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Old 08-19-2011, 11:33 PM
CrowsMakeTools CrowsMakeTools is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 54
Default Jobs are good--but what are they good for?

The Texas jobs story is important to understand. Texas provides the country with a window into what can happen in a state with laissez faire, pro-business policies, low taxes, and low public investment in education and health services.

Creating jobs is one thing. Creating wealth is something else, and distributing wealth, in a manner that creates a growing, propertied, and conservative middle class, is something else again. Texas has created jobs with an economy that has high income disparities. The goal of job creation should be creating an environment that contributes not only to survival, but to personal capital formation. Personal capital formation turns employees into property owners. For capitalism to be successful, jobs need to generate not just income, but a surplus. A surplus allows people to either increase consumption beyond survival needs, or, if they are future-oriented and not prone to hyperbolic discounting, to invest.

Jobs generate income. Good jobs generate enough income for people to meet family needs, and also save and invest. When people are able to accumulate personal capital, they will become more conservative. People who are surviving, but not accumulating, have no reason to vote conservative. To be a fiscal conservative one has to have resources to conserve. This is the only ethical pathway to a Republican majority.

One striking feature of the Texas economy is that, even as jobs are being created, personal capital is not. Texas ranks 10th in foreclosures, and 49th in personal credit scores. Texas ranks 9th in the income gap between the rich and poor, 5th in the gap between the wealthy and the middle class, and 44th in home ownership.

There are many possible explanations for this. The point I would like to emphasize here is that an economy that is generating jobs at the same time it is generating greater disparities in income distribution is not providing the economic basis for popular support of its public policies.

The data cited here can be found in the work of the Texas Legislative Study Group, Texas on the Brink
http://texaslsg.org/texasonthebrink/texasonthebrink.pdf

Last edited by CrowsMakeTools; 08-19-2011 at 11:36 PM..
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