More Government = Fewer Jobs

Feb. 05, 2010 6:19 PM ET79 Comments
Peter Schiff profile picture
Peter Schiff

With today's unexpected decline in December payrolls, the cry for more job-related stimulus will grow even louder. But the sad truth is that any new stimulus or jobs bills will ultimately swell the ranks of the unemployed, thereby raising calls for an even bigger federal effort. If we are not careful, government regulations, subsidies, and spending, all designed to fight unemployment, could push the labor market into a death spiral.

Regulation acts like a tax on job creation. By subjecting employers to all sorts of extra expenses when they hire people, regulations increase the cost of employment far beyond the wages employers actually pay their workers. In fact, some regulations are specifically tied to the number of workers employed. This provides some employers with a strong incentive to stay small and not hire.

The minimum wage law, which is really just a very visible workplace regulation, actually makes it illegal for employers to hire certain individuals and destroys entire categories of jobs. For instance, faced with high labor costs, some restaurants will avoid hiring dishwashers by switching to plastic utensils and paper plates. On a larger scale, factories may decide to switch to robotic assembly lines if human labor gets too expensive.

Other types of regulations, such as those that prohibit discrimination, create incentives for employers not to hire individuals that fall within the protected class. This is the result of potential litigation costs that may result from wrongful termination lawsuits. In other words, the more expensive government makes it to fire workers, the less likely they are to hire them in the first place.

Subsidies produce the opposite effect of regulation, but sometimes the results can be just as harmful. Government subsidies divert resources towards politically favored activities, resulting in more jobs in areas such as health

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Peter Schiff profile picture
I am the founder and director of three companies: Euro Pacific Capital (, a full service, registered broker-dealer and RIA which specializes in foreign securities; Euro Pacific Precious Metals (, a gold & silver coin and bullion dealer; and Euro Pacific Asset Management (, a fund management company that is building a family of mutual funds based on my economic philosophy. I am most well-known for accurately and publicly predicting the collapse of the housing and credit markets, the subprime crisis, and the increasing price of gold relative to the US dollar, resulting in the viral YouTube video "Peter Schiff Was Right." I fly around the country and the world speaking to diverse groups, from academic conferences to Tea Party rallies. I have also appeared regularly on cable news stations since the mid-2000s trying to warn people of the impending economic collapse brought on by destructive fiscal and economic policy in Washington. To that end, I published my first book, "Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse," in early 2007, predicting the 2008 economic crisis while the mainstream commentators were saying it was impossible. Then, at the height of the crisis, I released "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets," in which I showed readers how to help protect their finances in turbulent times. I've written updated versions of both Crash Proof and The Little Book since then, talking about how my predictions fared and why the worst of the crash is still ahead of us. I also wrote a book with my brother based on a popular comic book my dad wrote in the '70s. "How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes" is an illustrated fable that starts with three guys on an island and uses allegory to explain exactly how we got into our current mess. In the 2010 election season, I ran for the US Senate seat of retiring Senator Chris Dodd in my home state of Connecticut in order to bring attention to the mounting problems in this country. While I did not win the seat, my message of fiscal and monetary sanity was brought to a new audience of voters and political leaders. I've had a regular video blog on YouTube since 2009, called The Schiff Report ( and, after giving up my long-running Wall Street Unspun podcast, I am now the host of a nightly radio show called The Peter Schiff Show (

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