Last week, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent. Although this number is still very high, independent economists argue that if government spending cuts are put into effect too quickly, they could be a severe drag on economic growth and could potentially derail our fragile recovery.
A major reason the unemployment is still high is because businesses are not hiring. People want jobs and are looking. But American businesses have argued that without an increase in demand for their products, there's no incentive for them to create more jobs.
This is where we need government. Not to “socialize” every aspect of our society, but simply to help increase consumer demand and provide added assistance to the private sector. As a business major, I understand the need to cut costs and increase revenue. After all, profit is the bottom line. But in order to earn the most profits, you have to make the right investments.
By not investing in the American people—through payroll tax cuts, unemployment benefits, and social welfare programs like Healthcare—or providing tax incentives for small businesses, or spending on infrastructure and clean energy, we are not promoting long-term growth and stability. Just as a business would not layoff all its employees and sell all its cash-generating assets—even if it meant greater short-term profits—we cannot allow gutting programs that help the American working class.
Yes, as conservatives say, we need to emphasize personal responsibility. But when you have a system that favors the rich through corporate tax loopholes and “too big to fail” companies that hold the economy hostage, government is needed.
The problem is not that the rich are getting richer. Democrats are not arguing for equality of outcomes. The problem is, instead, that the rest of America is getting poorer. A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office found that, “over the past three decades, the distribution of income in the United States has become increasingly dispersed -- in particular, the share of income accruing to high-income households has increased, whereas the share accruing to other households has declined."
It seems as though the “pursuit of happiness” written about in our Declaration of Independence has been more difficult to attain. The idea that everyone should have an equality of opportunity has weakened. But as our Constitution emphasizes, government’s job is not to control people’s lives, but help people control their own lives:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”