“Well, if I was President …” How many times have you heard that phrase? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself while having a beer with colleagues after work, or sitting around the dinner table at Thanksgiving, the picnic table on Independence Day or while passing the gravy to your cousin at Christmas dinner or even when just speaking casually to perfect strangers in line at the checkout at Home Depot or Walmart.
This year especially, with political passions running high and the contrasts between the candidates being highlighted by the dismal economy, unsettling world events, another potential war in the Middle East (with the possibility of nuclear weapons thrown in just for added visual appeal for the media) I feel fairly sure that the phrase is being used at least several million times an hour. Well, maybe not quite that often, but pretty frequently.
How I’d Create Jobs
The first thing that I would do as President is try to convince the American people that the President can never create jobs in the private sector. He can create public sector positions that don’t really add anything at all to the nation’s economy, but create private sector jobs? Sorry, not even a remote possibility.
The only things that the President can do with regard to private sector job growth would be to delay it, impeded it, set it back, retard it, interfere with it, or sabotage it. Well, you get the general idea.
The most corrosive influence on private sector job creation is uncertainty. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, or they’d be working for someone else. They are willing to risk their own money, their time, their energy and their ideas. But like all risk takers, they like to at least have an idea of what odds they’re facing.
When the government can’t (or because it’s an election year, won’t) tell them what the tax rates will be next year, how much it will cost them to hire a new employee in terms of fringe benefits, or even if certain fringe benefits will be mandated (as in Europe with mandated vacations), or if they will be able to import, export, borrow, lend, buy, sell, what permits and approvals they will need, etc., etc., etc., it makes it impossible for anyone to predict if their business plan will survive. I don’t care if you’re Joe the Plumber drafting that business plan at the kitchen table, or Bill Gates, Jeff Immelt or the late Steve Jobs, it’s not going to work.
On the other hand, the President can be a big help in reducing or even eliminating the hurdles that the rest of the government has created to cripple private sector job growth.
So the first step is to issue an executive order to every department in the Executive Branch that they have six months to eliminate any and all job killing regulations that have not been specifically required by legislation. Any regulation that fails to be eliminated will be balanced with the elimination of the Cabinet Secretary of the department that created the regulation.
Liberals and Progressives would say that would be punitive, but it seems fair to me.
Along similar lines, I would issue an Executive Order freezing all civilian hiring in the Executive Branch. I would also freeze all civilian pay levels until wage levels in the private sector reached the same level as federal employees for comparable work.
These two Executive Orders would immediately begin to reduce the size of government. Even if you assume that the average federal bureaucrat retires after 30 years, with no replacements, that would mean that the government would shrink from its current size at a rate of 3% per year. Add in the fact that those in government who stay and do not retire will be frozen at their current level of income for the foreseeable future, there will be a lot of people dusting off their resumes, and looking for work at the state and local levels, or (*gasp*) thinking about trying to succeed in the private sector. That would reduce the number of Federal employees by another couple of percent. I one assumes a 5% annual reduction from the bloated headcount that currently eats at the public trough, if I was re-elected, in eight years that would mean a 40% reduction in civilian government headcount without one single person being laid off, furloughed, down-sized or whatever euphemism is currently in fashion.
I’m afraid that there’s nothing the President can do to stop states and localities from hiring these people and driving up local taxes, but even the most profligate states will see the light when any bill that is designed to subsidize local employment costs will be vetoed, and the idiots in Congress who proposed the bill called out publicly.
I will plead guilty to a minor hypocrisy here. I would add a couple of jobs to the White House staff.
I would establish a position within the office of the White House counsel to review all legislation submitted by Congress and any time Congress delegates rule making to the Executive Branch (as in finding the phrase “…as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services…” for example), I would veto the law and note in my veto that, as written the law is unconstitutional.
Article I, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states quite clearly:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution lists all those things that the people of the United States have given Congress the power to do. Nowhere in that list is the power to delegate legislative authority to the Executive Branch of the government enumerated.
Congress, and Congress alone, has the power to make laws and regulations and they are not given any power to allow them to share that power with any executive department.
I would, however, be willing to sign legislation that demanded that each and every regulation created by an executive department be submitted to Congress for a full vote of both houses before becoming an active part of the legislation in question.
No matter how smart bureaucrats might be, no matter how knowledgeable in terms of policy, no matter how extensive their background and education in their special area of expertise, they have not been empowered by the Constitution to make law. They are not accountable to the voters, and they frequently exhibit personal agendas that are contrary to the wishes of the electorate and are counterproductive to our national interests.
Should Congress override my veto of such legislation, the Attorney General would be instructed to immediately petition the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of such delegation of legislative authority, and request an injunction against implementing the legislation in question until such time as the constitutional issue is resolved.
Environmental Legislation and Regulation
If you look around you have to notice that it is a rare sight to see anyone doing anything by hand. Yes, it is done, but rarely is it done commercially. Personally, I enjoy woodworking, and I enjoy the sanding, sawing, working with a hand plane and so on, but there is no reasonable way to do that on a commercial scale. Yes, artisans and master craftsmen can make a living doing things by hand, but only with an upscale client base, regardless of what the modern day Luddites in the environmental community preach.
That being said, to maintain a modern, industrialized society, we need energy. Economical energy, in large quantities. If we maintain such a society, one of the primary benefits is always job creation.
Wow! Am I saying that getting control over runaway environmental regulation will produce jobs? No, but I am saying that eliminating ideological barriers to energy exploitation, and eliminating the number of environmentalist lawsuits based on politically correct and manipulated junk-science will go a long way toward reducing uncertainty.
This article will be continued…if readers respond positively.