As the USA seeks to recover from its recession and to add jobs to a contracting economy, many political and civic leaders have invested energy and resources in an effort to develop jobs. Cities offer incentives to businesses to hire and to bring jobs. State and federal agencies offer incentives to preserve and increase jobs. It is pretty clear that if we can solve the unemployment problems facing the USA, we will go a long way toward solving our economic problems as a whole.
The types of jobs that we should be creating, however, can be the subject of much debate. For example, several states are considering various forms of legalized gambling. The various Native American tribes that have opened casinos over the past several years have seen a huge increase in revenue and a huge improvement in their collective standard of living. Proponents of organized gambling argue that legalization of casinos would have the same effect in the urban areas that attract them. As one who lives in Central Florida, I would love to see that theory tested by adding casinos to downtown Orlando, an area that is in great need of investment by business.
You may agree with me or disagree with me with respect to legalized gambling. Perhaps you or someone you love has a problem with gambling addiction and you would rather not see opportunities for gambling increased. Perhaps you are morally opposed to gambling. Perhaps you worry about the ancillary vices that might accompany the liberalization of gambling laws. Perhaps you even disagree with the notion that legalized gambling will create jobs and improve local economies.
Perhaps your points are valid.
My point is not to debate the merits of the liberalization of gambling laws but to ask you to consider whether all job creation is truly good for our economy? If we open up vast areas of Alaska and undersea sites in the Gulf of Mexico to oil companies, we will generate jobs, cut our dependence on foreign oil and pump a lot of corporate dollars into our economy. We will also destroy vast areas of pristine wilderness. Is it worth it?
I am sure you can think of plenty of other examples of decisions that can be made to improve our economy but at the expense of our morality, or our environment, or our sense of place or any number of other valuable ideals. When you read about initiatives to create jobs, do you also think about the ramifications of those initiatives on other aspects of our way of life? Do you take the time to form an informed opinion, or do you just voice agreement with the notion that anything we can do to get Americans back to work should be done?
Where does economic necessity trump moral initiative? Where do you draw the line when you are considering which political initiatives you want to support and which you want to see defeated?