Monday, January 19, 2009

We'll Just "Create" More Jobs

I've learned that when trying to argue with a liberal citing stats and unemployment figures and trying to convey concepts like underemployment is pointless not in that they don't have the intellectual ability to understand such things, they just simply choose not to expend the effort to.

Ergo why I like to convey economic concepts simply in that that is the best way to do so. So here is a little tidbit that will come in handy when you're having your political discussions or arguments with family and friends that are bound to occur;

Barack Obama has consistently increased the number of jobs he's going to "create." First it was 2 million. Then 2.5 million. I think I heard 3 million, and who knows where it is now.

Now fine, dandy, grand. Obama is going to "create" jobs. But does this not assume it is within the power of Obama (or the president) to just "create" jobs? And if so, then why stop at 3 million? Why not 4 million or 10 million?

It behooves the question why worry about a recession at all if the president can just simply "create" jobs?

It's along the same line as the logic of minimum wage. Well if $5.75 isn't enough, why not $7? And if $7/hour, heck, why not mandate everybody is paid $50/hr? That would solve poverty.

The problem is (and this is going to be the BIGGEST crushing blow to Obama zealots) is that the president is not all powerful and cannot just simply "create" jobs. The people do. The economy does. The market does.

Sure the president can develop policies that will foster jobs. Sure the president can pursue fiscal policy that will create the environment by which jobs are created. But it is not in the power of the president to just "create" jobs. Furthermore, Obama's economic policies could not be further from job creation. They will, if anything, destroy jobs.

Now I know that this may be a bit much for your standard leftist to accept, but I think it's well within their intellectual ability to understand AND ADMIT that it isn't just a simple matter of "creating" jobs. This will hopefully put them down the path towards investigating how exactly jobs are created and instead of just spewing words that they'd "like to create more jobs" they actually put forth the intellectual effort to find out how.

To help a reminder about where jobs come from and how shovels are so 1933.


Anonymous said...

Uhm, er, huh?

When I checked just a few minutes ago ( ) it seemed that the Federal Government employed about 2.7 million people excluding the military. State and local governments employ large numbers of people, too, and still more millions are indirectly employed by the government through private contractors working on government contracts.

Since the Chinese still seem perfectly willing to lend the federal government dollars (and the Fed is willing to print money if that falls short), there's no risk of not meeting payroll.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that the government can't create jobs, since the government demonstrably does. If the government decided to directly create more jobs it could expand the federal payroll with make-work projects (such as the CCC from the Depression).

That might not be the best use of federal resources, but those jobs would be no less real for it.

Anonymous said...

It's not just the stats, it's the concepts. Most the replies to the Antiplanner can't comprehend that restricting the supply of housing can cause prices to increase. As far as the job creation thing, it seems that jobs are gifts from the gods that only anointed public officials can ask for. I would love to hear a politician say that we intend to foster policies to encourage business growth.

Andrew L said...

I'd really like it if politicians would use sensible terms like "creating wealth" instead of "creating jobs". Job creation is easy: see Bastiat's parable of the broken window. Wealth creation, on the other hand is much more difficult.

Alas, "creating jobs" has a more egalitarian ring to it than "creating wealth", so I doubt politicians will stop using it any time soon.

CBMTTek said...

If I remember correctly, at one point, Yahoo! News was reporting that Obama's plan will create 4.1 million jobs.

Even the 14 page plan was not exactly clear on how that would happen, and it actually admitted that by 2014 the unemployment rate will most likely be right back where it is today. But, somehow, 4.1 million people would be right back at work.

I think there are a few things that should be pointed out to those that believe the President can wipe out unemployment. Things like a certain percentage of unemployment is actually healthy for the economy. Things like how the actual unemployment percentage is only a small part of the job picture, and actually the average (mean, median?) amount of time a person is unemployed is a more telling number of the job picture.

Who cares what the unemployment rate is, if the overwhelming majority of the people looking for work find employment in a timely manner?

Also, in response to Anonymous above, the real question is how will the US Government pay for all the jobs created without devaluing the dollar, or enacting crippling taxes on individuals and businesses? Sure, Uncle Sam can just hire more people, but did that create any wealth? Did that increase the living conditions of the average Amreican?

Anonymous said...


" seemed that the Federal Government employed about 2.7 million people excluding the military."

I have no doubt that the government is responsible for the employment of many paople. The critical word in question, however, is creating.

In order for the government to employ somebody, they need money. They can raise this money in one of three ways: by taxing their population, by printing more currency, or by borrowing it. All three of these mechanisms reduce the wealth of the population, the first directly, the second indirectly, and the third in the future.

By reducing the wealth of the population, the government reduces their ability to employ people, both directly and indirectly. In this way, jobs funded by the government are just taken from other areas, and not really created at all.

Not only that, but governments are notoriously inefficient at these transfers, and so the amount of employment "created" is always less than the amount of wealth taken.