Too many businesses focus on getting subsidies and mandates from government rather than creating value for customers. According to George Mason University's Mercatus Center, such favors cost us more than $11,000 per person in lost GDP every year, a $3.6 trillion economic hit.
Compounding the problem are destructive regulations affecting whether and how business invests and employees work. Federal rules cost America an estimated $1.86 trillion per year, calculated the Competitive Enterprise Institute. At Koch Industries, we've seen how punitive permitting for large projects creates years of delay, increasing uncertainty and cost. Sometimes projects are canceled and jobs with them. Meanwhile, 30% of U.S. employees need government licenses to work. We need a system that rewards those who create real value, not impedes them.
Now this math only works if you believe that A) government contracts add no value to the country's GDP and B) the $1.86 trillion per year in federal rules has no benefit whatsoever, unless you basically want to get rid of every federal agency in the US: Education, the EPA, the SEC, the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, our intelligence agencies, the FDA, and pretty much everything else. That price tag is the cost of being civilized.
When I was growing up, my father had me spend my free time working at unpleasant jobs. Most Americans understand that taking a job and sticking with it, no matter how unpleasant or low-paying, is a vital step toward the American dream. We are in for more trouble if young people don't find that all-important first job, which is critical to beginning their climb up the ladder.
Finally, we need greater incentives to work. Costly programs, such as paying able-bodied people not to work, are addictive disincentives. By undermining people's will to work, our government has created a culture of dependency and hopelessness. This is most unfair to vulnerable citizens who suffer even as we say they are receiving "benefits."
I agree with Dr. Martin Luther King. There are no dead-end jobs. Every job deserves our best. "If a man is called to be a street sweeper," King said, "he should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"
Don't you love it when a man dedicated to destroying wages, unions, and the dignity of being able to support a family without having to take a second job quotes Dr. King? Only a truly awful man, a man worth so much money that he has become a sociopath, would look at our safety net and declare it's "paying able-bodied people not to work."
What a great Master of the Universe to serve, eh?