William Thien

The Government as a Creator of Jobs? When Did that Happen? Like, A Long Time Ago, Dude.

Posted on: April 29, 2012

One of the things you hear about a lot in campaign ads these days is the debate about which candidate will create more jobs while in office or who has the best record of creating jobs or who will do the most to preserve jobs, with the latter being a rather disconcerting note that you typically hear during a recession.

It occurs to me that it is not really the privy of the government to create jobs but to provide services and perhaps one of the reasons there are so many unemployed people in The US is that some time ago I presume it became part of the political landscape, probably in a campaign ad, that politicians were supposed to create jobs.

Perhaps if candidates focused on doing their own jobs such as providing services, seeing to it that the roads didn’t look like the surface of the moon, that the water was clean, and that other municipal, state, and federal governmental responsibilities were addressed, perhaps if the candidates focused on those primary tasks and stayed out of the supposed job creation debate we’d all be better off. Not that government couldn’t do a fine job of creating jobs, but maybe it is time to try something new, or old rather, if ye gets me drift. Maybe the government should stay out of the job creation business altogether.

But the reality is that government has been one of the largest employers for over a hundred years, the largest if you combine all levels of government. In a way, the government is very good at creating jobs, gubment jobs, that is.

The problem is that not everyone wants a government job. Furthermore, employers are usually good at creating jobs they are familiar with. For example, a manufacturer of automobiles would probably create jobs in that industry and those that support it. A baker will create jobs in his or her bakery. Government creates “government jobs” because that is what government knows how to do.

The problem with candidates talking about how many jobs they are creating is that government doesn’t create private sector jobs. Government creates government jobs. And there is a common notion throughout most of America today that government is just too big. More government jobs means bigger government. So, again, maybe it’s not such a good idea for candidates to tout how many jobs they are creating because there is a good chance those jobs will be government jobs.

Indeed, government can create the right atmosphere for private sector expansion, but that is hard for the government to do historically without sacrificing something else, such as taxing the middle class even more to provide tax breaks to corporations. Since the middle class is the bread and butter of America when it comes to taxes, eventually that strategy fails as well as the middle class breaks underneath the yoke of excessive taxation, while the giant corporation puts the small business out of business, the small business being the primary employer of the middle classes, the small business not receiving the specialized and favorable tax schemes offered to corporations, and eventually you will have only corporations and the poor, something the “99 Percenters” claim is happening right now.

Instead, as I said before, perhaps candidates should laud their record on making sure you don’t need a vehicle with a military suspension to navigate the potholes in the roads on the way to work or that the water is clean, concentrate on lowering taxes for all (which usually generates higher tax revenues due to its stimulative effect), and stay out of the jobs creating business for the most part except for public works projects, bridges, roads, infrastructure and the like. If candidates would concentrate on that type of thing, on what was traditionally the scope of governments at most levels in the first place, maybe the populace would be much happier with politicians and their favorability numbers would go up a notch or two on the favorability scale.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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