It's individuals in the marketplace who create real jobs -- when they have the protection of life and property under the rule of law.
Economic freedom is the key. The theory couldn't be more clear, and at this late date in human history, it shouldn't be necessary to rehearse the abundant evidence. Look at the various indexes that correlate economic freedom with economic growth. The healthiest economies are those with the most economic freedom. Unemployment is low in those places -- 3 percent in Hong Kong, 2 percent in Singapore, 5 percent in Australia
Alas, the United States places ninth, behind Canada, and those countries with the least economic freedom have few real jobs and no prosperity.
Unfortunately, most politicians still don't understand -- or have no incentive to understand -- that economic freedom, and therefore less government, creates prosperity. Well, maybe that's changing. This year is first I've heard so many presidential candidates talk about the private sector. Indeed, one candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, told me he created "not one single job. ... Government does not create jobs."
The truth is we have too few jobs today because government stands in the way. If I'm an employer, why would I want to hire someone when Congress and the Labor Department have so many rules that I might not be able to fire that person if he can't do the job? Why would I take a risk on an investment when still-to-be-written rules about Obamacare, financial regulation and the environment could turn my good idea into a losing venture?
I refereed a debate on whether government creates or impedes economic activity.
"Government can spend and create jobs," said David Callahan, cofounder of Demos. "If government steps up and provides stimulus money to hire people, what we get is more people spending money in this economy, more hiring, and we get that virtuous cycle going."
Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, replied:
"It is ridiculous to assume you can tax the people that are working and give the money (to people) who are not working and somehow this creates economy activity. You are destroying as much by taking from those who are working and creating."
Callahan then invoked the magic I-word.
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