Mortimer Zuckerman, writing a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, “The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America,” points out that the latest employment figure of 288,000 net jobs created in June is highly misleading. “Full-time jobs last month plunged by 523,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What has increased are part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 to more than 28 million.” Mr. Zuckerman goes on to say, “Since 2007 the U.S. population has grown by 17.2 million, according to the Census Bureau, but we have 374,000 fewer jobs since a November 2007 peak and are 10 million jobs shy of where we should be.”
Interestingly, the New York Times discusses the same problem from a different point of view, ”A Push to Give Steadier Shifts To Part-Timers”. The NYT does recognize that there are now about 7.5 million part-time workers who would prefer full time employment but are unable to find it. But the emphasis is on giving them more advance notice for changes in work schedules.
The only way that we’ll get what we really need, more jobs, more good jobs and more fulltime jobs, is by faster economic growth beyond the anemic 2.2 average growth rate since the recession ended five years ago. Here are several ways to accomplish this:
- The most obvious and immediate thing we should do is to lower the corporate tax rate from its currently highest in the world level of 35%. This will stop the hemorrhaging of U.S. companies moving overseas and encourage multinational corporations to bring their profits home and reinvest them in the U.S.
- Broad-based individual tax reform, with lower tax rates for all, offset by closing loopholes and shrinking deductions which primarily benefit the wealthy. This will put more money in the hands of the two thirds of Americans who do not itemize their tax deductions. Since these are the middle and lower income wage earners with stagnant incomes, they will spend their extra income thereby giving the economy a big boost.
- The employer mandate in Obamacare is responsible for some of the shift from fulltime to part-time employment, and should be repealed (it has already been suspended for two years by the Obama Administration).
These are just common sense reforms which should be doable by Congress without a huge ideological fight. We badly need leadership capable enough to do this!