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What To Do About Unemployment?

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, October 15, 2010

The United States has many serious economic problems, yet few are as serious as unemployment. This is because markets will recover, but people, once beaten down, often have a hard time bouncing back.

Politicians often pay lip service to unemployment, but few dare take the serious steps that can help solve the problem. They tend to hope for a general rebound in the economy because that doesn’t require them to weigh in on specific changes, which will surely alienate one interest group or another.

We decided to analyze the unemployment problem head on and came up with a 10 point plan for causing employment to boom and unemployment to drop dramatically.

It received some nice pick up, including a tweet from Harvard Business School professor Bill George, who was the CEO at Medtronic and is a best selling author, having written many leadership books including 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis.

Although not thinking all our ideas were plausible, Professor George declared the ideas “a step in the right direction.”

The piece also received some nice private comments. Stephen Moore was the founder of the Club for Growth. He was also a senior economist of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee and is now an editorial board member and senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Steve wrote:

“I am so much in agreement with your policy prescriptions. These all make sense.”

We don’t worry too much about political plausibility. We note that half the policy ideas current today can be found in the scribbling of Milton Friedman back in the 50’s and early 60’s when he was mostly thought an eccentric pushing obviously “implausible” ideas such as a volunteer army.

We don’t worry too much about plausibility. We note that half the policy ideas current today can be found in the scribbling of Milton Friedman back in the 50’s and early 60’s when he was mostly thought an eccentric pushing obviously “implausible” ideas such as a volunteer army.

Sometimes, it is important to just get the ideas out there and let them percolate. As John Maynard Keynes wrote:

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.”

So, we were honored when the American Thinker decided to publish our piece, Solving the Unemployment Crisis. Perhaps one day, it will be considered as part of our contribution to the “gradual encroachment of ideas.”

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