In this short commentary in the N&O, the editors continue to mindlessly recommend a larger government role in America’s economy. They observe that teen unemployment stands at remarkably high rates (as is to be expected in a recession), and their recommendation is, of course, more government!
President Obama plans a White House “Forum on Jobs” next month, and here’s an item that ought to be on the agenda: summer jobs for young people.
It’s not as if there’s nothing to do. Across America, parks and public facilities have been neglected for years. North Carolinians need look no farther than the Blue Ridge Parkway for an example. The Civilian Conservation Corps worked wonders in the Great Depression, and something similar, with a summer-jobs orientation, would help in the Great Recession.
Curiously – yet completely predictably – missing from the article is that pesky little detail – how will these jobs be paid for? Where do the N&O editors think the money will come from to corral thousands of youths into government make-work jobs?
It’s yet another classic case of the “seen vs. the unseen.” It will be easy to see the teenagers put to work cleaning and improving public parks. But what of those jobs that will be lost or never created because the money to finance the temporary summer jobs is taken out of the productive private sector of the economy? Make-work jobs merely consume resources that could otherwise have been used for productive investment by businesses and entrepreneurs – investment toward future job growth and income gains. Such policies will only serve to prolong the recession and dampen any chances at recovery.
If the N&O editors are truly concerned about teenage unemployment they would advocate policies that would actually foster recovery and economic growth, not short-term band-aids that “feel good” but actually hurt the economy. They would also advocate removing some of the barriers to teen employment – such as the law that criminalizes voluntary labor agreements below an arbitrarily chosen dollar amount (the minimum wage), which prices many inexperienced youth out of the labor market.