Tag Archive for 'Ray Keating'

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors

It is generally stipulated among political experts and interested observers of the 2012 election cycle that the presidential contest will be heavily weighted toward the condition of the economy, especially unemployment.

The unemployment metric most often cited by the media and politicians, called U-3, is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and was recently reported to be 8.3%, or just over 12 million Americans. This number does not include those who have given up looking for a job or transferred onto Social Security disability.

But there is another statistic tracked by the BLS called U-6, which covers a more comprehensive unemployment universe, including those who have stopped looking and those who are involuntarily underemployed. The most recent U-6 number came in at 14.8% of the workforce, or more than 22 million Americans. Expect to hear more about U-6 between now and November 6.

It can also be stipulated that the Obama Administration has been keen to promote “green jobs,” seemingly, at times, at the expense of not-so-green jobs. We wanted to know what small business owners think about this type of economic focus, so we asked this question in a recent online poll: “Emphasizing ‘green jobs’ has been a big part of the Obama Administration’s plan for the direction of the U.S. economy. Do you agree with this plan?” Here’s what we learned:

Those who said, “Government should significantly influence conversion to a green economy,” came in at 15% of our sample. The other 85% said, “Innovation and customers should decide how the marketplace converts to green.” This topic apparently brings out strong feelings, because none of our respondents were “Uncertain.”

Another stipulation we can make is that everyone likes it when a “green job” is created. First, it’s a job. Second, it’s good for the environment. And third, well, it just makes us feel good. But right now, what America needs is for the millions of small businesses to create any kind of jobs – period! It shouldn’t matter if it’s green, brown, periwinkle, or any other color in the Crayola box; we need all kinds of jobs – and we need millions of them as soon as possible.

In America’s free market economy, jobs are a product of opportunity and a casualty of fear and uncertainty. Small businesses are telling Washington to promote opportunity for all jobs with policies that minimize fear and uncertainty.

A single-minded focus on green jobs isn’t good economics, policy or politics.


Yesterday on my radio program I talked more about the focus on green jobs and why I - and 85% of my viewers - believe the government should provide opportunities for all businesses, not just green ones. I’ve also had a conversation with Ray Keating, Chief Economist of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council about why there are policies and regulations that favor green jobs, sometimes at the expense of other jobs. Click on the links below to download or listen.

Also, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on whether the government should create specific policies for and subsidize green jobs.

What kind of jobs does President Obama like? with Ray Keating

America needs jobs in all the Crayola colors with Jim Blasingame

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Don’t call it small business economic stimulus if it’s really just more pork

So, we have a new Congress and administration who are tasked with strengthening our financial system and economy which, on many fronts, is in dire straights. With that in mind, the new House of Representatives delivered to the Senate for their consideration an $818 billion bill that is its answer to economic stimulus, called the “American Recovery and Re-investment Act.” It doesn’t take long, nor a degree in economics, to see that this bill could never be mistaken for a stimulus package and, sadly, is nothing but a pork-barrel spending spree. With interest, it’s generally accepted that this bill will reach $1.3 TRILLION - that’s right, with a “T.”

Wouldn’t a reasonable person think that a stimulus package would be front-loaded to have its intended effect in 2009 and 2010? But according to a Congressional report, only $26 billion would be spent in 2009 and $110 billion in 2010. That’s less than 17% in the first two years. Some of the money in this bill would be spent as late as 2019. Shouldn’t a stimulus bill be designed with a greater sense of urgency?

And wouldn’t that same reasonable person think the goal would be to actually stimulate the economy by encouraging employers to keep their employees and create new jobs? So, what does the bill provide for the largest job creation sector in the economy, small businesses? Primarily an extension of existing tax deductions, like the ability to expense up to $250,000 of capital items in one year instead of depreciating them over time. Plus, less than a handful of other tax provisions, none of which will free up the credit market or encourage a business to hire or at least not lay off. That’s it for small business - more of what we already had.

But there is $550 billion in NEW spending (a/k/a Pork) and $90 billion for infrastructure, most of which won’t hit the economy in the next 12 months. Then there’s $87 billion for Medicaid and $79 billion for schools, just to name a few. Now, reasonable people can disagree about whether this money should be spent on these things, but no reasonable person could argue that this money will stimulate the economy very much, and certainly not in the next critical 12-18 months.

At this time, the bill is in the Senate where it will be modified to produce that body’s version. Then it will go to the Conference Committee for final editing before going to the President. Let’s hope that somewhere along the way those who understand the difference between pork and stimulus will prevail and the new bill will have more of the latter and less of the former. Otherwise, we’ll be better off with no bill.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I discussed this issue with several public policy experts who are members of my Brain Trust, including Ray Keating, Chief Economist for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (sbecouncil.org); Giovanni Coratolo, Director of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce(uschamber.com); and Rich Galen, creator of the cyber-column, Mullings.com and political strategist (Republican). Here are the links to each of those interviews. Don’t miss what these smart men have to say. Also below is a link to my individual thoughts on the so-called economic stimulus package.
For Ray Keating:
For Giovanni Coratolo:
For Rich Galen:
For Jim Blasingame:

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