Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Refuting The Left-Wing Dishrag

Robert Samuelson eviscerates a silly editorial put forth by the New York Times...
Who creates most jobs? Hint: It’s not the government. Almost everyone seems to grasp that the private sector is the true jobs machine. But here’s a notable exception to the consensus: the editorial page of The New York Times. The other day, its lead editorial wasThe Myth of Job Creation: The government does in fact create jobs, important jobs, millions of them.” In 35 years, I can’t recall ever writing a column refuting an editorial. But this one warrants special treatment because the Times’ argument is so simplistic, the subject is so important and the Times is such an influential institution.

...Government does create jobs, including “teachers, police officers, firefighters, soldiers, sailors, astronauts, epidemiologists, antiterrorism agents, park rangers, diplomats. ...” There are 22 million federal, state and local workers, notes the Times.
Case closed, it asserts. And it’s true that, legally, government does expand employment. But economically, it doesn’t — and that’s what people usually mean when they say “government doesn’t create jobs.”

What the Times omits is the money to support all these government jobs. It must come from somewhere — generally, taxes or loans (bonds, bills). But if the people whose money is taken via taxation or borrowing had kept the money, they would have spent most or all of it on something — and that spending would have boosted employment.

Job creation in the private sector is mostly a spontaneous and circular process. People buy things they need and want. Or businesses and private investors take risks by investing in new products, technologies and factories. All this spending, driven by self-interest and the profit motive, supports more jobs. In a smoothly functioning market economy, the process feeds on itself. By contrast, public-sector employment grows only when government claims some private-sector income to pay its workers. Government is not creating jobs. It’s substituting public-sector workers for private-sector workers.
As the Times points out, even President Obama seems to disagree with them (at least, he says he does). It would seem to be strange that the Times editorial board would take such a silly position, until you realize that they seem to take a number of silly positions.

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