So, where will jobs come from?
Not the government
So just how can we create job growth that can lead us out of the Great Recession?Skip to next paragraph
Jeff is the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
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The word we get from our politicians is that ultimately it is government actions that create jobs.
A few examples:
Pres. Obama in 2011: "We've got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding. We've got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building. We've got more than 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now." What this means more deficit spending to stimulate temporary make-work jobs.
Vice Pres. Biden in 2011: "The middle class is under attack because the labor movement is under attack." What this means is that job loss is due to conservatives picking on labor unions, because it is unions who create jobs. If government just backs the unions we will see job growth.
Gov. Romney in 2003: "Now is the time to refocus its assets in such a manner that it can become a major economic springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector." So the best path to job creation is a wise and benevolent government that knows best what the market wants.
Gov. Perry in 2011: "Over the last decade, we created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas. At the same time, America lost 2.5 million." So if we create a big pot of money to bribe corporations to relocate their businesses, as Texas did under Perry, we can count the jobs they move from one state to the other as new jobs.
All of these approaches have one thing in common -- they assume that the business of government is to create jobs. And without their efforts, no economic growth will be possible.
We have bought this bill of goods for decades now. With each election cycle, the politicians use our economic good fortune, or misfortune, as props for why they should vote for them over the other guy.
I hate it when other people take credit for what I do.
When our company created hundreds of healthcare jobs I really can't recall getting a hand from the Governor or the President. They never participated when we made our pitch for funding, they never co-signed or personally guaranteed a loan from the bank, and they never skipped a paycheck when times got tough.
And yet when the success of our business and the successes of thousands of others just like ours helped lead us out of the tough times of the 1980s, there they were ready to take the credit. And lest I forget, when we cashed out, the government was there to claim a nice big chunk of our hard earned gains. After all, we never could have done it without them!
What we need is a fundamental paradigm shift. Government does not create real, sustainable job growth. Their policies can inhibit the actions of entrepreneurs to do so, but that is all. They can hold us back, but they cannot do anything to move us forward.
None of those who hope to lead our government over the next several years seem to understand that. A few talk the talk, but when we look closely at their actions we see that fundamentally all of them are on the same page. We can't possibly start our ventures and successfully grow them without their help and wisdom.
So last night when the opposition was debating among themselves, we watched Alphas on TiVo. And tonight when we hear from the current folks in power, I plan to be celebrating our son and daughter-in-law's birthdays and then watch our beloved Packers make their run to defend their Super Bowl championship.
And the tomorrow I will go to work trying to help those who really will create the jobs for our future. I will teach my classes and mentor our student and alumni entrepreneurs. They are the ones who can help rebuild this broken economy.
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