What are the odds that yesterday’s White House jobs summit will lead to the creation of any real jobs? The summit was based on the magic theory of government: Say the right incantations and reality will be reshaped according to one’s desires. …. This is the sign of a primitive mentality. In reality economic laws exist, reality sets limits, and good feelings can’t create prosperity out of nothing, especially when government stubbornly stands in the way.
Jobs are not ends in themselves. They are means to the things consumers want. Government could create full employment by building pyramids and drafting all young people for combat in the Afghan adventure. But would that be productive?
How about rebuilding the infrastructure? The problem here is that infrastructure is the politicians’ playground. Lacking market signals, they can’t be trusted to get it right. And why does it take high unemployment to get politicians thinking about roads and bridges? They’ve shown themselves to be bad stewards. Better to transfer these assets to the private sector, where business, not political, judgments will guide decision-making.
Richman also makes that case that its just not in the nature of politicians to do the proper thing and get out of the way to allow the market to heal the structural damage inflicted by government’s distortions. Their inability to resist the siren song of do something is already prolonging the recession, inflicting a wreckless mountain of debt upon us and lowering our standard of living for the foreseeable future.