Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where will we put the 600 new small businesses every week? (Publicus Proventus)

I've been listening and listening to politicians talk, and comparing what they say with the reasons why I voted for the people I did. Granted, most of the people I voted for didn't win, so this may be skewed, but still, I'm amazed at how often politicians give just one reason why they were elected.

Take the governor of Kentucky, who recently relayed why he's supporting state aid to a planned recreation of Noah's Ark as the basis for a theme park, said this:

The people of Kentucky didn’t elect me governor to debate religion...They elected me governor to create jobs.
Which mirrors what virtually every other politician who won in November has said since winning: They're there to create jobs, not govern or anything like that. In a weird twist (weird because conservatives used to want government to be less involved with business), government has become (in the minds of the people holding government jobs right now) the engine that drives the economy.

While all the politicians are vague on how they plan to use government to create jobs (Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker's plan appears to be to combine the Green Bay Packers, nachos, killing light rail, and "ending frivolous lawsuits that kill jobs,") they're all united in their zeal to have government create those jobs -- pledging (in Walker's case) to create nearly 200 jobs a day at a rate of "2 or 3 or 4 at a time" from small businesses.

Which means, if you do the math, Walker is promising 1201 jobs per week (250,000 over his four-year term) primarily from small businesses that will hire 2-4 people at a time -- so Walker is promising that 300-600 new businesses will be started per week, each week of his term (or that existing small businesses will hire 1,201 people per week.)

But it's okay if you don't actually see 600 new gift stores, art-framing supply stores, and other small businesses opening in your neighborhood, because Walker isn't promising these are the kind of jobs that attract attention or anything. "They all won't be on TV or in the paper but collectively they'll help put the state back to work," he says, making it seem as though the small business jobs he's going to create are the dark matter of the employment world: they'll be out there, even if you don't see them.

I didn't vote for any politician on the basis of creating jobs. My votes were based on whether I respected the person's intellect and ethics (my vote for Russ Feingold), and a desire to elect someone who wouldn't immediately try to retract health care reforms and cut taxes to further hurt the state's infrastructure (my vote for Tom Barrett.) But I do look forward to seeing those 600 new businesses each week starting up, hiring people, and thriving away.

No comments: