Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- A Plan For Creating Jobs Now

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Anyone who has ever experienced unemployment understands the pain, depression and the feelings of inferiority that often accompany it. For the employed or retired, reading jobless numbers in the newspaper can’t possibly have the same impact as those living the nightmare. We read the numbers, shake our heads and then turn to the sports page. Life resumes its normal routine.

In February, 1976, my 52-year-old father found himself unemployed for the first time. Dad had worked only two jobs. He seldom missed a day. I remember him telling us, “It doesn’t matter if I’m not feeling tip-top today; my employer is expecting me to be there. That’s what he is paying me for.”

With that same kind of “can do attitude,” Dad hit the pavement and began knocking on doors. Day after day the results of his efforts were the same: no jobs available.

By July we could see a visible change in my father’s health, not to mention his morale. Both were declining rapidly. We would try to cheer him, but depression was starting to rear its ugly head. The continued rejection also was killing him.

The Miller Brewing Company was opening a plant only 15 miles from our upstate New York home. Our local newspaper informed readers in early November that the new employer would be taking applications the next Tuesday. I sensed Dad’s spirits lifting.

I planned on going with my father to lend moral support. It was bitter cold that Tuesday. The wind was blowing and the snow was beginning to fall. We arrived three hours early only to find a line of applicants already stretched as far as the eye could see. After parking, we took our position at the end of the line, inching forward ever so slowly. I remember looking at my father and thinking, how did things ever come to this? We were both numb from cold and despair by the time we entered the building.

On the way home, driving through what by now was a blinding snowstorm, my Dad turned to me, touched my arm and said, “Bobby, they are going to hire me. I’m a good man.” “Yes Dad, you are and they will,” I replied, while at the same time feeling not quite as certain that our prayers would be answered.

Across the country the devastation of unemployment is being felt everywhere. Many of these victims are men and women in their 40’s and 50’s. At Domtar’s paper mill in Plymouth, NC, a factory that one time employed upwards of 2,500 people, many furloughed employees have all but given up hope. These are good folks who literally have no where to turn for work. They can’t sell their homes and their nest eggs are being exhausted to meet day-to-day living costs.

There are currently some 520 plus workers who remain at Domtar and they must be holding their breath. Over the next several months those numbers will be whittled down to about 360. In a cruel twist of fate, some of those previously employed at the Plymouth mill, moved to Franklin, Va., to go to work for International Paper. That plant will be permanently closing its doors early next year.

With millions of American jobs lost over the last decade and more, action needs to be taken that can quickly turn this situation around and fast. One possible solution that would have an immediate impact on our economy would be to make the U. S. a Corporate Income Tax-Free Business Zone. Almost overnight corporations, small and large, would invest in expansion and equipment and begin hiring. Jobs currently overseas would begin to shift back home because doing business domestically could suddenly result in lower costs.

Other benefits of “ash-canning” this tax would include an increase in stock prices and corporate values due to anticipated higher corporate earnings. Products made in the U. S. will suddenly become more competitive with those produced by nations with higher corporate tax rates. We would begin to see a dramatic investment in “green” technology with the creation of new industries that can help foster our energy independence without holding our economic sector hostage to the impracticalities of the pending cap and trade legislation that passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.

Corporate tax repeal would mean there would be approximately $1.8 trillion less in the U. S. Treasury over the next five years. While this figure may seem extreme, compare it with the $5 trillion in deficits that would result from President Barack Obama’s enacted and proposed spending initiatives; initiatives that have and will continue to do little to alter our staggering unemployment numbers. Getting folks back to work allows the formerly jobless to not only support themselves and their families, but to regain their self respect.

For weeks after my father submitted his application to Miller we heard nothing. Dad kept saying, “They’ll call, you just wait and see.” On Dec. 31 my father was stricken with a fatal heart attack. On Jan. 2, the phone rang. When my grieving mother picked it up, the call was for my Dad. It was the Miller Brewery requesting he report to work the following Monday.

My Dad was right.

Bob is right. This is a powerful article and I hate to reduce the impact by changing the subject, so I will make one quick point in hopes that it emphasizes his great article rather than detracts. Bob is not alone among those economists and tax experts who understand how to bring a country out of a recession, or a depression. This plan would have dramatically positive benefits for America. What is sad is that for so many, like Bob's father in an earlier recession, the fix will come too late if the Democrats have their way.

Nothing that the Barack Obama regime has done makes sense. Like FDR, who took a recession and turned it into a permanent depression. It took World War II to bring us out of the disaster FDR created. Obama advisors are burying our nation in debt. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., FDR’s own Treasury Secretary conceded the abject failure of the New Deal spending programs.

Morgenthau's summary, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work… I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job, I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”

It appears that neither Barack Obama nor his economic advisors, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, ever read history. Or, at the least, they do not understand it. They are recreating every mistake the New Deal made. How many will die in the war that will be needed to bring us back to economic sanity?


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