Charles Koch: How to Get People Working Again

Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 01:12 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Conservative billionaire Charles Koch has denounced the "underemployment" rate under President Barack Obama and has laid out his plan to revitalize the economy.

In a commentary in USA Today, the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries attacked Washington politicians for claiming in 2011 and again in 2013 that the economy was turning the corner.

Koch says that although the administration may report a quarter with 4 percent growth, the economy will soon turn sluggish again.

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"Opportunity, especially for the young and disadvantaged, is declining. High underemployment has become our new norm," Koch wrote. "Real work is an important part of how we define ourselves. Meaningful work benefits both us and others. Those who lack real jobs often end up depressed, addicted or aggressive."

Koch said government should "encourage principled entrepreneurship," allowing companies to earn profits by giving value to customers, "the opposite of today's rampant cronyism."

He continued, "Too many businesses focus on getting subsidies and mandates from government rather than creating value for customers. Compounding the problem are destructive regulations affecting whether and how business invests and employees work."

He also wrote the government should eliminate the artificial cost of hiring.

"Government policies such as Obamacare have given businesses a powerful incentive to hire two part-time people to do one full-time job," he said.

"This trend was reflected in June's employment data, which included the loss of half a million full-time jobs. In 2007, 4.4 million Americans worked part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work. That number now stands at 7.5 million up 275,000 in June."

Koch says that the United States must help people develop skills and values that will enable them to reach their potential.

"Everyone knows education increases a person's ability to create value. But the willingness to work, an essential for success, often has to be taught, too," Koch wrote. "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."

Koch, who founded the conservative group Americans for Prosperity with his billionaire bother David Koch, says Americans 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."

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