There’s a common misconception floating around out there, on both sides of the political isle, that government and governors create jobs. This is an absolute falsehood that has far-reaching implications for America’s economy and system of government. Our founders established for us a limited government that would unleash the unlimited potential of individual Americans and American businesses. The idea was to prescribe the right amount of government to keep order, but not enough to obstruct the energy and optimism of the American People.
In these days of economic doldrums, however, there seems to be way too much focus on government when it comes to job creation. Last night’s GOP debate was a unique forum for illustrating my point. Even the party of which I am a member, which is a party of limited government, seems beholden to comparing government job creation numbers. For example, last evening Governors Romney, Perry and Huntsman bantered back and forth on who had the best job creation record of the three. Though I realize that at least two of those governors (Romney and Perry) don’t adhere to a government-centric view of economic development, their statements on job creation seemed to indicate a view opposite their own. Private individuals and companies create jobs in Massachussetts, Texas and in every other state, not state, local or Federal governments; therefore, a better comparison these three gentlemen would be to look at what did they do to get government out-of-the-way, not knee deep in trying to centrally plan an economy.
State-run attempts at economic development are rarely, if ever, efficient. This fact was illustrated here in our own state of South Carolina earlier this month. Recently, Gov. Nikki Haley and her economic development team spent over $127,000 on a trip to France in the name of job creation. Though there have been no closed economic development deals from this globe-trotting, disclosures have indicated that the Governor and her staff sipped champagne at fine restaurants and slept in five-star hotels, some of it paid for on the taxpayers’ dime.
I believe the private citizens and businesses of South Carolina can create more bang for the economic development buck if we’d just return those funds to them. A lower tax structure, less government regulation, a fair legal environment and limited government spending are the recipe for economic success, not ostentatious government galas aimed at wooing well-connected corporations. Americans create jobs for America, not the government. That’s a fact conservatives will do well to remember.
I think we all need to adopt Governor Rick Perry’s pledge to make Washington DC as inconsequential in the lives of Americans as possible. I might add, however, that we keep state capitols out of the mix as much as possible as well. Freedom leads to a flourishing economy and culture, which raises the standard of living of all our people.