Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama Needs to Do More About Jobs

Despite the hundreds of billions in stimulus and the massive bank bailouts, the employment numbers are getting steadily worse. Some have urged that the government should explore more direct methods of job creation, such as simply hiring more people to work in government agencies. I think there is merit to the idea.

At the rate things are going, it looks like many workers—especially the young—will be without jobs for a while to come. That means they will not develop the skills they need to be employable in the future, and that they will have large resume gaps which simply make them less attractive to employers. So having government directly create jobs may simply be an investment in the future. Employees with skills and work experience will be more productive in the future and pay more in taxes.

Besides, it’s better to create “make-work jobs” than give the money away as welfare. People on welfare don’t develop skills. They’re also looked down upon in society. It’s easier to help people with healthcare when people see potential beneficiaries work hard. The only other alternative is not to help those struggling in this economy out at all, which is unacceptable for both moral and political reasons.

Politically, Obama and Democrats understandably want to tread carefully. If they have the government go on a hiring binge, they risk being called socialists. But that sort of name-calling won’t be any worse than having unemployment numbers continue to climb.

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