By Andrew Hemingway, chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire
While New Hampshire’s unemployment numbers of 5.2 percent continue to impress by undercutting the national average of 9 percent, it’s important to take a step back from these numbers and consider what the often-quoted comparison doesn’t say.
The state’s unemployment statistics, however low, do not account for people who work part-time and would prefer a more comfortable full-time job. They don’t account for those who have given up looking for a job, because good jobs are too hard to find. They don’t account for the fact that our schools continue to fail us by graduating people unprepared for higher-end jobs, despite the fact that we give these government institutions a greater portion of our shrinking income year after year. They also don’t account for the falling dollar and the resulting increase in prices.
New Hampshire lawmakers certainly cannot address every economic problem, because some are larger than the state, but they can address many of them by developing the political will to rein-in the power brokers in Concord. Unfortunately, many of the Republicans sent to Concord to remove the rules and regulations that stymie jobs and the economy are falling into a government-as-usual mindset.
Rather than listen to the voice of reason and the loud call of the voters who sent Republicans to create a smaller, affordable government that leaves them alone, some lawmakers seem to be listening to the bureaucrats, lobbyists and special interest groups who only have their own interest at heart. “Regulate us” is a cry often heard by those who seek to get rid of the competition. Do Republicans really want to join their Democratic counterparts in support of such job-killing cronyism? It baffles me how politicians are so quick to listen to the people who are on the take and so quick to ignore the people who are having the fruit of their labor taken from them against their will.
Take the bill that repeals the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, for instance. This multi-state program may provide money to some companies for renewable energy projects, but that money is coming from energy producers, manufacturing firms and ratepayers, who are now facing a higher cost of doing business and a higher cost of living as a result. And wouldn’t companies that think renewable energy projects are a good idea pay for such projects on their own? Why should a multi-state bureaucracy pick the winners and losers? That drives up the cost for everyone.
The labor union special interest group has managed to use the law over time to solidify a power position over voters and companies (both employers in this state). A few common-sense efforts to rein-in the unions’ unique power position have had far too much trouble from some. These detractors should note that companies relocate to Right to Work states because they know they can hire workers there who will not force them into contracts they can’t afford. If politicians really cared about those jobs they promised, they would turn down the union money that was taken from workers against their will and support the right to work without interference from a third party. We need those jobs!
Whether Republicans ultimately garner the political will to change the way Concord works for the better really comes down to how they view government. If Republicans do what they said they would and create a limited government that respects free markets, their super majority might mean something come reelection time. If Republicans continue to see government as a mediator in the economy, we will all be losers in November 2012.