Tuesday, March 22, 2011

End the wars, cure cancer, create jobs

Is the nation war weary? Would the $700 billion this nation is spending on wars be better spent creating jobs for Americans at home?

There is a double-edged sword in the conundrum offered by those two questions.

I've had an epiphany! The Republicans are right! We don't need more public-sector spending to create jobs. We need the private sector to invest money in more businesses to create jobs.

Public-sector jobs are real jobs and help the economy because money in the pockets of public employees is spent just like the money in the pockets of private-sector employees.There's no discriminating between dollars spent in a free market. We are all consumers, and the American consumer has always led the nation's economy toward growth and confidence.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, on Charlie Rose last night, mentioned he would like to see the $700 billion we're spending on warfare nowadays returned to the domestic economy in order to keep from "savaging" government programs here at home.

That's fine. But Republicans are essentially right when they say government spending does not create jobs. Private businesses create jobs that public-sector jobs are intended to serve. The need to hire hundreds of lawyers to staff the Security and Exchange Commission arises from the thousands of jobs created in the financial sector by private businesses taking financial risks to boost the nation's prosperity.

Teachers are hired to serve the children of parents working in both the public and private sectors who want to provide a better life for their kids.

Health-insurance companies create jobs to serve private employers who want to provide affordable health insurance to workers whose health or illness creates jobs in the private health industry: nurses, doctors, lab technicians, record keepers and computer techs to create data bases to hold paper medical histories converted to digits. And the health-care industry needs public-sector regulators hired to oversee it.

But no one gets to create jobs if private investors don't have enough confidence in the American economy to invest in it. No one gets to return modernized, outsourced jobs to American shores unless private American money is pumped with confidence into successful, well-managed American firms.

War weary is right. We are all weary of the wars that keep claiming the lives of men and women who could contribute to a peace-time economy at home.

Contribute, for example, to the war against cancer that also keeps claiming life after life after life in this country and around the world. A drug war that seems eminently more winnable than any of the foreign wars we're waging because it actually has produced recent advances that have saved lives.

That's where the $700 billion could be put to better use for all Americans. End the wars, cure cancer and create jobs, too.

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