Get Your Shovel Ready

by Gerri Willis

Get out your shovel because here comes the latest jobs pitch from Congress and the President.

Congress is currently squabbling over transportation bills that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and the promise of millions of jobs.


Harry Reid just the other day pushing the merits of one such bill before the Senate:

"We're trying to pass a bill that would save about 1.8 million jobs and produce about 700,000 more jobs. That's what this is about."


A similar bill backed by Speaker John Boehner costing $260 billion fell apart earlier this year. House Republicans wouldn't vote for it.

They're working on another one.


The President is pitching his own plan. This one costs nearly half a trillion dollars over six years, but it's unlikely that will get through Congress.

But one thing is consistent in all these plans and proposals.

The authors argue this kind of spending on roads and bridges and other so-called shovel ready projects is the best way to “create or save jobs,” but recent history has shown that argument to be tenuous at best.

Even the President admitted as much:

"Shovel-ready was not as …uh…shovel-ready as we expected."


The Federal Highway Administration says for every one billion spent on highways it leads to 35,000 jobs.

But economists say it's almost impossible to put a precise figure on the number of jobs created by transportation spending.

One thing is clear: big government programs are not the way to create jobs.

Getting out of the way of the private sector is.


Take Apple for example.

No government bailouts there, and no taxpayer handouts either.

And, for the first time ever, Apple has attempted to quantify how many jobs in this country can be credited to its line of iPhones and iPads.

Apple says it created or supported 514,000 American jobs.

The precise number can be debated, and to be sure, Apple has created more job outside this country.

But it shows you just how ineffective the government is in creating jobs compared to the private sector, and leads to the inevitable conclusion that the best way for Washington to help manufacturers here in the United States is to get out of the way.

And it wouldn't hurt to cut the corporate tax rate in the U.S., which is about to become the highest in the world.

These numbers make it clear. It's the private sector that creates jobs; not the public sector.