Peter Schiff - How the Government Can Create Jobs
On Tuesday, September 13, Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, www.europac.net will testify before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending. The hearing entitled, "Take Two: The President's Proposal to Stimulate the Economy and Create Jobs" will examine federal job creation efforts. Mr. Schiff, author of many best-selling books including “How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes” is well known for his views on how federal regulatory activism and irresponsible monetary and fiscal policy is actively destroying jobs in America. The following statement from Mr. Schiff will be read into the Congressional Record this morning. Within a few days, video of the hearings will be available on the Committee’s website.
How the Government Can Create Jobs
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking member, and all distinguished members of this panel. Thank you for inviting me here today to offer my opinions as to how the government can help the American economy recover from the worst crisis in living memory.
Despite the understandable human tendency to help others, government spending cannot be a net creator of jobs. Indeed many efforts currently under consideration by the Administration and Congress will actively destroy jobs. These initiatives must stop. While it is easy to see how a deficit-financed government program can lead to the creation of a specific job, it is much harder to see how other jobs are destroyed by the diversion of capital and resources. It is also difficult to see how the bigger budget deficits sap the economy of vitality, destroying jobs in the process.
In a free market jobs are created by profit seeking businesses with access to capital. Unfortunately Government taxes and regulation diminish profits, and deficit spending and artificially low interest rates inhibit capital formation. As a result unemployment remains high, and will likely continue to rise until policies are reversed.
It is my belief that a dollar of deficit spending does more damage to job creation than a dollar of taxes. That is because taxes (particularly those targeting the middle or lower income groups) have their greatest impact on spending, while deficits more directly impact savings and investment. Contrary to the beliefs held by many professional economists spending does not make an economy grow. Savings and investment are far more determinative. Any program that diverts capital into consumption and away from savings and investment will diminish future economic growth and job creation.
Creating jobs is easy for government, but all jobs are not equal. Paying people to dig ditches and fill them up does society no good. On balance these “jobs” diminish the economy by wasting scarce land, labor and capital. We do not want jobs for the sake of work, but for the goods and services they produce. As it has a printing press, the government could mandate employment for all, as did the Soviet Union. But if these jobs are not productive, and government jobs rarely are, society is no better for it.