Politicians from the President all the way down to lowly state representatives, along with their mouthpieces in the media, keep repeating the same refrain like a choir of parrots drunk from whiskey and buzzing from caffeine at the same time. Jobs, jobs, jobs. The economy needs to improve, and the way to do that is to create jobs. Every politician who wants to get elected and keep sucking dry the marrow of civilization promises to personally “create jobs.”
But this is a horrible metric. As with most things the government does or believes, it trips over the roots of the first tree it comes across and then can’t see the forest because officials are blinded by their own tears and deaf from the sound of their own whining. The health of the economy is not dependent on the number of “new” jobs, whatever that means.
Let’s take a hypothetical two income household. Each parent brings in $30,000. Their total income is $60,000.
Let’s say the husband gets a big break and more than doubles his income. He is now bringing home $65,000. His wife decides to quit her job and stay home, because they can now afford the situation.
Gasp! But this family only one has one job now! Certainly they must be worse off than before. Right?
On the other side of things, we have the idea of productivity. The reason a job exists is because the value the person creates can eventually be traded for more than that person is being paid. They produce something of worth. that might be part of a product, or it might be ideas or information. Worth is generally subjective.
But according to the jobs, jobs, jobs logic, the job itself is an end, instead of a means to an end. If this was true, then we could round up a bunch of hobos from the street and give them jobs digging holes in the field and then filling them right back up again. The job itself is the goal, and so we just created a bunch jobs. But no one in their right mind would actually pay for people to just dig holes and fill them back up for no apparent reason. There is no value.
So what does the government do when no reasonable person would do this on their own. They institutionalize it. A group of people can be wiser than their individual parts, but a group of bureaucrats will almost always be unreasonable. And so being the unreasonable entity required to hire hole diggers who add no value, they then need the money for this. So they tax, taking money out of the economy, skimming a little off the top, and then putting it back in the economy toward something unproductive.
And magically, the economy is improving because they just created new jobs!
As someone once said, the government trying to stimulate the economy is like a man trying to fill up the shallow end of the pool by taking water from the deep end of the same pool. Except the man uses a colander to carry the water.
Don’t get caught up in the religious mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s an idol that leads to nothing but…nothing.
One thought on “Like a Choir of Parrots”
That reminds me of the description of daylight savings time: it’s like cutting off one end of a blanket and sewing it on the other end to make the blanket longer.