Unfortunately, I believe Mort [Zuckerman] is right on about the U.S. failure to create jobs. The U.S. is in a financial and leadership crisis ["Mortimer B. Zuckerman: U.S. No Longer the Great Job Creation Machine," usnews.com]. Our leaders are failing to recognize this crisis and to respond in a positive manner. During the last year, our political leaders in Washington have devoted most of their efforts toward the stimulus plan and the healthcare plan (which may ultimately bankrupt our nation). Neither addresses our real issues. I believe the most difficult problem the U.S. and its citizens face is political leadership. There is little difference between Republicans and Democrats. When you cut to the core, most politicians support greater government, more government spending, and heavier taxation of their citizens. Before the U.S. can start to have meaningful progress toward a better economic future, we must change our political leadership. We must develop a political environment in Washington that favors less government intrusion into our citizens' lives, less government spending, less regulation, and less taxation. Government is not the solution. Government, as we have endured it, is the enemy of our future.
Comment by Jim of WA
In reading Mort's description, I was struck that what is needed are well-paying manufacturing jobs that can't be exported, which suggests to me that "green job" programs make sense. Wind, solar, natural gas, plus the transmission grids to move the power from point of generation to point of use, would create many of the good jobs we need—jobs that either can't be off-shored or could be prevented from being off-shored. Plus we have the bonus of reducing our dependence on oil from the Middle East. What's not to like? We just need a stable regulatory/cost environment to assure investors the investment would pay off. We could do this through tax credits, although my preference would be a fuel tax that slowly, repeat slowly, increases costs and includes a retail floor price so that oil producers don't temporarily flood the market with cheap energy to derail efforts to transition from a petro-based economy.
Comment by Bob of MO
The problem is that we no longer make "things." Manufacturing is the greatest engine of wealth generation. Most people have given up on U.S. manufacturing, yet this is exactly where we should focus. The key is the factory floor productivity. Yet management is largely insulated from this fundamental aspect of their business. If the decision makers had floor experience, they would see there are huge opportunities for productivity improvement. The factory floor is fundamentally flawed. With the proper fix, American workers can compete with anyone in the world. It is possible to bring all those jobs back from China.
Comment by RJ Burns of FL
Additional job growth limiters need to be added to your analysis. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age, but not retiring. Many financial experts have written that only 10 percent of this generation has saved enough for retirement. Working longer will be an economic necessity for many. Millions of jobs may not be released for younger generations. A second strain is small business values. There are thousands of "micro" local businesses that baby boomers have spent years building up, planning that the sale will fund their retirement. Today, because of the lack of lending, or lower valuations because of lower profit margins, these businesses cannot be sold. To improve economic activity and job growth, the marketplace will need financial institutions to take risks and help younger generations purchase and expand those local businesses.
Comment by Scott Holton of GA