by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
My latest Townhall.com column builds on a recent Locker Room post of mine, but in the course of explaining why so many politicians want to believe that they are the ones responsible for job creation (a notion I’ve discussed before), I write:
[Politicians] like ribbon-cutting ceremonies and press releases where they can pretend they’re the real job creators. When Summers helped sell the Obama stimulus plan at a Democratic retreat, Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, was moved to say “This is all reassuring.” No doubt the thought that the economy can grow at the direction of central planners in the White House and Congress was reassuring. They thought they could “spend our way out” of the recession. By now they should have no assurance left. …
Case in point: the deficit for February 2011 was $223 Billion, higher than all of fiscal year 2007, back when Democrats’ political messaging included decrying the Bush deficits. Change indeed.
The Democrats’ response to this reality is not to rethink their assumptions but to double down on the fallacy. They are operating a fractured-English web site called whenarethejobs.com to track job-creation legislation in the GOP-controlled U.S. House. The bills create the jobs? They have apparently no concept that reducing federal spending, taxes, and regulations are job-creation bills in the sense that interstates are car-creation plans. Interstates don’t make the cars, of course, and politicians don’t create the jobs — but what they can do is make the environment more suitable for them.
I argue that the flawed economic thinking behind thinking these catastrophes are good for Japan because of all the economic activity going into rebuilding is the same thinking behind the stimulus — idolizing spending for its own sake without paying attention to societal wealth.
P.S. Cato has found more examples of such nonsense.