Businesses lack confidence to start hiring

Freedom New Mexico

President Barack Obama’s overture to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was received politely, even if it doesn’t lead to any change.

Obama gave a speech Monday to the Chamber, defending his tax-gobbling policies and asking business leaders to gobble up their own assets. In doing so, he revealed a lack of understanding of basic business fundamentals.

As he’s done in recent weeks, the president conceded that too much regulation cripples business and hurts the economy. He noted that 12 separate federal agencies impose regulatory authority over U.S. businesses. “And, frankly, with 12 different agencies in charge, nobody’s in charge,” he said.

“My administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goals of a more competitive America,” he promised.

The president also talked about the responsibilities of government and of business.

“As we work to make America a better place to do business … ask yourselves what you can do to hire American workers, to support the American economy and to invest in this nation,” he said.

The president suggested that companies were letting their assets pile up instead of using them to hire more workers. “I want to encourage you to get into the game” of helping the economy by hiring more workers, he added.

Unfortunately for Obama, businesses don’t work like government. They can’t hire workers just for the sake of putting money in people’s pockets. That only works in government because most officials have little reticence for raising taxes in order to offset shortages or pay for their pet projects. In the corporate world, where something must be given — a need served — in order to gain something, such strategy can only bring failure and bankruptcy.

Businesses aren’t going to hire people unless those people bring a return on the investment. Hiring people and putting them to work makes absolutely no sense if there’s no market for the product or services they would provide.

One concession on the point: Obama probably sees many businesses with their hand out to government for some kind of subsidy and figures they welcome government. But that is a misread; we would be the first to argue that government has inserted itself — through regulation, oversight and other means — into too many marketplace affairs, and thus, over time, business sees that it has to play the government game, and, no surprise, it is getting good at it.

Wasteful, inefficient and complacent business policies contributed greatly to the economic collapse we continue to endure. Following Obama’s suggestions would only revive those practices and lead to further problems down the road.

The best policy American businesses can take is to ensure their longevity by maintaining discipline and efficiency. Such strategies would help ensure continued success and reduce the need for future layoffs, or worse, future bankruptcy and bailouts.

The president insisted that he wantedgovernment to be strong partner with business to work for economic progress. The best government can aid that progress, however, is to maintain policies that help business managers, investors and workers make their own decisions toward being productive, profitable and safe. Beyond that, it should just stay out of the way.