As another Recovery Summer draws to a close, we’re enthralled by the promised presidential pivot to job creation — although we must remember that one who spends too much time pivoting risks disappearing up his own backside. Consequently, it might be interesting to consider what would motivate businesses to hire people.
As it happens, the folks at Chief Executive magazine have explored this very question. The primary motivation for new hiring, unsurprisingly, is having a backlog or other manifestation of too much work for current staffing to handle. But what else might propitiate the folks who decide to hire staff? Phrasing the question differently, what is keeping these folks from hiring people?
That’s where things get interesting. The CEOs surveyed would like to see some evidence that the recession is coming to an end — as would we all. Of course, one sign the recession is ending would be more hiring, but then we get into lagging indicator and feedback loop questions, so we’ll move on. Nearly 72% percent of the respondents said they’d like to see Obamacare repealed — or at least clarified. (Hence my title.) Next on the list was a reduction in regulation, and a little further down was the passage of free trade treaties. Since none of this is expected, two thirds of these potential job creators will either stand pat or actually reduce their workforces. As William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection observes, perhaps the most effective pivot would be a step out of the way.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that these CEOs are calling for the opportunity to behave like Montgomery Burns of The Simpsons or the meatpackers of The Jungle, despite those who seem certain that all businessmen live to watch the employees suffer in exchange for an added farthing gained. But it might be nice to see a bit less of the situation a correspondent of Jonah Goldberg’s describes at his family farm:
To get workers, we go through an official gov’t program to have Mexicans brought to the US. For this honor, we pay them substantially more than minimum wage and are forced to hire any American citizen at any time who shows up and asks for work. For our immigrant workers we are required to provide a free house and transportation and a myriad of other gov’t required items that we dutifully obtain at the start of each season. The documentation is legion, keeping my mother employed full time. The regs have common sense matters but go way beyond. For example, a porto potty in the fields every few acres. LOL, not the case when I worked the farm. We had this thing called “the woods.” Acres of them everywhere.
Recently, the USDA inspectors show up and pull our workers out of the fields for hours of questions (while we still are paying them). They inspect our houses. Several items just not up to code say these inspectors in an accusatory and snide tone. Threw a stack of regulations literally 8 inches high, small type, saying we are responsible to know and to account for each and every one.
Now we treat our workers very well, but we treat them like men, not children. The house was “messy.” My goodness, we need to hire a maid! The screen door was not exactly square with the frame by an 1/8th of an inch. Well many folks around here live in older homes that have settled. The list goes on, but no item was such that our workers thought there was a problem. The worst part is we were treated like criminals. We are awaiting our fine for our failing to memorize every federal regulation applicable to us.
My dad is 67 and told the feds that he was out of farming due to this ridiculous bureaucracy and storm trooper treatment. Their arrogant reply, “[W]ell the law lets us inspect your land and homes one year after you have left farming, so you can’t keep us off your land next year either.”
Is this really the only thing standing between us and Harvest of Shame? I doubt it, but I’m sure it stands between employing people and letting them subsist on the dole.