January 22, 2011

CASUALTIES OF OVER-REGULATION? The Phantom 15 Million: Taming unemployment starts with solving the mystery of the jobs that were supposed to have been created in the past 10 years but weren’t. Or is it illegal immigration and outsourcing? Or something else?

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I saw that National Journal story the other day (on the mysterious lack of new jobs this last decade) and it contains its own answer: Look at the graphs of investment in plant and equipment, and national job gains. The investment graph is pretty spiky, but average the (down) slope from ’99 on and it’s a good match for the jobs downslope.

We’ve been getting fewer new jobs in the US these last ten years because we’ve been investing less in plant and equipment in the US these last ten years. QED.

Presumably we’ve been investing less here because the US is no longer the best place to invest. The whys of that are left as an exercise for the student. Hints: Sarbanes-Oxley, EPA, OSHA, roving packs of feral lawyers (no offense), ever lousier schools, an ever more uncertain tax regime… And we’re shocked – shocked, I say – that structural unemployment here is rising to European levels.

No offense taken.

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