Government and jobs: Guiding hand? Or hands off?

Updated Nov 6, 2012

Job CreationLibertarian-leaning views dominated Overdrive’s August polling of readers about what the role of government in the economy should be, which some have defined as the central issue in the presidential election.

On our Facebook page, where we put job-creation questions to Overdrive fans, we found many walking a hard line on government intervention in private business. For instance, Joe Nelson viewed the role of government as only to  “get the hell out of the way.”

Job Creation PollOthers, however, acknowledged more complexity. “I think government plays a big part,” wrote David Cox, “just for the simple fact that they control tax breaks/hikes and interest rates. Just those two alone decide if an employer will choose to expand, relocate, etc.”

Paul Murray then drilled deeper into the question — and the problem at the core of economic doldrums. The primary job creator is “demand for products, goods and services. No demand, no jobs.”

Other views:

Rob Gibbs: Government just creates more problems — and more taxes, making it harder for private business to survive. The foundation this (once) great country was built on revolves around private business.

Billy Fannin: Ease the regulation and burdensome taxes that are destroying small carriers like me, and I will show you who can create jobs. Government’s not the answer — it’s the problem!

Randy Bouwens: Government has a hand in creating jobs for the private sector in the legislation it does or does not pass that affects the private sector. The government also creates jobs by hiring contractors from the private sector to perform duties that government employees used to perform and/or filling a need for future jobs that can be done less expensively by hiring said contractors.

Scott Grafton: If they can’t fix their own budget, why do they try to fix ours?

David P. Collins: Government is not a job creator… Cut taxes and reduce spending, and let the private sector do what it does best — hire more people. More people working means more tax revenues for the government.

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Andy and Amber Specht: Government mandates couldn’t even sell sex and alcohol without running the place out of business and leaving all the employees unemployed.

Robb Van Horn: Government can only create government jobs, which must be paid for by taxes on those who do not “work” for government. Government only impedes job creation by the private sector. All government workers will say, “I pay taxes, too!” While that’s true, it’s simply government moving money from one pocket to the other and then back again.

What do you think?