It should be obvious by now that someone or something needs to jumpstart this economy. Normally that would come in the form of a government stimulus program, as it has in each recession since the 1930s.
But the depth of this hole is too vast for only the goverment to fill. To turn this wayward ship around, we need all hands on deck. What this country desperately needs is another stimulus – but this one from the private sector.
In short, businesses have to take the lead. Given the logjam in Washington, there’s no other way out. Companies will have to spend in order to jumpstart this stalled economy.
Even if the numbers don’t seem to justify it. Even if it makes questionable business sense on the surface. Even if consumer demand may not be fully there yet.
Because, if you think about it, it really does make business sense. Consumer confidence and demand are the classic chicken and egg paradox. No one can say for sure which comes first. But in this environment, both would rise from a spending and hiring surge in the private sector.
If every company would make some leap of faith investment – add a little to its staff, begin to invest in upgrades and research, spend a little of that two trillion in the bank – this economy would start to pick up steam again, consumer confidence would follow suit, Americans would start spending (and justify that business investment), and the cycle would pick up speed and become self-sustaining.
It may seem naive to ask companies to do something that is counter-intuitive. Why should businesses invest when the demand doesn’t seem to be there? But that’s exactly when they should invest. It’s in their short-term and long-term interest to.
So for the Lloyd Blankfeins or Warren Buffetts of the world – those folks who have the ear and trust of every business leader in America – their financial advice should be clear and simple: Hire. Hire. HIRE.
Imagine if every company with 1,000 or more employees committed to adding 3% to its employee base next year. If every business with 100-999 employees committed to hiring just 2% more staff. And if every small business committed to bringing on at least one more able body. Turn one more intern into a paid employee. Make one more temp permanent.
Or invest in the infrastructure of their business. Add that one new truck. Upgrade the computer system. Replace that old office carpet. Every dollar spent creates a job somewhere. It all adds up.
Remember the Buy War Bonds drive of WWII? People showed their patriotism by investing in their country.
What if we had a Hire America drive today? What if American businesses were asked to show their patriotism by investing in the economy that they all swim in and profit from?
No government regulation. No tax increase. No stimulus spending that adds to the federal debt.
Just a voluntary, simple show of patriotism. Hire America. One person at a time.
If the private sector would step up and show their faith in the American economy by investing in it, the economy would begin to rebound and everyone would ultimately benefit.
Investment is always a leap of faith.
But sometimes, faith pays off.