Saturday, December 05, 2009

If Obama was serious about Unemployment...

Unemployment is devastating on both people and governments. Not only do people feel the stress of wondering how needs will be met, they often take serious efforts of curtailing spending ,which has a direct impact on consumer spending. Governments suffer too. Local, state, and federal governments find unemployment is a drain on them as they are often unable to collect as much revenue as they could in more prosperous economies and those who are unemployed will often depend on agencies to help through these difficult times.

With that, President Obama recently had a Job Summit and he told those in attendance if there is "anything" the government can do to help increase employment, let him know. With US unemployment at the highest levels in a quarter of a century, "anything" should be taken quite seriously. Our situation has become urgent and steps should be made to act quickly. These include:

  • Eliminating barriers between people and jobs. This isn't through temporary government jobs that will run out with the recent bailouts, but through real jobs that create revenue for them to grow in number and in quality. Although I oppose a federal minimum wage, you are not going to make one go away. However, the federal government could mandate the states have a minimum wage law in each state of the union and allow them to set it based on the needs of the people and the cities. This would not cost the federal government a penny, but would spur economic activity immediately. Certain cities, such as Camden (New Jersey), East St. Louis (Illinois), and Detroit each suffer from an unemployment of around 20 percent. they need help like this immediately.

  • Eliminating taxes on corporations because they do not pay taxes, they are only tax collectors (through higher prices). Taxes are simply a fixed cost for doing business, plain and simple. If taxes are too high, businesses have no choice, but move to other countries where the rate is less so they can lower prices and be more competitive. Businesses do not take this actions because they are not patriotic. In the words of The Godfather, "it isn't personal, it's just business." This action would have a profound impact on high quality job creation. This policy would also encourage an increase in productivity and soften the blow of inflation.

  • Ending taxes on wealth creation and replace income tax with a sales tax. This would eliminate the economic genocide against job creators we are seeing today and would more fairly spread the financial burden of government on all economic groups. If every economic group shared the burden of funding the government, that would encourage all groups to make government fiscally accountable.

Our situation is dire, the answers to our problems are in the market place and not in the halls of government or in job creation summits. These type of actions would have the government give the type of "stimulus" the nation really needs.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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