Our government does not and cannot for any sustained period create jobs; the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people creates jobs. Even the slightest suggestion that our government should take on any portion of this responsibility only serves to dampen and make stagnant that spirit. The reason the unemployment rate is high and on the rise, ironically, is because too many people are looking for jobs and too few are creating them. In fact, the term “job creation”, as it is popularly used is an oxymoronic phrase that epitomizes cart-before-the-horse thinking.
Jobs are born of a business need and remain in existence as long as that business need persists. Businesses, fueled by the spark of entrepreneurialism, emerge and continue as going concerns as a result of consumer demand that consists of individual and collective needs and wants. This is not a “chicken or the egg” paradox; it is clearly evident that the individual and collective needs and wants exist first, then the business along with its respective jobs is designed in order to fulfill those needs and wants. Many businesses have other businesses as their clients, in which case the jobs within the supplier business are designed to enable the supplier business to fulfill the needs of the client business. This vertical integration within commerce is the essence of the supply chain concept and where the majority of jobs actually exist.
Given the nature of commerce within the United States, it is preposterous to believe that anyone or any governmental body can create a lasting job that is not dictated by a real business need or create a lasting business that does not serve an individual or collective demand.
Even government and non-profit organizations are subject to this caveat, though their susceptibility may be somewhat obscured by politics. If, for example, an elected official prescribed during his or her term that an unnecessary project be commenced simply for the purpose of creating jobs (i.e. repetitively building a wall and tearing it down only to rebuild it again), such a proposal would undoubtedly be met with public scorn and that official certainly would not be re-elected and may not even enjoy the privilege of a full term in office (certainly, we can all still recall the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” that gained notoriety during the 2008 Primary Election Campaign). Eventually, unnecessary activity performed simply for the sake of creating jobs ceases, absent the grace of public demand.
Some might argue that the creation of certain government organizations such as the military, a police force, an emergency medical service, or even a public bridge repair company might provide an exception to this rule, but they would be incorrect. All of the aforementioned services, when created in the appropriate scope and capacity, fulfill a collective demand and the elected official is actually practicing a form of entrepreneurialism in which his or her risk or gain is measured not in dollars, but in length of term in office. When created in an inappropriate scope or capacity (i.e. a military that is deemed larger than necessary, a police force or emergency medical service that serves an unpopulated area, or a public bridge repair company that repairs bridges that are not in need of repair), it is easy to see that these services (or at least a portion of them) were not created to fulfill a collective need and should be relegated to the “unnecessary activity” category.
Notwithstanding the need for valid jobs, entrepreneurialism only addresses half of the unemployment issue; the other half deals with the employability of the individual. In other words, individuals must possess or be inspired to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience that are required by the business in order to gain employment. Even in times of high unemployment like these, employers still struggle to find candidates that are qualified to fill millions of new positions that spring up daily.
Given that entrepreneurialism creates businesses in order to fulfill individual or collective needs and creates jobs that only qualified individuals can fill, a radical paradigm shift is in order; a shift away from the employee erroneously assuming that he or she has a right to a job and a paycheck and in the direction of universally embracing the concept of value proposition. The entrepreneur must have a value proposition to his or her customers in order for his or her business to be successful and the employee must have a value proposition to his or her company in order to gain and keep employment. Then, and only then, will the unemployment crisis subside.