I am not an economist or social scientist nor do I have any formal credentials that would give me the authority to offer specific solutions to the dire state of our economy; however, just as any other citizen, I can see that the vast number of people who are unemployed is causing our economy to remain stagnant, is causing political and social divisiveness, and is causing suffering and hardship for many of our fellow citizens.  The American Dream is fast becoming an American Nightmare.  I have some thoughts on the subject not as an expert but as a concerned American.

The big hot button issue is the call to tax the rich.  The problem with any tax increase, as I see it, is that we never know how the money will be spent or if it will help solve the problem.   Perhaps, we should consider a special tax such as the surcharge currently being proposed as long as it can be specifically earmarked for real job creation.   If we could be sure that the influx of money generated by increased taxes would, in fact, help the unemployed and not be lost in the bureaucracy of big government with all of its special interest groups and pork barrel spending, I believe more people would be in favor of making the contribution.  Then it would be Americans directly helping Americans for the common good.

For example, the Recovery Act of 2009 allocated billions of dollars for job creation including public work projects similar to the programs created during the Great Depression.  Where did the money go, where are all of the jobs, and who has been helped?

Another hot button issue is organized labor.  Yes, unions have gone a long way to help the American worker over the years; however, everyone needs to now help the cause.  In many cases, the increasing cost of providing public or private employment has outstripped the ability to pay.  If some concessions to worker wages or benefits can help keep people from being laid off then those concessions should be seriously considered.  Taking a little less so that more people can keep their jobs may be the right thing to do in these difficult times.

There are other creative options that could be considered.  Some businesses may be in the position to institute job sharing in which more people are employed and split the work day or week in some fashion so that available jobs are shared until things improve.  Perhaps, we could impose special excise taxes on certain goods such as tobacco and alcohol, or divert lottery proceeds and taxes on gambling, or have an additional one percent sales tax all of which could specifically be used to help the unemployed.  Of course, there is also the possibility of both businesses and individuals directly contributing money to help the unemployed in their community.  The point being is that we all need to dig deep and help our country get back to work.

If you have other or better ideas, please share them.  All I know is that if we don’t find a way to help each other then we may all go down together.