Baking a batch of cookies (with a side of employment)

I’m an avid baker. I especially love this time of year, when I not only get to bake, but also wrap up goodies in colored sugar and festive paper and give them away. As a child, I would often wander into the kitchen and announce that we should bake something delicious, to which my mom usually agreed. However, as a young girl I had no idea how much time my mom spent being prepared for such baking forays.

We just always had sugar and butter and eggs and vanilla and chocolate and any other basic ingredients I would have needed, and I just assumed that such things always appeared in grown-up kitchens, and didn’t give the behind-the-scenes effort much thought.

Since being an adult and living on my own, I’m even more impressed with how well-stocked my mom’s kitchen was (and still is). I have a pattern of finding a great new recipe to try, going to the store for ingredients and then getting home only to have forgotten something essential.

But after I finally have all of my supplies, and after preparing my pans and mixing bowls, I have to put everything together and in the oven. Baking takes time, energy, thought, planning and a great deal more, in short, than what I thought it did as a young girl, excitedly flipping through my mom’s faded Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Now I’m going to take a leap and wonder why we don’t think about more things in life like we would a batch of cookies. Sometimes it seems that we’re stuck in a juvenile mentality, assuming that mom always has the supplies we need and giving the entire process no more thought.

Take jobs for instance. Everyone knows that the unemployment rate in this country is abysmal, but we keep focusing on the end result (a batch of cookies or more jobs) instead of the many steps it takes to get there, (shopping, mixing and baking or a better business market, lower taxes, and financial freedom for businesses).

Our President recently gave a speech about creating jobs through what many are calling “Stimulus 2”. If the first stimulus did so poorly that we have to do it again, then why are we doing it again? If the consensus is that it did go well and bears repeating based on its merits, well, then, I guess we should get comfy here with the 10% and rising unemployment rate, since that’s the best we can do.

It seems to me that the insecurity of wildly growing government, new expensive environmental policies, higher minimum wage, possible unionization of all workers and a possible take-over of health care are all detractors from hiring new employees. But instead of giving businesses something solid to build upon, we seem bent on making the people whom we want to give us employment the enemy. This is shaping up to be one screwed-up batch of cookies.

Feel free to make fun of me for thinking about all these problems too simply… I admit that I have no public policy experience and I am just a writer who obviously likes cookies a bit too much. But in life, anytime we need to make a change or reach a goal, we have to take steps to get there. No amount of focus on jobs, career change, college degree or any other goal will get us there. We have to start with steps, with small changes that make sense… like stocking up on flour and sugar.

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