Today’s most important issue is jobs. We all need a job to provide for the necessities and comforts of life. A job is one of the first decisions we consider as a child, as people ask, “what are you going to do when you grow up?” A job starts early in life when we select a career, obtain the required education and training, and strive to reach our career goal. Finally, after many years of preparation, the day comes when we start looking for that job.
But today we have a problem: 14 million unemployed people in the United States cannot find a job. They are educated, trained and ready to go to work. Unfortunately, there are very few jobs available.
Why is there a lack of available jobs? According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2007 through the middle of 2011, the main cause of job losses from major layoffs is not from government regulations, supply issues, technical advances or the lack of available credit. The main cause is there is a lack of demand for products and services, by a factor of 200-to-1. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses backs this up. The survey of small businesses found 33% of those said poor sales were holding them back.
So what is the answer? Can we bring back the old jobs and create opportunities for new ones? Unfortunately, many of the old jobs will not return due to efficiency from technology and improved management skills. New jobs will appear when we create an environment for new innovations and opportunities, not only for entrepreneurs but for industry professionals as well. In an article in The American in July 2011 written by Arnold Kling and Nick Schultz, they feel the two growing sectors with opportunity are education and healthcare. Unfortunately, both of those industries are burdened with heavy government oversight. We need to listen to education and health professionals as to how we can help support them. We are a nation of creative, hard-working people and we deserve a government that supports the people who create jobs and can get America back to work.
There is no disagreement that the most important issues facing all Americans today are the lack of jobs and the struggling economy. If you are still looking for a job, or have settled on part-time work until the job market improves, you are not alone. About 15% (one in seven) of those living in Los Angeles County are unemployed or underemployed. This number does not include all those who have retired early or given-up looking for work.
The federal “stimulus” money that was sent out last year is now a distant memory, and the hunt for new jobs continues. Despite the current mindset of some in the federal government, it is clear “government” is not the solution to creating new jobs. Instead, “government” is contributing to the sluggish recovery. One of the largest contributing factors causing businesses and consumers apprehension and uncertainty is being called the “fiscal cliff.”
Unless Congress starts to take action, on January 1, 2013, increases in income and business taxes from expiring tax cuts, and increases in taxes required by the Affordable Care Act will take effect. It will be the largest tax increase in U.S. history, an estimated $494 billion in one year. In addition, the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 established automatic spending cuts that apply across a substantial part of the budget to first take effect in January 2013. These cuts are estimated to be a reduction in spending authority of $109.3 billion. These events will all occur in January 2013, because of short term “fixes” by Congress over the past few years.
If Congress fails to act, it is estimated the Gross Domestic Product will grow by just 0.5 percent from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013, and unemployment will rise. Without a long term commitment from Congress, small businesses are unable to accurately predict their tax liabilities for 2013 and beyond. Businesses and consumers are taking a “wait and see” attitude, delaying hiring and postponing purchases.
We are a nation with a “can-do” spirit; we just want to be able to make plans for the future. It is essential that Washington act quickly to eliminate the uncertainty of “the fiscal cliff” as well as other rules and regulations that only extend for a few months or a year. Congress needs to establish a budget, a long term tax revenue plan, reduce rules and regulations, and build a working relationship with businesses that encourages people to turn their dreams into realities. Businesses and consumers need to have the assurance that the government has a long term plan for security and stability, and this will only come with leadership, not politics.