Your Opinion: Response to Horstmann on economic issues

Dear Editor:

It is tempting not to respond to Harold Horstmann’s letter of Sept. 22 since there is so little in it that might be mistaken for rational argument.

Mr. Horstmann is adept at name-calling. How many variations of “liberal socialist Democrat” are there? But that is not rational argument.

Mr. Horstmann delivers a long digression on taxes as forcible extractions, which has little to do with the topic at hand. That topic is Mr. Horstmann’s disagreement with a statement of mine in a previous letter; namely, “If the private sector is unable to create those jobs then government must do it.”

I had reference to the fact that U.S. businesses are sitting on nearly $2 trillion of cash and other liquid assets that they are not investing in hiring people and growing their businesses. They don’t want to take on more employees until they see more demand for their products and services, and they aren’t going to see that for a long time the way the economy is now. If we want to bring down unemployment, the only alternative is for government to hire more people.

Mr. Horstmann agrees with the first part of the argument. He writes, “[T]hose ‘rich’ people….are hanging onto their money or moving it and/or their business out of the USA ....”

So if the private sector isn’t hiring that leaves the public sector, government, but Mr. Horstmann rejects government hiring as “absurd.” He adds, “The government is the most inefficient and ineffectual approach to job creation there is!” Mr. Horstmann does not, however, make any attempt at supporting this claim. He provides no facts, no analysis, ho historical examples, no testimony from credible experts—nothing. Bald, unsupported assertions are not rational argument.

Today we have 9.1percent unemployment and 46 million people in poverty. Obviously we need jobs and government jobs like the jobs of policemen, teachers and construction workers are jobs. Mr. Horstmann may think they are “inefficient and ineffectual” but nonetheless they are jobs. And they do things we as a society need to have done.

In the 1930s massive government job programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) hired millions of Americans.

These jobs improved roads and bridges, built public buildings, and created state parks. They also helped pull us out of the Great Depression.

We can and should do this again.

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