By Tom Quiner
This Labor Day, 2010, our economy is hurting. Everything the President and his party has tried has failed.
Unemployment is way up. Economic growth is stagnant. Net job creation doesn’t exist. The stock market is going nowhere fast.
The underlying premise of the President is that only government can get the economy back on track. I would suggest that, if anything, the federal government has made things worse in many (but not all) respects.
Here are some concrete suggestions on how to get America back on track:
1. Renew the Bush tax cuts. The last thing we need now is a tax increase on America’s most productive Americans. In addition, we need to reduce the uncertainty that is paralyzing economic decision-making. Renew the tax cuts and get out of the way!
2. Sign the Korea-Free Trade Agreement. Senator Grassley has been a huge advocate of this agreement. The Bush administration got the agreement negotiated, the Obama administration essentially has killed it. And yet the upside to the agreement is enormous.
Did you know Korea is the sixth largest export market for pork? Japan is number one. But according to the Iowa Pork Producer’s website, pork exports to Korea could surpass Japan’s once the treaty is fully implemented. Even more, they project the agreement would give our pork producers an increase of $10 per hog marketed.
3. Allow individuals and families to shop for health insurance products across state lines. This is one of the few products where interstate commerce is prohibited. Increased competition would generate more choice and lower prices for consumers.
4. Along that line, provide a refundable tax credit – $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families – to purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs. This is a key component of the Republican’s “Roadmap for America’s future” as authored by Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan.
5. Rescind the requirement for Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on Federal construction projects. As former Administrator for the General Services Administration, Lurita Doan, said:
[PLAs] “punish non-union, small construction businesses and often prevents them from bidding or performing federal construction work in their communities.”
6. Suspend the Minimum Wage (MW) until the national unemployment rate falls below 7 percent. As discussed in previous posts, the minimum wage punishes workers with low skills. It takes a devastating toll on teens, especially black teen aged males. The MW forces employers to pay some workers more than they’re worth, which suppresses employment. Lack of job opportunity drives some of these young men into gangs.
The minimum wage affects the nation’s economy in other ways. For example, it has encouraged illegal immigration. Employers who had jobs that weren’t worth the minimum wage filled those positions with illegals who were willing to work for what the job was really worth. By suspending the MW, we discourage illegal immigration.