The economy has certainly drove home the idea of job creation as a campaign theme. Candidates are falling over themselves with campaign promises that they will “create jobs.” Naturally the tea party is out front and center with the idea that government can’t create jobs, with people like Linda McMahon sayign that government doesn’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do.
Maybe the third time’s a charm for Connecticut Democratic senatorial nominee Richard Blumenthal who has had a hard time offering a clear answer about government’s role creating jobs
When his opponent Linda McMahon asked him in a debate Monday night “how do you create a job,” he offered a meandering reply explaining jobs can be created “in a variety of ways by a variety of people.” He went on assert government can help preserve jobs by providing more capital to small businesses, tax policies that promote job creation and intervention by government to help promote American-made products.
But Republicans have hit back hard and McMahon said, “Government, government, government. Government doesn’t create jobs” and insisted entrepreneurs do.
It figures that no one wearing a vote for me button can honestly tackle the issue because how jobs are created goes a little beyond the sound bite nature of what this campaign has become. It is ridiculous that someone like McMahon won’t be honest about government’s role of job creation precisely because her industry exists solely as a result of government investment in technologies that set the environment for entrepreneurs to create businesses.
The very fact that you are reading this article is a direct result of government investment creating the Internet, creating tax incentives to spawn research into technologies like unix, and the entire descendants of open architectures and standards that enabled people like me, the entrepreneur, to figure out a business model. Without government, none of this would exist.
If that’s too techie for you, consider how you got to work or school today. The interstate highway system was an investment by government to enable the movement of people, goods and services cheaply. That investment spawned not only short term jobs that built the highways, but long term allowed for the growth of suburbs which contributed to boom of the American economy from the Eisenhower administration to George W. Bush. Without the interstate, local roads would be the main way everyone would travel, and we all know how that local investment in roads has fared. Without the interstate, electrical, telephone and internet infrastructure would be subject to the local topography. Silvermine residents certainly know about the reliability of the electrical grid when trees can bring down powerlines at the slightest wind. Imagine that on a national scale.
Now we are faced with an economy that has been broken precisely because Government didn’t do what it is supposed to do. Our political process has been dumbed down to polar positions that pit anti-regulatory, anti-tax policy wonks against pro-regulatory and pro-tax policy wonks. The reality is that somewhere between both extremes lies the sweet spot of just enough regulations and tax policies to keep markets working.
Our political leaders have failed us by dismantling regulations that were put in place following the Great Depression, and then sitting idly by while investment in national infrastructure was ignored. The fact that sewer pipes, bridges, roads, rails, the electrical grid have all failed in spectacular form in the last 10 years is a huge wake up call about what government should be doing about job creation. Fix the infrastructure, and businesses will be able to thrive.
In our state, Fairfield County is broken from an infrastructure standpoint. It is unfathomable that I-95 continues to be the most congested highway in the nation. It should be the top priority of all Connecticut candidates, who should be talking about what government should do, at all levels to fix the infrastructure of the county. But that’s not the discussion that we are getting out of this campaign.
It’s hard to see why Linda McMahon wants to run for Senate, so firm is her belief that government doesn’t create jobs. Dick Blumenthal on the other hand, is so mired in legislative minutiae he can’t articulate what the role of government in job creation should be either. At least he believes in government.
Whether you like Amazon.com, or book your airline tickets on Expedia.com, or check your Facebook status on your iPhone, all of those businesses exist because smarter politicians ages ago didn’t cower behind sound bites to inform the public about the role of government. They knew then that government was there to invest in the future growth of America, and at times the rest of the world. The Marshall Plan, is a perfect example of how government created jobs. Without government investment, Rupert Murdoch, an Australian, wouldn’t own Fox News, an American media company. Which is the irony of course. Most of American media is now owned and run by foreign nationals, who were the recipients of all that American government investment over the years.