Yes, you read correctly.
“Spread the jobs around.”
You’re probably familiar with Barack Obama’s well documented intentions to “spread the wealth around.” In a discussion about his vision for economic recovery back during the campaign of 2008, he expressed that intention using those precise words (do a web search with the President’s name and the phrase, and see what pops up).
Today, the President struggles with the political consequences brought about by the stifled economy, which has been brought about his own “wealth spreading” ways. Yet within the Obama worldview, it makes sense that a President who has displayed no vision for wealth creation – he has only championed ways in which to re-distribute existing wealth – would likewise have no real vision for job creation, and would instead attempt to “spread around” the inadequate number of jobs that already exist.
Enter Dean Baker, an Economist at the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. As if perfectly timed with the President’s upcoming address on the economy, Mr. Baker has proposed what he calls a national “work sharing” program, calling it a “quick route to full employment.”
A quick visit to the “Center’s” website provides a brief description of Mr. Baker’s academic paper on “work sharing.” Describing the overall program, the website indicates that what is being proposed is a “system of work sharing that would give employers an incentive to maintain workers on their payroll at reduced hours as an alternative to laying them off. The system would be attached to the existing system of unemployment compensation, with short-time compensation as an alternative to unemployment compensation. This means that work sharing would require no new government bureaucracy…”
While recently being interviewed about his “work sharing” concept on the Fox Business Channel, Mr. Baker further elaborated, stating “"...we're talking about a situation where workers would work somewhat fewer hours, and make somewhat less money…” As an alternative to being laid-off altogether, Mr. Baker surmises that “alot of workers would take that in a second..."
Indeed, what Mr. Baker is proposing is best described as a “spread the jobs around” approach to employment. And no doubt it has some of the same appeal, mostly emotional appeal, that candidate Obama’s “spread the wealth around” ideas did three years ago. But just because it “looks good on paper” doesn’t mean that it’s good, functional, or even “fair” public policy. In reality, the “spread the jobs around” idea is flawed on multiple levels.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.