Whose Job Is It, Creating Jobs?
“I wish the government would help me start a business. LOL.”
The statement was written as a little joke, as a placeholder on a website waiting to be developed.
But maybe it’s no laughing matter. In 2008, the Create West Virginia team asked the Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research to conduct a survey of West Virginians’ opinions about business and education. An astounding 85 per cent of 1,200 survey respondents from across the state who were between the ages of of 19 and 49 agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that it’s the government’s job to create new high paying job opportunities in West Virginia. Fewer than 10 percent strongly disagreed. Fewer than 15 percent said they plan on starting a business in the future.
So, what’s wrong with the wanting the government to create jobs? Libraries are full of books on that subject. Political campaigns are waged on the role and limitations of government. Civilizations rise and fall, wax and wane according to how they respond to that question.
Historically, many Americans have preferred being able to devise strategies for taking care of themselves. We have enjoyed the competition, the creative kick of making things, devising systems, creating opportunity, solving problems. West Virginians consider themselves among the most independent of Americans. Since when did we start looking to some abstract entity such as ‘government’ to make our way for us? Government has an essential role in community life, but government doesn't generate an economy–at least, no government we've wanted to be a part of.