Creating jobs should not be a mystery

Jim Powell:

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The first step is to make private-sector job creation a top priority. That's vital, because the private sector pays all the bills. Government doesn't have any money other than what it extracts from the private sector. Well, Mr. Obama never made the recovery of private-sector job creation a top priority because he was busy pushing his progressive agenda, including a big "stimulus" bill for government employees, government-run health care, more compulsory unionism, carbon taxes and other policies that have a negative impact on private-sector employment.

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If private-sector job creation is a top priority, government must reduce the cost of hiring people and remove other obstacles to employment. Payroll taxes make it more expensive for employers to hire people, and Mr. Obama increased payroll taxes. Minimum-wage laws discourage employers from hiring people who are worth less than the legal minimum because of their limited skills and work experience - Mr. Obama didn't try to stop last year's minimum-wage increase. Mr. Obama backs labor unions that obtain above-market compensation and benefits, pricing employers out of markets (autos, steel, textiles, etc.) and destroying private-sector jobs. Obamacare imposes penalties on employers who hire more than 50 people. Mr. Obama is spending trillions of dollars the government doesn't have, which naturally leads employers to anticipate higher taxes, and they're reluctant to hire people before they know how high taxes are likely to be. Mr. Obama's financial "reform" bill authorizes government agencies to issue hundreds of costly regulations, and the resulting uncertainty further discourages employers from making financial commitments needed to hire people.

Mr. Obama has similarly throttled private-sector investment. He threatened to increase taxes on dozens of the top U.S.-based multinational companies, which would tend to depress their shares that are in individual securities accounts, pension funds, endowment funds and other portfolios. Mr. Obama repeatedly has demanded "soak-the-rich" taxes on private-sector job creators. He raised taxes on interest, dividends, annuities and rents. And of course, Mr. Obama wants the George W. Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of this year, which, in effect, means tax increases, including a top federal income tax rate of 39.6 percent, a dividend tax of 39.6 percent, a long-term capital gains tax of 20 percent, a return of marriage-tax penalties, a return of the death tax (55 percent on estates over $1 million) and a phaseout of itemized deductions for private-sector job creators - all this in addition to applicable state and city income taxes. Bottom line: less private-sector capital available to create private-sector jobs.

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Liberalism is costing the US jobs and wealth creation. Obama's approach to the Bush tax cuts suggest he is determined to go with confiscatory taxes on the rich who are already paying more than their fair share of the taxes. As a starting point he should be prepared to say what percentage of income taxes the top five percent of Americans should be paying. If they are already paying over half of the income taxes, then they are not being under taxed.

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