Friday, December 2, 2011

Government Doesn't Create Jobs?

"Government doesn't create jobs, business creates jobs!" is the boring mantra of the GOP these days, and worse than boring, it's just plain inaccurate, and, perhaps, even worse, malicious and ill-intended.

"Government doesn't create jobs!"

Tell that to tens-of-thousands of aero-space workers in Southern California and around the country who rely on GOVERNMENT contracts.

Tell that to tens-of-thousands of farmers and food-industry workers who rely upon farm-subsidies to sustain agricultural production and artificially lower the price of commodities such as corn, the staple of the meat-industry - every time we buy a hamburger at In-n-Out or Burger King, we're enjoying GOVERNMENT oversite and regulation.

Tell that to tens-of-thousands of steel- and auto-workers who are employed today because of the "bailouts," but more importantly, over the years, tariffs and other such forms of GOVERNMENT regulation and oversight to keep American products competitive on the world market. Every time a Great Lakes ore-boat docks in Chicago, Gary or Detroit, it's possible only because of state and federal GOVERNMENT regulation and oversight - from the earth-movers to the trucks to the processing plants to the ships and the Coast Guard patrol boats and ice-breakers, GOVERNMENT plays a positive and essential role.

Tell that to tens-of-thousands of truck-drivers who fuel their trucks with diesel at prices lower than the rest of the world and drive on highways built and maintained through government contract, regulation and oversight.

Tell this to thousands of railroad employees whose trains run on tracks laid down on land granted to the railroads by GOVERNMENT legislation - land that was handed to them, without cost, and to this very day, GOVERNMENT regulation and oversight sustains interstate commerce and continues to benefit the railroads.

Every time an airliner flies overhead, or lands at LAX, it's GOVERNMENT that makes it possible.

In the past few days, gas-company workers have been repairing a gas-line in the alley behind our condo - their jobs are the result of GOVERNMENT regulation and oversight so that gas production on government lands can proceed and the price of gas remains reasonable. Transmission lines across the country, storage and production facilities, and gas-lines running beneath our streets into our homes - all of this through GOVERNMENT.

Several days ago, an auto accident on our street - several vehicles involved, lots of damage, no injuries - but firefighters and police were there, to direct traffic, investigate and keep folks safe - GOVERNMENT at work.

A strong national defense is possible only with a highly-trained professional army - in a world so complex as ours, state and national militias would fall far short of what's needed. Only GOVERNMENT is big enough to sustain a strong national defense, provide research for the best in equipment, fund hospitals for the injured and pensions for the disabled.

Though the conservatives promote and support private schools and home-schooling, American education relies, and will continue to rely, if we know what's good for us, upon an American invention - Public Education - the level playing-field where children early-on play and learn with children of other cultures and economic status, with teachers trained in colleges supported with GOVERNMENT grants and tuition-support  through scholarships and loans, in buildings built by GOVERNMENT, salaries paid by GOVERNMENT and pensions maintained and guarded by GOVERNMENT.

President Jefferson, a man often quoted by the conservatives on "small government," was quick to realize that the physical growth of the United States needed a strong and aggressive federal GOVERNMENT to negotiate for the Louisiana Purchase, and then to fund the Lewis and Clark Expedition. And throughout the early 1800s, highways and canals to further trade between the states, bring produce to the coast for shipment to Europe and strengthen our sense of unity - only GOVERNMENT could make all of this happen.

"Private business" is a misnomer - nothing is private, and though Laissez-faire has been the by-word of conservatives, the reality has always been a partnership between business and government, most often to the benefit of business as well as to the consumer.

Millions of jobs throughout the nation are directly or indirectly connected to GOVERNMENT. That's the way it's always been - kings and queens and bishops have always played a major role in the management of land and production and the military.

Big business is big because of big government, and jobs are created when the two work in partnership. Clearly, historically, from George Washington and his interests in canals to virtually every aspect of our life, GOVERNMENT is the essential player and the senior partner.