In a capitalist society like ours, where the invisible hand is destined to be the regulator, is it not a contradiction for both presidential candidates to claim that they are going to create jobs?
They market to the American constituent their ability to generate economic growth, jobs and economic stability, when in reality this is the private sector’s job. Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama do not have the institutional flexibility or political capability to force the private sector to generate economic growth. All they can do is create the conditions through their policies.
Change in the path of the national economy lies in the hands of multinational corporations, domestic private enterprise and small business. Today we vote for candidates who are powerless. When it comes to economic growth, we should actually be voting for CEOs and other private leadership.
The candidates are competing for political power. That is what is at stake here. They are competing for the ability to curve and influence the path of policy. Obama wants to win in order to tilt policy toward greater social equality through government intervention, while Romney want to alleviate the system from greater government regulation and control.
Neither of the candidates can impede the private sector from sending jobs overseas, since this is the natural path of the expansion of capitalism. The American market does not guarantee long-term growth to the private sector. It represents just a fraction of a global market from which they, and their competitors, want to capitalize on. It is a sad reality to know that in order for our national economy to achieve steady economic growth, it must rely on the expansion of developing markets across the world. This is the true nature of globalization, and it is a reality that our political candidates are not willing to share with us.
It is easier to claim that you are going to keep jobs in America and that you are the solution to high unemployment, than it is to publicly accept that you have no control over this unavoidable reality.
Both candidates cannot influence the private sector’s business decisions since these are based on market research, efficiency, consumer behavior and profit margins. Therefore the future of unemployment rates in the United States lies in the hands of private decision makers who are concerned about their bottom line and not about the future of the American citizen.
Political leaders may influence temporary economic growth and employment by investing in public works and national infrastructure. They may play with monetary and fiscal policy in order to generate temporary economic growth, and may even use war as a means to improve the national economy, but these are all short-term solutions.
The election comes down to what the private sector favors and who they see as a guarantor of their interests. For the past four years, the private sector has remained speculative, sitting on trillions of dollars in revenue, waiting for the right time to invest. It is clear that the private sector does not feel confident under an Obama administration, which means that Romney’s opportunity to shine is right around the corner. It all depends on the American constituent; does it want economic growth or social justice and greater income equality? If it is the latter, then Obama will win the election, but if it is just economic growth then Romney is the ticket.
No matter the electoral result, we will continue to see American jobs shipped overseas, and we will continue to experience high unemployment until the private sector decides otherwise. Not much change will happen and we will continue to be the core of this ongoing capitalist experiment.
Stefano Tijerina is an adjunct instructor at the University of Maine and Husson University. He teaches Latin American history, Canadian history, U.S. history, policy and political economy.