-By Robert Reich
September 14, 2011- Perry and Romney can duke it out over who created the most jobs, but governors have as much influence over job growth in their states as roosters do over sunrises.
States don’t have their own monetary policies so they can’t lower interest rates to spur job growth. They can’t spur demand through fiscal policies because state budgets are small, and 49 out of 50 are barred by their constitutions from running deficits.
States can cut corporate taxes and regulations, and dole out corporate welfare, in efforts to improve the states’ “business climate.” But studies show these strategies have little or no effect on where companies locate. Location decisions are driven by much larger factors — where customers are, transportation links, and energy costs.
If governors try hard enough, though, they can create lots of lousy jobs. They can drive out unions, attract low-wage immigrants, and turn a blind eye to businesses that fail to protect worker health and safety.