I’ve heard the Republican propaganda meme “government doesn’t create jobs” repeated so frequently and without objection from Team Obama that I cam to suspect that they agree. That suspicion was confirmed yesterday in Obama’s politically disastrous Ohio speech on the economy:
OBAMA: This is the vision behind the jobs plan I sent Congress back in September, a bill filled with bipartisan ideas that, according to independent economists, would create up to 1 million additional jobs if passed today.
This is the vision behind the deficit plan I sent to Congress back in September, a detailed proposal that would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion through shared sacrifice and shared responsibility.
This is the vision I intend to pursue in my second term as president because I believe…
… because — because I believe if we do these things — if we do these things more companies will start here and stay here and hire here, and more Americans will be able to find jobs that support a middle class lifestyle.
Understand, despite what you hear from my opponent, this has never been a vision about how government creates jobs or has the answers to all our problems.
Over the last three years I’ve cut taxes for the typical working family by $3,600.
Okay, it’s a bipartisan meme, and Obama denies that he ever envisioned government creating jobs.
But, what about the millions of civil-service employees, the people working at the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, the NSF, the FBI, the TSA, etc. Do these government employees not have government-created jobs? And what about jobs with government contractors, e.g., Northrup-Grumman or The Aerospace Corp.? Are those not government created, at least indirectly? WTF are these blithering conservative fools talking about? Have they gone barking mad? And, Obama? He’d do anything for the sake of bipartisanship. I wouldn’t be surprised if he announced that he’d joined the birthers.
But, to further refute this nonsensical meme, let’s turn to my favorite Koch-dominated propaganda mill, the Cato Institute. Here we have a typical propaganda video on the matter. But, within the first 25 seconds, they unwittingly shoot their argument in the head by claiming that free enterprise would dig a canal with a backhoe, while the government, to create jobs, would have workers dig it with shovels or even spoons.
That’s exactly the point, free enterprise will do everything they can to avoid creating American jobs: mechanize them away, offshore them, and/or hire undocumented aliens. And, if they have to create an American job, it be at the lowest possible wages with the fewest possible benefits. After all, the CEO has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize share-holder profits.
To me this is class warfare. IMHO, it’s time that (would-be) working-class Americans elect politicians who believe in creating American jobs with American benefits and American wages. And, I don’t really care whether those jobs are inside or outside of government. The WPA created millions of jobs as did WWII. And they were government jobs, and they got us out of the previous depression.
UPDATE: Here is what Krugman said this morning about the economic importance of the jobs that government creates:
But the more relevant question for the moment is whether the public job cuts Mr. Romney applauds are good or bad for the economy. And we now have a lot of evidence bearing on that question.
First of all, there’s our own experience. Conservatives would have you believe that our disappointing economic performance has somehow been caused by excessive government spending, which crowds out private job creation. But the reality is that private-sector job growth has more or less matched the recoveries from the last two recessions; the big difference this time is an unprecedented fall in public employment, which is now about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush.
And, if we had those extra jobs, the unemployment rate would be much lower than it is — something like 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent. It sure looks as if cutting government when the economy is deeply depressed hurts rather than helps the American people.
The really decisive evidence on government cuts, however, comes from Europe. Consider the case of Ireland, which has reduced public employment by 28,000 since 2008 — the equivalent, as a share of population, of laying off 1.9 million workers here. These cuts were hailed by conservatives, who predicted great results. “The Irish economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery,” declared Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute in June 2010.
But recovery never came; Irish unemployment is currently more than 14 percent. Ireland’s experience shows that austerity in the face of a depressed economy is a terrible mistake to be avoided if possible.