Did Mitt Romney and Bain Capital help office-supply retailer Staples create 88,000 jobs? 43,000? 252? Actually, Staples probably destroyed 100,000 jobs while creating millions of new ones.
Since 1986, Staples has opened 2,000 stores, eliminating the jobs of distributors and brokers who charged nasty markups for paper and office supplies. But it enabled hundreds of thousands of small (and not so small) businesses to stock themselves cheaply and conveniently and expand their operations.
It's the same story elsewhere. Apple employs just 47,000 people, and Google under 25,000. Like Staples, they have destroyed many old jobs, like making paper maps and pink "While You Were Out" notepads. But by lowering the cost of doing business they've enabled innumerable entrepreneurs to start new businesses and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions, of workers world-wide—all while capital gets redeployed more effectively.
This process happens during every business cycle and always, always creates jobs. Yet is ignored by policy mavens.
It is now four years after the wheels fell off our financial system. The government has tried every gimmick to revive the economy: fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, loan write-downs, foreclosure modifications—all duds. It seems like no one remembers how an economy creates jobs anymore. The right answer, in fact the only answer, for jobs and better living standards, is productivity.
That, in a nutshell, explains the mess we're in now, a fragile economy that just can't seem to get back on track. The dunderheads we've put in charge don't grasp the most fundamental truth about capitalism, so they will keep trying one top-down government solution after another instead of just simply getting out of the way and letting American enterprise do what it knows how to do.
In fact, President Obama stopped just short of declaring war on business in a speech in which he basically said those who succeed need to get down on their knees and thank everybody else who was responsbile for their success. Actually, he should get on his knees and give praise that there are still entrepreneurs willing to take a risk despite the obvious disdain of those who should be encouraging them.
Maybe if the administration keeps going with its despicable Bain attacks, Mitt Romney will be forced to explain Bain's role to the point where a majorty of Americans rediscover capitalism and come to understand what danger the current bunch of clowns has put us in. Pig-flying time, eh?