The economy, and jobs, was the centerpiece of President Obama’s State of the Union address last week, unfortunately not in the way many would have hoped. A near unanimous consensus of political analysts and pundits pre-speech pointed to the unequivocal fact that the President had no choice but to move to the center and away from his administration’s failed liberal agenda if he hoped to retain the support of the American people.
As unemployment rates across the country hit record highs and continue to increase, it has become evident that staying the course on a failed government economic stimulus program is not the way forward. The national unemployment rate is over 10 percent, while in North Carolina, according to the latest report by the state’s Employment Security Commission (NCESC), statewide unemployment has reached a record 11.2 percent, and has cost the state $4.8 billion in unemployment benefits alone this year. Contrary to the claim that unemployment is leveling off, this latest report marks a striking 0.5 percent increase in the past month and an overall 3.2 percent increase in the past year.
Only one employment sector has benefited from the Democrats’ liberal economic policy agenda and witnessed a decreasing unemployment rate – that is unions. However, these are not the unions we’ve come to know so well from the auto-industry bailouts. Union membership in the private sector has actually decreased substantially, while government union jobs are on the rise.
What good can come from a policy that is supporting the growth of government unions as the rest of the economy rests in shambles?
The answer is nothing. These government unions continue campaigning for higher taxes to fund increased government spending, while the rest of Americans are tightening their belts. Unions are a group that subsists solely on subsidies, receives artificially high compensation unsustainable in the market, and most recently has been the target for sweetheart deals exempting them from increased taxes on “Cadillac” health insurance plans.
However, the buck doesn’t stop at incentives and lobbying power. There is a reason why union jobs have failed in the private sector and that is because they can not function in a competitive market. Without competition, resources will not be appropriately allocated, profit and loss will be disproportionately affected, and prices will not dictate economic choices. What is more, unions subsist on collective bargaining – which seems rather counterintuitive. How can such an organization bargain with the taxpayer?
If the government really wants to promote sustainable long-term jobs then it needs to minimize regulations and restrictions it has placed on the private sector. Especially those that will result from the expensive and ill-devised health care and cap-and-trade legislation Democrats are unwilling to abandon. Sometimes the best thing that government can do is step back and let those in society who fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of the market dictate the way forward. It is the only way to ensure real job creation will take place and economic prosperity will ensue.
There are many people in the country who are tired of waiting for government to make good on their extensive promises. Creating more unionized government jobs will not solve long-term or short-term unemployment in our nation or in North Carolina. It is something that neither our self declared “jobs governor,” nor the President will accomplish if they choose to continue to remain attached to their liberal agenda.