2016 marks yet another election year and the promise is ripe that our next president will enact national changes across the country to better the job outlook. While many critics may argue that stimulating a healthy economy is a near impossible goal, I say that the idea is still extremely possible. But in order for the next president to be successful, he or she must rely on an important element: our history. To better understand the history of job growth and economic stimulation, we must look to the policies that our prior presidents enacted.
FDR: Public Work
Part of FDR’s New Deal, the Public Works Administration (PWA) officially began in 1933 in an effort to create more jobs and revamp the struggling post-depression economy. The policy goals were simple: the Administration spent more than 6 billion dollars to private contractors who hired individuals to complete the work. Projects include street and highway creation and the building of schools, dams, bridges, and tunnels. Most notably, the PWA is best known for its successful efforts in re-creating jobs and stimulating the economy. While the job rate remained lower than pre-depression levels, the PWA was responsible for providing steady employment to more than 9 million Americans.
Obama’s Revitalizing Role
Since Barack Obama took office in 2008, he’s created more than 9.2 million jobs. And while many argue that’s he’s effectively pulled the economy out of the Great Recession, his success is clouded by FDR and several other presidents’ earlier reigns. To understand why Obama has not achieved the success as his prior Republican and Democratic powerhouses, one must simply look at the strategy involved in the job creation process.
FDR’s creation of jobs is still relevant today. In fact, President Obama enacted the exact policy to create a record-number of jobs. Yet, one may observe that Obama’s key failure can be linked to the fact that the newly created infrastructure jobs required a union bid, and states with restrictive States Rights, prevented many contractors from acquiring these jobs.
Simply stated, this strategy does not fit our country. Jobs should not be limited to union contractors, and instead, should be open to all bidders. FDR’s ability to stimulate the economy rested on his work with privatized companies.
Understanding how jobs were created in the past is vastly important. As is the question of where the jobs have gone and why?
In the 1930’s and 40’s,manufacturing was exploding, coal was exploding. But that has since disappeared. Factories are all but abandoned. If we are to return to the roots of our healthy economy, we must examine the departure of these industries.
To start, we must begin to incentivize companies to open more plants in the United States. This will requires that the government grant the company deep tax incentives. It’s not realistic for a company to invest 100 million dollars in a long-term investment without an appropriate reward.
It’s also unrealistic for companies to turn to domestic production while the domestic resources needed to create the product are scarce. China’s power lies in its grasp of both resource and production. If the United States is serious about bring back its manufacturing jobs, we must also discuss how we’ll obtain resources; efficiently and sustainably.
Yes, this will mean that the government is taking less tax money for the next twenty years, but the strategy is sound. We must buckle our belts and invest in people, in jobs. The true success of our tax system relies on a sound economy–an economy where people are working and paying taxes. We must make this cycle run at its optimal speed in order to increase our speed, our productivity.
The election is still months away, yet the future is full of hope. Let’s hope that our next president is able to sow the seeds from history’s past; to cultivate the thriving, American economy, and to invest in the heart of our great nation: we, the working people.