President Obama’s much publicized “you didn’t build that” comment reveals much about the misguided and ill-informed logic of our senior political leaders. Implied in the statement is the notion that your job or business would have been impossible to obtain without direct government assistance. As a small business owner, combat veteran, and self-made man, I tend to take a bit of offense. I would go on to say the real point should be that it is amazing anyone is still able to build a thing in spite of the government, which from oppressive regulation and endless taxation, to not enforcing fair trading practices with foreign nations and cronyism, seems to have done everything in its power to prevent one from succeeding.
When it comes to business, nothing is better for a strong economy than developing and growing actual profitable businesses. This profoundly obvious reality is completely foreign to the career bureaucrats that believe only through social programs and endless website links can businesses be built. Perhaps if we just taxed you a few percentage points more and paid for thousands more government bureaucrats to teach you how to do a web search for “job seeking” we would all be better off? Not likely, unless you consider endless and unsustainable growth paid for by the private sector a healthy economic trend.
If one actually takes the time to really look at the massive number of loosely categorized government “jobs” programs and agencies, one will find no real programs that produce jobs. Mainly, the money being spent goes to big businesses or local and state governments that will then hand the money off again (after taking a cut) to other useless entities such as centers for helping someone look for a job that doesn’t exist. I am particularly fond of my tax dollars going to fund ever growing armies of social workers to repeatedly attempt and fail to provide job training to felons on welfare that never had a job nor intend to since they are already collecting unemployment, Medicaid, Social Security, and various other forms of welfare and food stamps when not living in publicly funded prisons or housing. In fact, a detailed review of government “jobs” programs reveals the only thing you will find is an endless chain of bureaucrats creating more bureaucratic positions at the taxpayers’ expense. What is really occurring, it appears, is that you are taxed at incredibly high rates so that the government can fund an infinite number of useless, feel good programs that purportedly are there to help you. When these don’t work, the answer is to tax you more and create even more useless and bureaucratic programs that “talk” about job creation, but never actually accomplish it.
The game is rigged people! First, the government takes your money by force via the IRS. If you don’t believe the money is being taken by force, try not paying your taxes and let me know how that goes. Next, the money stolen from you is used to fund hundreds of useless bureaus, agencies, and boards that claim to “help” you find a job or build a business. These agencies then demand mountains of paperwork and approvals that all combine to employ thousands more useless bureaucrats so that you can apply to have them give you your money back with interest in what they call a “business loan.” Of course if you have somehow managed to acquire any real property by this point in life, the government will make you risk it as collateral so that it can minimize its risk when loaning your “your money” back. This is big money for the government and it actually profits from loaning you your own money. This is why when it comes to jobs programs, be it the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Bureau, the Department of Labor, or your state and local economic development boards, they all seem to want to give you loans.
The fact is, that whenever money is directly provided for economic development, it is not provided for starting a business, but rather, it is used to fund more government programs designed to sound good. However, these programs fail to create a single non-government job. Sometimes though, the money will be earmarked for a big utility to cover the costs of renovating its facilities all while still billing the consumer for “needed upgrades.” Other times it is earmarked for local governments and small businesses to purchase obsolete, inefficient, or overpriced services and equipment no one would ever purchase if subjected to a true fair market. This is the essence of crony capitalism. The point is that none of this money is actually going to create businesses. Say what you may about communist China, but at least when the government gets involved, it funds actual hard industry and businesses that do employ people!
Sometimes it is easiest to define what a government program does by defining what it doesn’t do. This may be the case for the host of government “jobs” programs. What you won’t see from a government jobs program is a single government program that will give you a grant to actually start a business. That is unless you are a friend of the President and operate a completely fraudulent company producing nothing functional, but maintain a catchy eco-friendly name and allegedly produce “green” alternative energy products. That may not be a totally inclusive statement though so one must also include union bailouts at the expense of taxpayers in right to work states. That said, this is disastrous for American competitiveness and a healthy free market. Disagree this is the case? I urge you to go to the Department of Veterans Affairs website and see for yourself. In plain English, in their words, on their deceptively named “VetBiz” webpage will tell you:
“Grants are a form of funding for specific federal research and social programs. Contrary to popular belief, there are no Federal grants made specifically for the purpose of starting a business.”
I couldn’t have stated the absurd reality and waste of government funds more honestly and to the point. You can read this under the grants paragraph at http://www.va.gov/osdbu/veteran/vepFunding.asp
If not a big enough waste, the VA also likes to add insult to injury. Under “Education Benefits” it notes it will only pay for programs offered by government run Small Business Development Centers even if they are absurd, useless, and not at all what one may need to be competitive or gainfully employed in today’s market. The “excellent” careers veterans can look forward to being trained for are a barber/beautician, HVAC repairman, and a truck driver. Wow, I wonder if I can also aspire to be a janitor! This isn’t meant to disparage anyone performing these jobs, but only to point out the degree to which the government believes veterans are capable of performing. A more reasonable person might suggest that a computer scientist, electronics engineer, or hedge fund manager might be a more challenging and profitable career path for veterans, but apparently the government sees those that served and protected our nation as the few, the proud, the minimum wage workers.
The point ladies and gentlemen is to reiterate that the government cannot and does not produce jobs. At best, it can only create more bureaucracy that stifles jobs and destroys a healthy economy. In fact, government should completely remove itself from this farce that by any reasonable estimate is costing taxpayers with actual jobs billions and providing a negative net return. No Mr. Obama, we did not build this worthless bureaucratic nightmare, you did. Now please, “Mr. #Ineverhadarealjobinmylife,” stay out of the way and allow those with actual skills, motivation, and experience to get back to what we know best, creating real jobs!