Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM & FM, Friday, January 29, 2010.
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine in Tyler, whom I’m going to call Bill, a good vendor to my company and a good businessman, called to tell me that he was shutting his doors. A lifetime’s work was wiped out and 20 employees hit the street. It was a dagger to my heart.
To spare this good man, I’m not going to tell you who he is nor am I going to tell you what line of business he was in. Suffice to say, his company sold goods and services to business owners like me.
As recently as 2007, he was expanding. He was investing in what he believed to be a strong local economy, a core of quality employees and some strategic opportunities to buy expanded capacity on favorable terms.
In other words, he was a small business owner — the very heart of American success.
That’s why this portion of President Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday night was so galling.
“But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that’s why I’m calling for a new jobs bill tonight. “
A jobs bill. Now why didn’t I think of that? All we need is an enlightened act from the 535 men and women of the Congress and the benediction thereon by our messianic president and all will be well. How reassuring.
Mr. President, the country began shedding jobs in April 2008 and has lost millions of jobs in the year since you took office. If a “jobs bill” will do the trick, why have you waited until now? If the federal government can truly help those people who are “waking up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from,” why are you just now proposing a jobs bill?
The 20 employees who once worked for my friend Bill can’t wait.
In fairness, the president went on to say that he would propose elimination of some capital gains taxes for small businesses. Well if that’s a good idea, and it is, what have you been waiting for Mr. President?
But he also went down the list of tired Democrat clichés about investing in clean energy jobs and giving rebates to homeowners who make their homes more green and building high-speed rail systems and taxing companies that outsource work overseas.
Mr. President, borrowing money from the Chinese in order to create trains that will lose money every day they are operated won’t help Bill or his 20 former employees.
Appropriating (read: borrowing) money to dig holes so that workers can be hired to fill them is not job creation.
What galls me the most, though, is the conceit. The very idea that Congress and the president – 536 privileged but largely clueless parasites – constitute the engine of job creation in America is preposterous. A country of 310 million awaits the munificence of 536 politicians? Somebody please give me a word better than preposterous.
Mr. President, forget your jobs bill. If you want to help my friend Bill, instead of promising to do something, promise instead not to do anything. Trace any of our problems, from the housing meltdown to dysfunctional schools to the dissolution of nuclear families and in almost all cases, you’ll find at the root an overweening government program proposed by somebody with a mindset like yours.
As for jobs, if you want to give Bill and me and the few million other business owners who actually make the decisions and spend the money to hire employees the confidence to do so, raise your right hand and say, “I promise to enact as few laws as possible and none that are not related to defending the peace, supporting the currency or acting as impartial referee in the conduct of commerce.”
In other words, just get out of the way and let the American miracle unfold.