- Reason Awakes -

Jobs (Employment and Economic Policy)


Voltaire said that work saves us from three  great evils: boredom, vice and need. A society that organizes itself so that a large proportion of the population is unemployed is inviting trouble.


The U.S. lost more jobs in the last recession than in any since the Great Depression. Worse than than that, the growth of jobs in the recovery that followed that recession was exceptionally anemic. In the last few years a variety of policies, some good some bad, have led to historically low unemployment levels.

Despite the importance of reducing unemployment, there is no “Jobs” plank, per se, in this platform because it is not the role of the government to guarantee jobs. The proper role of government is to create an economic environment in which full employment will emerge. The government has several responsibilities in this regard including monetary and fiscal policy, long-term taxation policy, trade policy, education, and regulation. All of these issues will be addressed throughout this Platform.

The government also needs to avoid making the situation worse by subsidizing long-term unemployment by continually extending unemployment compensation. It may seem heartless, but there is substantial evidence that extended unemployment compensation extends unemployment. It does so by discouraging people from relocating to find work and from taking lower paying jobs.

An interesting alternative to extended unemployment compensation is a "Personal Reemployment Account." This proposal was supported by Mitt Romney, who adopted something like it in Massachusetts. The money would be provided to unemployed individuals to be used as they chose for reeducation or retraining. They could go to a community college with the money, or to a for profit educational institution, or even pay an employer for training with it. If they paid an employer for retraining with it, the employer would only receive the compensation after hiring the employee and retaining them for a period of time. 


Most importantly the government needs to provide a stable economic and regulatory environment in which uncertainty about government intervention does not, itself, serve as a factor inhibiting private sector employers from investing and hiring.


We believe that the emergence of viable center in American politics is essential for creating the kind of stability in fiscal, economic and regulatory policy that is necessary for long-term growth. Without such a center the rules will swing violently as the political mood swings at the margin from left to right and back again.



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