Who Broke America's Job Machine?
Unemployment is the single greatest threat America now faces. Job growth, anemic before the recession, is now non-existent, and promises to be weak for years to come. Some blame foreign competition; others, a lack of investment. But in the current issue of the Washington Monthly, Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman point to a different culprit: corporate consolidation, brought on by decades of weak antitrust enforcement in Washington. Industries from banking to retail to microchips are now so dominated by a few big firms that small businesses -- the source of most new jobs -- have less and less opportunity to thrive, expand, and challenge the behemoths. The result is a less innovative and dynamic economy. If this argument is right, then it's going to take a good deal more than tax breaks and stimulus spending to get America's jobs machine working again. It's going to require a federal government that will enforce the nation's antitrust laws, bring more competition back into markets, and unleash the creative energies of America's entrepreneurs.