Dysfunctional Government or Business?
Once again NY Times columnist David Brooks hits the (hammer) head on the (thumb) nail in today’s column. He asserts “that business people think that government is so dysfunctional that they are afraid to invest and spur growth.” They indeed might think government dysfunctional, but that’s not the reason for lack of new investment and hiring. And businesses might also be afraid to invest. They are afraid because they can afford to be afraid, but not a fear of government. A lot of businesses are sitting on stockpiles of cash and have learned during the past recession years that they can get by without additional hiring by demanding employees work longer and harder without significant wage increases. Not much incentive to hire when workers fear layoffs. First it was the excuse of the “fiscal cliff” for not expanding and hiring. Now it’s the sequestration. They blame the government when the real reason lies in their new timid austerity and obsession for wringing the maximum profits out of the minimum workforce rather than boldly investing, creating jobs and helping the economy expand. And maybe this time government, as Reagan once said, is also part of the problem. Not for interference and regulation or tax policies. It’s partially to blame because it’s not doing enough. It’s not spending enough to create new jobs. Once government unleashes the power of public sector jobs programs, investment in infrastructure, bridges, highways, the electrical grid, then dysfunctional business will see the error of its frugal fiscal folly and follow and cash-in with new investments and jobs.