|I was asked to write a 300 word essay for the school magazine that goes
sends out to alumni and others, regarding a common mistake in
economics. I think they got the idea from some other publication,
possibly the Chronicle of Education. Anyway, I chose jobs. Any
comments would be appreciated.
The idea of job creation drives much economic policy. Business demands
tax breaks, relief from environmental protection, and all manner of
special treatment in the name of creating jobs. Policies that improve
wages come under attack as "job killers." At the same time, while
employment in the United States has been going up, the availability of
good jobs is narrowing. At first, blue-collar jobs began to disappear.
Later, the jobs for which we were preparing our students also became
scarcer. This erosion of middle class jobs has created a widening gulf
between rich and poor in this country.
The largest corporations win the most benefits of playing the job card,
but they do not perform well at creating jobs. According to a report
from the Institute for Policy Studies although the sales of the top 200
corporations worldwide account for the equivalent of 27.5 percent of
world economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world's
workforce. Wall Street does not reward large corporations for creating
jobs, but for eliminating them.
Many of the largest employers refuse to pay a living wage, forcing their
workers to rely on public resources.
A sound economic policy would reward business for actually creating jobs
rather than merely promising them. A sound economic policy would invest
a great deal in education, while reversing the growing gap between rich
and poor. Toward these goals, a sound economic policy would strengthen
U.S. competitiveness through high-wage, high-skill policies.