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Monday, September 14, 2009

New Political Drinking Game

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of hearing about governments claiming credit for creating--or claiming they can create--jobs.

Governments do not create jobs. They get in the way of job creation by taxing productive wealth and turning into a unproductive crapshoots most of the time. Smart people know this.

But we're not governed by smart people. Nor are many smart people running for office. So this election cycle, I propose we take a drink every time a politician talks about how many jobs their policies will ostensibly create, or conversely, how Stephen Harper's government "lost" jobs. Yes, that's right, the government "lost" your job. Just ask Warren Kinsella, for instance.

So let's at least have fun watching people bounce of each other (left and right, alike) pretending as if the government is somehow a magical, central planning bureau that we can all thank for giving us (or losing us) our jobs.

Posted by Mike Brock on September 14, 2009 | Permalink



(1) "Governments do not create jobs. They get in the way of job creation...."

If that is right, then I don't see why you should have an objection to the claim that the government "lost" jobs. If jobs are lost because the government got in the way, say by making new rules that resulted in layoffs, then they did lose people their jobs. If government meddling in business was the cause of the economic collapse last year, then all the jobs lost as a result should be blamed on them, right?

(2) "Smart people know this. But we're not governed by smart people. Nor are many smart people running for office."

You forgot to add that if politicians talk so frequently about jobs they created or that their opponents lost, then the voters must not be smart people either. If voters were smart enough to know that this was bullshit, they would not be impressed by any politician claiming such things. Furthermore, you neglect the possibility that politicians are smart enough to know they don't create jobs, but claim that they do because they know the public will buy it. Yes, politicians do lie if they think they will be believed.

So if you are right, then it shows that the voters must be dumb, not the leaders.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-09-14 6:00:29 PM

I agree government does not create jobs. They can destroy private sector jobs to create a government sector job but its negative. Fact Check is right that government laws and regulations not only destroy jobs but suppress the creation of new jobs.

I think it was a Spain report that said their "alternative energy" jobs program destroyed 2.2 jobs in the private sector for every "green job" created.

Posted by: GeronL | 2009-09-14 8:41:04 PM

FC is spot on. The main reason we get this rubbish is that the majority of voters buy it.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-09-14 9:06:09 PM

Most voters don't do any research, they just vote as they always do. Wheres the C? or L? or NDP? I am always amazed at how little people know about what the government is doing. I can't tell the difference between a liberal and a conservative. The middle of the road is getting awfully crowded. Until the media pours it on for a good solid week or more, most people are the 3 monkeys. Dumb, deaf, and blind.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-09-14 9:32:24 PM

The last politition who actually created a job was Robert Stanfield.

Posted by: dp | 2009-09-14 9:44:51 PM

Check the Social Studies programs in most of the provinces and you will see that the majority of students have been brainwashed to believe that Keynesian economics is the only answer. It is not the average citizen that is stupid. He/she is badly educated. The ones who are really stupid are the university educated who really do believe that there is a free lunch.

Posted by: DML | 2009-09-14 10:56:34 PM

I'm not sure I'd say people are dumb. They've been indoctrinated in school at an early age and most have never thought of questioning their education. So far, over the last few years, I've been able to convince quite a few friends and acquaintances to at least start considering other viewpoints.

FC is right about politicians though. They're vote buying whores. Whether these people are dumb or not is largely irrelevant.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-09-15 5:32:56 AM

You are completely mistaken. Jobs can be created at whim, at the expense of prosperity. One way to do this is create an inflation. Or banning productive activity (like banning self-serve gas, or self-check out at home depot). There are ways to increase employment by lowering the standard of living.

For more

Posted by: Doug Ransom | 2009-09-15 7:18:31 AM


You are entirely correct that the only way gov't can create a job is by either confiscating productive resources or inflating: both of which prevent wealth creation.

But I must quibble with your statement. When you prevent wealth creation you are also preventing job creation. This means that although government can create jobs, when you take into account the consequences of the means it employs to create those jobs, the net result is either zero and usually even negative in terms of job creation.

Perhaps the statement: "government can't increase the total number of jobs in an economy" would be more accurate?

Posted by: Charles | 2009-09-15 8:40:21 AM

When government creates jobs, they create "government jobs". That means more bureaucracy and more socialism and less liberty for free marketeers. Meaning no growth.
So its a moot point at best.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-09-15 2:50:00 PM

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