by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
A couple of weeks ago I called it “a highly cherished fiction by policymakers that they are the ones who create the jobs,” going on to compare politicians’ role in job creation with highways’ role in car creation:
It’s also dangerous fiction, because these bills and programs require transferring resources and freedom from the real job creators, with the net effect being less freedom, fewer jobs, and more reinforcement of the lie that politicians create jobs. Is there a role for politics in job creation? Yes, there is, and that is to make the environment more favorable for individual job creators. After all, the highway doesn’t create the cars; its job is to make the environment more suitable for cars to get to their destination.
I suppose I should have known what to expect afterwards. The politicians would double-down full moron on the analogy. Q.v., today’s news:
Job creation driving highway bills in Congress
WASHINGTON — The lure of roads, bridges, buses and trains isn’t enough anymore to drive an expensive transportation bill through Congress. So to round up votes, congressional leaders are pitching the bills as the hottest thing around these days: job generators.
But do they really create more jobs? Not really, is the answer from many economists. The bills would simply shift investment that was creating jobs elsewhere in the economy to transportation industries. That means different jobs, but not necessarily additional ones. …
Such doubling down has happened before. After I complained about Obama’s stimulus and Cash for Clunkers disasters as based in the broken-windows fallacy, the president went out and actually highlighted a glazier getting extra work because of the stimulus bill. I suppose I should watch my analogies closer.