Can Government Create Jobs?

Today’s Thomas Sowell column tackles a concept few politicians and MSM types seem to understand:  government can’t create jobs.  Sure, it can tax and borrow big bucks, using some of the proceeds for hiring government workers.  But productive jobs come from wealth, and government doesn’t create wealth; it redistributes it.  The more efficient private sector would likely create far more jobs than government if the latter didn’t extract so much money to pay for its schemes.  Government merely transfers workers from the private to public sector (with some no doubt lost in the shuffle) and takes credit for the jobs it “created.” Dr. Sowell notes FDR’s massive government jobs programs never put a dent in the unemployment rate.

Sowell continues that government makes hiring much more expensive with its many mandates on employers.  The health care bills being considered in Congress will send the cost of private sector hiring soaring.  Econ 101 teaches us that when you raise the price of something, people normally demand less of it.  This is no different for labor.  If government mandates make new workers cost more than they produce, a company won’t hire them.  And current employees who become a drag on profits will be fired.  If private sector workers become an endangered species as companies shrink, just who will be paying all those taxes to support an ever-expanding government payroll?

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