What do your children or grandchildren want to be when they grow up?
The Department of Labor estimates two-thirds of grade school children will work in jobs that haven't been invented yet. Old jobs are phased out as new technology creates an abundance of ways to satisfy human needs and wants. Americans now take for granted conveniences and luxuries that the ultra rich could only dream of 100 years ago.
New ideas and products do cause real pain for those that are displaced. It is a tradeoff that means putting the buggy whip makers out of business so we can enjoy the freedom of the automobile. Sorry travel agents, there is an easier way for me to book an airline ticket now.
This process of "creative destruction" looks chaotic and painful when we hear about layoffs and plant closures. However, this is what allows people and capital to flow into new companies that are better able to deliver what we want. Trying to preserve the status quo by bailing out failing industries looks good on the surface. The jobs that are saved are very visible. What is unseen are all the jobs that won't get created by keeping the people and capital in the sick company. The unseen company doesn't get to exist to create more value and products people would have preferred.
The relentless innovation and abundance we have experienced is not guaranteed. It depends on passionate entrepreneurs to drive the process forward. Big companies are often too slow to compete with faster startups. So they lobby the government to pass restrictions and rules that make it harder on the little business. Creating new, innovative products is hard, but getting the government to pass new rules is easy. These laws are always passed in the name of "protecting" the consumer. What they really do is protect established businesses against innovative, disruptive newcomers.
H&R Block recently complained when courts overturned new testing and class time requirements for small tax preparers. If a big company wants to avoid competition they get the refs to change the rules.
If we want the jobs of tomorrow to be waiting for our children, we must cheer for the little guy, the new startup business. We must allow new businesses to attract capital, by reducing their cost of doing business, lowering their taxes and removing barriers to entry that would threaten the status quo. It also means allowing uncompetitive companies to fail. Our future reward will be millions of new jobs creating an abundance we won't be able to imagine being without.
Always remember when hearing some politician talk about "saving jobs," the cost could be the new job your child doesn't get to have.
Aaron Gabrielson is chairman of the Wasatch County Republican Party.
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