Monday, October 25, 2010

Can the private sector really flourish without the public sector?

I'm getting fed up with a tired meme. A lot of conservative politicians who are running for office are upset with the federal government's involvement in the private sector. Their argument lies upon a false premise: that the government cannot create private sector jobs.

Besides the obvious failure of comprehension -- anyone with an internet connection can read the CBO's report on the millions of jobs created as a result of the stimulus package -- the idea that an unrestricted private sector is all that's needed to create jobs is bogus.

Consider when, under the Clinton administration, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed. What happened then? Jobs went south of the border to where cheaper labor could be found. Additional free trade deals had similar effects: jobs, specifically in manufacturing, were exported from America to other countries in favor of cheap labor.

It's true that the public sector shouldn't be depended upon to provide work opportunities to the people; the private sector needs to provide the bulk of jobs in our country. But the public sector does play a vital role in creating work for people, directly through public works projects and indirectly through regulations that ensure American jobs stop going overseas.

Relying SOLELY on either private or public sectors to create jobs won't accomplish anything. Job creation requires a delicate balance of both, with the public sector laying out appropriate rules and regulations for businesses as well as the occasional contracted public works project, in order to provide a framework that's both fair and full of potential for the private sector to take advantage of.

Conservatives rail against any involvement of government, any attempts by the public sector, in assisting struggling small businesses or workers seeking employment. They deride liberals as being communists/socialists that seek to control the economic outcomes of the marketplace. In truth, it is corporate interests that are hoping to control the economy, through keeping the status quo in check and restricting those ingenious Americans (who have driven our country since its birth) from being a part of the marketplace.

Liberals don't want to control the economy -- they want to expand it to even more Americans with even more great ideas. You can't expand the economy through conservative principles, which oftentimes require you to be rich in order to participate in the first place. Instead, you need to expand access to the market through regulation of large corporations (who send jobs overseas) and some degree of assistance to small business owners. Only then can the economy expand, can middle-class jobs flourish, and can we preserve jobs from further being exported away from our country.

Don't buy the conservative hype: public sector assistance is needed in order to ensure a level playing field for all within the United States economy.

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