The New Frontier (might need a new leader)
During the State of the Union address President Obama told us, "The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100."
It's not news, but it's a new approach for a President who has spent two years bashing some of our best job providers: Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Banks, Las Vegas, etc. As the unemployment rate remains between 9 and 10 percent, the President is singing a new song.
Now our political class is focused on Vice President Joe Biden's favorite four-letter word, "J-O-B-S." If the unemployment rate continues to hover between 9 and 10 percent, I predict it'll be curtains for the President in 2012.
Two years ago he told us the stimulus bill would bring down a growing unemployment rate, but in reality the bill ran up the deficit and created zero permanent jobs, according to the San Francisco office of the Federal Reserve.
Obama summoned government types and academics to his jobs summit, but he did not invite members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – people who actually have created jobs! Now the President wants to "invest" taxpayer dollars in high-speed trains and wall-to-wall Internet access, and maintain a level of control through tax incentives and mandates.
Seems to me the best option for the government is to get out of the way of the private sector and let it work its magic. If it would give the reigning goverment more sense of control, I'd like to suggest it pass a moratorium on lamebrain regulations and busybody mandates. Business will expand and hire, and Americans will innovate – just as we have before.
Meanwhile, we have to realize that even though the U.S. is still No. 1 in manufacturing, we have lost millions of those jobs that propped up the middle class, and they're not coming back.
It's a jungle out there. We live in a global marketplace with intense competition for jobs. Women are competing with men, states are competing with other states, and the U.S. is competing with China, Mexico, India and any number of countries hosting job-creating companies.
We need to prepare youngsters for this new world. They must appreciate the opportunities presented by our system of economics, and realize their responsibility to become self-sufficient. Newcomers to the workforce should be focused on value, not credentials. A four-year degree or certificate of proficiency is impressive, but not as much as an employee whose ideas improve a company's bottom line.
I would predict that most new jobs will be created in the digital playground of the Internet. I also predict we'll see an increase in the self-employed: more IT consultants, landscape specialists, personal trainers, specialty shop owners, artists of every stripe, etc.
We cannot predict from where the next big batch of jobs will come, but we do know that existing businesses will expand and hire, and new start-ups will increase when there is a consistent message coming from Washington D.C. – a message that does not include cash rebates for buying overpriced electric cars, or mandates to use unreliable energy sources.
As much as politicians want to see new jobs created, they must realize their role is to back off and show a little love for the private sector – let job creators create while they, the politicians, do what they do bed: figure out how to take credit or deflect blame before the 2012 election.