10/09/11 — Do something? Economic picture suggests that doing the RIGHT thing a must

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Do something? Economic picture suggests that doing the RIGHT thing a must

It is an old rallying cry.

When a challenge looms and conditions do not seem to be getting any better, the call rises -- "do SOMETHING."

It is usually not good advice, because it suggests not measured, reasoned action, but throwing a solution out there to see if it sticks.

And now, that is exactly what is happening when it comes to fixing the morass that has become the economic picture in this country.

President Barack Obama is trying to shame Congress into passing a jobs bill that is anemic at best and totally worthless at its worst.

The reason? Simple. Things are not getting better and doing something is better than admitting that this crisis is not close to a resolution.

We have been here before. The stimulus was supposed to prevent high jobless numbers -- it didn't. The weakening of the requirements to own a home was supposed to put more people in homes -- it did exactly the opposite.

We have been through the quick starts and the feel-good strategies. Now it is time to try something else, something with substance.

So let's boil it down. What will it take to get this economy back on the right road? How do we make businesses and consumers confident again?

The answer is jobs -- real, sustainable jobs, not make-work that puts a few thousand construction workers back on the job, but does nothing to repair the underlying factors that caused this problem in the first place.

There are millions of Americans right now who want to work. They are facing situations where they simply cannot find employment in the fields where their expertise lies. They are facing the difficult choice of staying on unemployment, which pays more, or getting back into the workforce in any job.

We have businesses that are terrified of the future and are struggling to keep their doors open. They cannot afford to take on the expense of more payroll when they do not know what their tax or regulatory burden will be next year. They are also terrified of the mess health care reform will bring.

The best way to encourage growth is to make it fiscally feasible. That means removing obstacles to expansion and investment and cutting taxes to allow businesses to invest capital they have been hoarding just in case a new regulation or expense comes from Washington. It means putting a firm plan in place that makes job growth a priority by supporting the business community, not expanding government.

Right now, just getting people back to work is not enough. We need policies that support the idea that it is time to invest again in this country.

We do not need bubbles, government bureaucracy and quick fixes. They just don't work.

We need a practical plan that stops the spending train, weeds out government excess and puts a priority on creating the conditions that will allow growth and jobs. And we need to get out of debt.

Getting there is not going to be easy.

But throwing a plan together just to say we are doing something will not make a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.

To accomplish that, we have to face a few realities.

And that starts with policies that create jobs, not just words designed to win elections.

Published in Editorials on October 9, 2011 3:03 AM