Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Chance to Have Input for a Book

Recently there have been several articles dealing with claims made by some Republicans that regulation hampers job growth. Mostly, these articles (for example) attempt to reject that claim. To me, and I suspect many of my readers, it seems almost obvious that when you restrict someone’s business activities, their ability to create jobs would be hampered. On the other hand, I don’t know of any book or study that documents that connection. Doing so would be a good thing. Hence, let me draw your attention to a planned book I just read about.

I receive a weekly email newsletter from John Mauldin about the economy and its impact on investing. If you keep in mind that his frame of reference is basically mainstream, with a dash of the reality of trying to deal with real businesses and their futures, then his stuff isn’t bad. I have used some of the information that he has found in this blog. He published a book last year called “Endgame” in which he discusses the world build up of debt and its impact. I don’t really recommend it, as his analysis is severely limited and warped by his basic poor understanding of economics and his conventional morality. Its redeeming feature is that he is emphatic in that the debt will be a disaster.

Now he is going to write a book about job creation. It could be decent because he seems to understand that only business can create “meaningful lasting” jobs. This is the wrong focus, of course, (it should be on how business can freely create wealth) but jobs are a consequence and if businesses can create jobs, they will be creating wealth. (I know that this wrong focus could backfire. However, it is also true that people need to know how jobs are created. If that is explained properly, i.e., as a result of creating wealth, then it will point people in the right direction.) Anyway, he is calling for examples and ideas, so why shouldn’t he get some good ones. If you want, send him an email.

He says:
“You can't read any serious economic analysis of late that does not talk about jobs, whether in Europe or the US or Asia. And not a lot of it is pretty. Politicians offer "plans" for jobs, most of which go to great lengths to illustrate the sympathy they have for people out of work, but without offering any real ideas on how to create meaningful, lasting jobs. Some are actually destructive of jobs, far from creating any (these are of the "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" variety).

I have been having a rather lively email conversation with several serious thought-leaders about what we should do to get us out of the current job malaise. The ideas we are discussing are worth a wider audience, so Bill Dunkelberg, who is the Chief Economist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses and I have decided to write what we hope will be a short book on employment (I know, I have never done a short book yet). How are jobs created? What policies should governments adopt to help create jobs? How do we get back to full employment in the US in a Muddle Through economy that needs at least 125,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth? (Today we learned that in October new employment was just 80,000.)

Stupid Government Tricks

The book will be US-centric in its focus, but the policies we will be talking about can be adapted to almost any country. I should note that Dunk and I will be getting a little help from our friends, and we want your help in some very specific ways.

First, I know my readers are among the smartest on the net. If you have an idea about how to increase employment, send it to us. Put "jobs" in the subject line.

Also, most of America is familiar with David Letterman's occasional skit called "Stupid Animal Tricks." We want to do a section on government policies that hurt job creation. At all levels, from local to national. Send us your anecdotes and notes on odd rules and laws that destroy jobs and opportunity, rather than create them. Almost everyone has a story about how government is hurting their business. Tell us yours.

And at the same time, what do you see that is working? Why do some states seem to attract businesses and others lose them? Again, send your comments with the subject line "jobs." And, you'll get a footnote if we use your suggestion. (Hey, I love being footnoted!)”