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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/19/12

Three Simple Fixes To Nearly Everything

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Sometimes things really are "complicated." But most of the time when someone complains that solutions offered won't work because "it's more complicated than that," it isn't. And what those resistant to change are really saying is, "The way it is is good for me and I don't want it to change, even if the way it is is bad for everyone else."

So here are my "simple" solutions to three of the most vexing problems facing the nation right now. I am, after all, a simple soul, so here we go:

1) Ending the (De-)Recession

Here's a "chicken/egg" puzzle that isn't a puzzle at all, or at least shouldn't be. Because it's really quite simple. The question is, in a consumer-driven economy, what's the best way to spur growth? 

The obvious answer is that consumers need to spend more on goods and services. That IS the answer, and both conservatives and liberals agree. The argument is over how to make that happen. Again, the answer is really quite obvious. 

If consumers require really only one thing to loosen their purse strings: jobs and job security. 

So jobs and job security  must  come first. Period. Out of work consumers, and consumers in constant fear of losing their jobs, will save, not spend. While saving is just fine, smart and laudable, too much saving depresses interest rates, slows growth and what you end up with is a never-ending Japan-like stagnation and institutional drift.

It's all about jobs.  

2) How to create jobs .

So if job creation must come first, how are jobs created? Two ways.

  • Consumer spending creates demand for the production, transportation and sales jobs.

  • Government jobs and government-sponsored and funded private sector job programs, such as infrastructure modernization and creation. 

Conservatives hate the second option and continue demanding that politicians create a regulatory and tax environment that favors the first option. But at the same time conservatives maintain that outsourcing of jobs by corporations is not only the right thing to do to keep costs down, but an obligation to corporate shareholders to "maximize profits."

It's a self-defeating cycle. But conservatives have put themselves in an ideological box on that one. If they set the moral and patriotic bottom line for corporations so low, at "first and foremost responsibility to maximize shareholder returns," then yes, outsourcing makes sense. 

But it also means that their first choice, private sector job creation rather than government programs, cannot succeed. You can't have jobs at home and be willy nilly exporting blue color and gray color jobs by the millions overseas. It's the biggest "wanting your cake and eating it too" situation in the history of mankind.

Old rural living farts, like me, who get their water from wells, understand that, when the water stops coming up, you have to prime the pump. That means pouring back down the well-pipe whatever scarce water you may have left, or borrowing some water from a neighbor, It's an act of faith in some ways. Sometimes it works the very first time. But more often doesn't and you have to keep priming the damn thing until it does work. 

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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