By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
As the election of all 40 state Senators and all 80 state Assembly representatives approaches, both Republican and Democratic candidates in South Jersey promise to ?create jobs? and ?boost tourism? if we elect them.
But how? By doing more of what they already did to ?create jobs? and ?boost tourism? during the past 10 years.
During the past decade Republican and Democratic lawmakers killed far more jobs than they created, and chased away tourists. So why do candidates for parties still promise to do more of what not only failed, but made things far worse?
Part of it is that the people who give the campaign cash for those slick mailings and TV ads make big profits from the ?public-private partnerships? and ?green energy? jobs the winning candidates create for them after the election.
But ignorance is also a big part. Too many Americans still think it?s good for the economy when government spending ?creates jobs.?? They don?t use their own experience with ?squeegee men? to understand how making us pay for jobs that don?t produce something we want is bad for the economy.
A squeegee is a small hand-held tool with a soft rubber edge that is used to clean windows. Some years ago it was common for homeless people, drug users, teenagers, and others to stand at busy intersections and wait for cars to stop at red lights, or in rush hour traffic jams. They would approach a car, ?clean? the windshield and stare at the driver to give them ?proper? payment for this ?service.?
Most drivers paid, either from sympathy or for from an implied threat of damage to the car or its occupants if ?proper? payment were not made.
Did ?squeegee men? create jobs? Certainly. During bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, most ?squeegee men? could supplement their welfare or unemployment checks with $20 to $30 an hour in tax-free cash.
As word spread of this great job opportunity, more and more people took squeegees to more and more corners, in more and more cities, including Atlantic City. And of course, the squeegee men bought things in neighborhood stores with the money they ?earned.?
But did these squeegee jobs really stimulate the economy and create prosperity? Of course not. That?s because few if any ?customers? of the ?squeegee men? wanted the ?service? for which they were forced to pay.
Many motorists spent or tipped less when they got to town, because they had less money in their wallets. Others simply avoided town altogether. Instead they stayed in the suburbs and went to shops, restaurants, and movies at the mall to avoid being hassled and shaken down by the squeegee men.
Democrats like Sens. Jim Whelan, Jeff Van Drew, Assembly candidate Alisa Cooper, and Republicans like Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amodeo are like squeegee men when they use government to ?create jobs? and force us to pay for things we don?t want. And as with squeegee men, when people are forced to pay for things they don?t want, they react by buying fewer of the things they do want ? or just leave the state. This is bad for the economy.
When our state lawmakers divert state sales tax money to prop up businesses in urban enterprise zones (UEZs) that few of us use, like the Millville Motorsports Park, Levoy Theater, Arts District shops, the Vineland Landis Theater in Vineland, etc., they instead raise taxes elsewhere ? like the extra payroll taxes that whacked every employer in the state to pay for unemployment benefits.
When our state lawmakers spend $16 million each year on poorly attended concerts, museums, or ?art? exhibitions that few of us buy tickets for, they force tourists to pay an extra 5 percent tax on every hotel and motel bill.
When our state lawmakers create ?green energy? jobs by paying hundreds of dollars to a handful of windmill and solar panel owners every time they produce $60 worth of electricity, our state lawmakers jack up our electric bills and give us the fourth highest rates in the country.
The big drop in casino and tourism business and the loss of Lenox China and Ocean Spray Cranberry are proof that creating ?squeegee? jobs ? jobs that force people to pay for things they don?t want ? is bad for the economy.
New??? York City?s economy revived in 1994 as soon as Mayor Rudy Giuliani got the squeegee men off its streets. New Jersey?s economy will not revive until more people understand that government-created jobs are squeegee jobs.
(Reprinted from October 6, 2011 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/16930-why-squeegee-jobs-are-bad-for-the-economy.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 1400AM talk radio 3-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturdays. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
or call (609) 927-7333 . Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor?? Township.