Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Job Killers?

"Instead of trying to 'create' jobs by tweaking this tax break or increasing that spending program, why not stop doing things that destroy jobs. I suggest starting with three job-rescuing policy changes,none of which would cost taxpayers a dime."

Charles Lane, "Kill these job-killers," The Washington Post, December 14, 2009.

The three job killers are: protectionism for sugar, Davis Baconand the minimum wage.

I don't have a lot to say in support of sugar protectionism except that more cheap sugar will probably have incredibly bad health effects. And, if you've ever seen a sugar beet processing plant, you know that there will be offsetting job losses in rural America.

The other two proposals are in the category of trading off any semblance of job quality for job creation. In fact, the construction industry has seen an overall relative decline in wages and benefits since the 1970s. This important industry offers careers paths through the best training programs that we have -- apprenticeships. We need more policies to strengthen these careers -- including a robust green sector.

Reducing the minimum wage is silly. When was the last time we saw increases in the minimum wage?

And reducing wages has its own costs. Let's not kid ourselves. We will pay more in other work supports like food stamps, health care, etc.

I'm all for some game-changing policies that don't cost much. We should look for impediments that prevent increased lending and small business creation. Let's not further dilute our minimal job quality policies.

So, we're left with sugar subsidies. Good luck!

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