job creation / The Christian Science Monitor -

Mark Lange, a former Department of Labor and presidential speechwriter during the George H. W. Bush presidency, writes about job creation.
Does official Washington really believe that we’re waiting for government to generate jobs, somehow? What is the effect of an American president reciting everything government might do to support job creation – loans, tax cuts, high speed rail, clean energy, basic research, community colleges, student loan forgiveness – while asking nothing of the people themselves?

There’s actually very little that any administration can do to create sustainable, real employment – other than reduce the cost of credit (which the Federal Reserve has long discounted to record lows).

The “deficit of trust” Mr. Obama spoke of tonight – and sounded so determined to resolve – referred to that of a people and their government. But where real job creation is concerned, Americans should start by trusting themselves.

To do something about the state of the soup we’re in, it would be helpful if the president and commentariat would focus less on the way Washington works, and more on the way the rest of us work.
Lange looks a the need for the average American to be the driving force for job creation, by being optimistic and working hard to getting jobs.

But the line that really hit me was this one:
You’ll hear much talk pegging the “true” US unemployment rate at over 17 percent, when we include what the Labor Department classes as “discouraged workers” – those “not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them.”

Media make money merchandizing misery – which does a great disservice to those who need to stay motivated to look for work, the hardest job there is. To do it right, you have to keep faith in yourself, and with your family, for 12 hours a day, six days a week.
I also like this bit as well:
There’s nothing exotic about “knowledge work” – we all work with our brains. Some of us use them to run our mouths. Others, our hands – on paint brushes, keyboards, school chalk, machine tools – but we all use our brains. And we can all use them better, starting tomorrow.
For all the blubber about creating high skill, high pay "knowledge worker" jobs, there is nothing sacred about the economic impact of a knowledge worker over and above say a blue collar worker who sweats in his or her job. In fact, a blue collar worker may actually create more jobs for those "non-sweating" workers than the other way around.

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