Evaluating job creation: politically & through the lens of the church

The question of job creation is the early hot topic in qualifying Rick Perry's run for the presidency. Statistics of Texas job growth under Perry's governance are being used politically to build and attack his bid, and debate rages over how much credit or blame he deserves.

Conservative David Frum writes on CNN:

Gov. Rick Perry enters the presidential race with one big advantage and one big impediment. The advantage: his record of job creation in Texas. His impediment? His record of job creation in Texas.

Through two years of weak economic recovery, Texas has led the nation in job creation. Of all the jobs created in the United States since 2009, 38% have been created in Texas. But if Texas has created many jobs, it has failed to create good jobs. Many of the jobs created since 2009 pay only minimum wage, and Texas, along with Mississippi, has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the U.S.

Truth be told, it's unclear how much (if any) blame or credit Perry personally deserves for either Texas' good job creation or Texas' bad wages.

Massimo Calabresi in Time says that statistics point in both directions:

The Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial (6/10/11) touted “The Lone Star Jobs Surge” and reported, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers via the Dallas Federal Reserve, that “37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created in Texas.” Texas has created 265,000 “net new jobs” since the recession ended in June 2009 through April 2011, the Journal reported.

Texas’ unemployment rate tells a different story. It has gone up from 7.7% to 8.0% over that same period. And by that measure, Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009: that month the U.S. rate was 10.1% and Texas was 8.2%. Texas peaked at 8.3% last December, dropping to 8.0% in April, while the national rate has dropped a point since it’s peak to 9.1%

As both sides of the political spectrum wonder how much credit or blame a sitting Governor should get for mixed statistical evidence, it is also begs the question how we in the church evaluate new jobs. Is it acceptable to claim success over the creation of jobs under a living wage? Do we make an exception during a poor economy, or is this the time when the gap between rich and poor must be dealt with?

Even Frum laments: "Must Americans choose only between the two ugly options: no jobs vs. low wages?"

In terms of justice, is it the responsibility of the church to set the bar higher?

Comments (3)

>>"Must Americans choose only between the two ugly options: no jobs vs. low wages?"

This suggests we, corporately, have a choice in the matter. If it was possible for us to choose our way into more jobs, we would have done so already.

The Government does not create jobs, and no central plan will cause jobs to be created. Rick Perry does not deserve any more credit for job growth than Obama deserves for the lack of it.

Unless people are seriously talking about a new WPA (nobody is, as far as I know), then what exactly is the Government supposed to do about the situation. The money supply is about as loose as it's going to get. Tax rates have never been lower. We've tried supply-side and consumer-side stimulus.

The best thing the government can do is leave things alone, and TELL EVERYONE that they're going to leave things alone, so that people and businesses aren't waiting around to see what thing (good or bad) the government is going to do to/for them next month.

Unless you want to see people out of work for longer it would be unresponsible and unethical for the church to play a role in bringing about a policy that would prevent the unemployed getting for lack of the right to work for less than the "living wage".

What we have is too many folks who skills have low value. That's a failure of our education system, our culture, our churches, and our retraining policies. It's not a snap your fingers magic answer like raising the minimum wage, but it's the wise answer.

To some degree I agree with Adam's angle. Firms have been sitting on the sidelines for fear that by hiring too early they will miss out if a government hiring subsidy is adopted. And workers have been slow to lower their sights because unemployment benefits might get extended. Both policies are reasonable ones, actually, given the state of the economy -- what's bad is the uncertainty about whether they will be adopted.

Tax rates have never been lower.

At the TOP. At the middle and bottom, not so much.

We've tried supply-side and consumer-side stimulus.

Not really, to the latter. The 2009 Economic Recovery Act had *minimal* consumer-side stimulus (and analysts like Paul Krugman said it would likely fail for EXACTLY that reason).

Yeah, no one's talking about a "WPA" . . . and that's (a) problem! It's needed! >:-/

JC Fisher (Not in the work force---not by choice!)

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