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National Review Online


Get a Job

December 03, 2009

By Nicole Gelinas

President Obama’s Thursday “jobs summit” will seem like an empty media event to many Americans, including many of the nearly 16 million jobless.

How to create jobs? First, abolish the division between companies that fully face the consequences of their actions and companies that don’t. That is, end “too big to fail.” If Obama really needs to have a summit, he should hold one on how Washington can credibly end this policy, because the financial-regulatory “reform” bills won’t do the trick. Smaller businesses cannot create jobs until they can fairly compete for capital. They can’t fairly compete on the merits, though, when large financial companies are extensions of the government and must dole out some of their lending on political, rather than economic, considerations.

Second, ask Congress to fix the stimulus law. Unspent stimulus money meant for states and cities should go only to state and cities that use the funds to credibly cut their long-term spending. It’s okay for municipalities to put some cash toward shoring up pension funds, for example, but only to ease the transition toward a revamp of public-employee pensions. The private sector can’t grow when employers are spending much of their time trying to figure out how to pay or flee ever-rising municipal taxes.

Finally, spend more of the stimulus money on real infrastructure investments — even if it takes longer to plan good projects. The economy doesn’t need “shovel ready.” It needs to know that government has a long-term investment plan for the public assets that support private-sector growth.

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