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Growing government to create jobs like prescribing whiskey to cure alcoholism (02/14/2010)
By John Edstrom

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s State of the State address Thursday gives further strong evidence that he may well be part of the GOP presidential ticket in 2012. It should certainly ring out to those who are looking to see a way clear from this mess into which our government has landed its citizens.* If politicians would only listen to those who create the jobs, Pawlenty said, “This is what it’ll hear loud and clear: Get out of our way. Leave us alone. Make it easier, not harder.” The Governor, who claimed credit for actually cutting spending for the first time in Minnesota history, went on to call for tax credits and cuts for employers and, more importantly, a constitutional limit on state spending.

It should be finally clear after the Bush era, and this first horrible year of the Obama administration, that governmental spending is out of control and that it is a systemic problem. At the end of George Bush’s presidency, many were saying that the only difference between the parties was that the Democrats were out-and-out thieves, while the Republicans only pretended otherwise. (This last year of total Democratic control in Washington has, however, muted that sort of talk.) In any case, it has become increasingly obvious that there has to be some kind of institutional brake on spending if our republic can survive, and politicians who call for it will be taken seriously.

By the yardstick of economic growth, the recession has been over for some time, but not according to stubbornly grim unemployment numbers which threaten the dreaded double dip. The Governor is right. The only thing that will fire up the engine of job creation again is for the government to get out of the way, with its threats of crushing new taxes, regulations, programs, and costs to be borne by the employer and economy at large. Who would assume the responsibility of taking on new employees going into an almost certain inflationary period brought on by out-of-control government spending which did not create real jobs, but only more government ones which will have to be funded by an increasingly beleaguered private sector?

What the Washington pols certainly can do to promote job growth is:

1.) Turn back the remaining TARP funds and unspent stimulus money to bring the deficit down now;

2.) Quit threatening to cripple the American economy over what is an increasingly obvious bogus issue, global warming;

3.) Institute modest health care reform which will cost nothing by allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, eliminating government mandates on it, and extending its tax deductibility to individuals;

4.) Re-up the Bush tax cuts and start making serious moves towards cost control in government, perhaps by requiring balanced budgets or instituting spending caps.

Growing government under the guise of creating jobs is like prescribing whiskey as a cure for alcoholism.


* Those who still credit the theory that this recession was caused by Wall Street or greedy bankers should refer to an excellent editorial in last Thursday’s Minneapolis Tribune, “It’s easy, but wrong, to blame the market.” 


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