Governments Creating Jobs

It never ceases to amaze Spartacus how Governments and politicians claim credit for creating jobs, especially private sector jobs.  One must wonder if, as it perpetually claimed, Governments create jobs, then why is there any unemployment or underemployment at all?  If governments are so wonderful and efficient in creating jobs, why is there not a job for anyone who wants one anywhere?

The answer, probably to the surprise of too many, is that governments don’t create jobs.  At best, they move jobs from one area of the economy to another.  At worst, they just destroy jobs because of regulation and taxation.  You know like the latest Keynsian dig a hole, fill a hole project (also known as the NSW Stadia Strategy).

Taxing people to “create jobs” fails to account for the jobs destroyed by removing money and other resources from businesses and individuals.

If it were only possible, the next time a politician gets up and claims government has created x thousand jobs, they should be asked how many jobs they destroyed in creating those jobs.

The only people who get a free lunch in this world are generally politicians and public servants.  The rest of us slobs have to pay, including for the political and bureaucratic class.

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21 Responses to Governments Creating Jobs

  1. Robber Baron

    Politicians always tell us tax slaves that they “create and or save” jobs. I think they mean they create more government jobs in order to save their own jobs.

  2. Cynic of Ayr

    How it’s done is to regulate an industry out of business. E.G. a coal power station. Don’t mention the jobs lost. If pushed, mouth a few sympathies about re-training and all that bullshit.
    Then, subsidise a solar farm next door, employ half the power stations former employees, and scream from the rooftops, “Jobs created!!!!”
    List the jobs created in Hansard, on the party website, even get it printed on toilet paper, to make sure everyone knows they “created” solar farm jobs.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    The only people who get a free lunch in this world are generally politicians and public servants.

    TANSTAAFL was the catchcry in Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
    In that book the President of the new lunar state was a computer.
    I think we should replace all politicians with computers.

    Virtual people don’t need to be paid, nor do they need travel allowances to rort and they tend not to have it off with reluctant young staffers. We plebs would never have to shake hands with one of them ever again.

    Also virtual politicians could appoint as many virtual staffers as they wanted, and virtual librarians for their e-books, virtual dog walkers for their binary dogs and virtual social media assistants to manage their tweeting. It would cost us taxpayers nothing, and they could trumpet all the new jobs created!
    What’s not to like?

  4. meher baba

    The first Prime Minister I can recall talking about how many jobs his government had “created” was Hawke.

    In the mid-1980s, the Government ran a pointless ad which was based on the idea that 500,000 (or whatever the number was) more Australians “had a reason to get up in the morning, even though sometimes it’s a little bit hard (sic!).”

    Most of the increases in the number of jobs for which governments have tried to take credit are entirely due to broad economic growth. When the numbers of jobs have not increased, or have fallen, politicians don’t seem to be forthcoming in taking credit for that trend.

    Like him or hate him, Hawke himself did make a contribution to improved employment outcomes by negotiating the Accord, which put a lid on wages growth during a period of economic recovery.

    Howard might point to the late 1990s industrial relations changes, which have made a lasting impact (let’s not talk about the 2005 WorkChoices changes).

    Turnbull could perhaps point to his success in holding the line on the penalty rate reforms against concerted opposition, but he’ll have to wait until their impact becomes measurable (and, given the overwhelming significance of the rate of economic growth, it’s unlikely that their impact will be massive).

  5. RobK

    “The only people who get a free lunch in this world are generally politicians and public servants.
    They will tell you how hard they work, just to turn up, it’s all part of the job they have taken on to serve us.

  6. Art Vandelay

    Taxing people to “create jobs” fails to account for the jobs destroyed by removing money and other resources from businesses and individuals.

    Moreover, the deadweight cost of taxation and the misallocation of resources (due to taxation and government spending) also ensures that there’s virtually no way governments can ‘create’ more jobs than those they destroy.

  7. Mother Lode

    Granted that government creates jobs, it is only in a position to influence the environment where the true economy resides. Making things easier or harder.

    And there is a point up to which the government contributes to this environment to allow the private sector to flourish – law courts and police forces, for example, in their function of protecting the well being of citizens, protecting property rights etc.

    However, no one has ever gone through that optimal stage as they emerged from anarchy. It is conceptual, not historical. Our societies actually start from something rather despotic. Occasionally we are able to pull the state in the direction of less government interference, and first chance it gets it pulls back.

  8. Mother Lode

    The idea the government create jobs is tangled up with the one that they ‘own’ the economy’ Everything thing about it is about them, it awaits their dictates and the metrics related to the government are the metrics for everyone.

    If they increase taxes to cover their incontinent spending and they manage to reduce a deficit, it is a good thing.

  9. I am Spartacus

    If they increase taxes to cover their incontinent spending and they manage to reduce a deficit, it is a good thing.

    No it’s not. If their cut their incontinent spending to reduce the deficit, that would be a good thing. If they cut tax and spending and reduced the deficit, that would be even better.

  10. W Hogg

    11 is outdated. Unemployment fell through 2007 lows and is lowest in 17 years.

  11. John Bayley

    Also virtual politicians could appoint as many virtual staffers as they wanted, and virtual librarians for their e-books, virtual dog walkers for their binary dogs and virtual social media assistants to manage their tweeting.

    Great idea Bruce, but the only problem with it is that computers require electricity to run. The way Australia’s going, we won’t have any before long.
    Mind you, perhaps that’s a feature, not a bug? If only we could switch off politicians as electricity becomes more expensive, I think we’d be on to a winner!

  12. Phill

    Governments can create jobs. All they have to do is get out of the way.

  13. EvilElvis

    They will tell you how hard they work, just to turn up, it’s all part of the job they have taken on to serve us.

    But RobK, didn’t you get the memo? All government departments are run like businesses now and we’re all just customers. I love how they turned the ‘serving’ part around to us being ‘customers’, implying the PS has something we need when they don’t at all.

  14. Tel

    Speaking of Keynesian hole filling jobs. Governments will keep going until no one ever trusts a scientist again… one would have to presume that is the overall intention.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2017/12/giant-fans-will-cool-great-barrier-reef-to-stop-bleaching/

    Meanwhile we stand around flat-footed while the Chinese government actively destroy real corral islands in the East Vietnam Sea.

  15. marcus classis

    Just be grateful that they are not claiming that dole bludgers are ’employed’.

  16. Shy Ted

    The definition of being employed, of course, is 1 hour per week.

  17. Charles

    Don’t forget about academics and other taxpayer funded parasites who are even more worthless than public servants.

  18. Jonesy

    One good thingy…I am perplexed for what I am about to write…Pallachook vetoes federal loan to Adani. She will say…but it will be for all the wrong reasons…the right reason is, if this went ahead, it would be the first time any government has propped up a coal mine in Qld. If Adani could not fund this mine on its o wn merits…regardless of green pressure…it meant Adani is a house of cards!

  19. Hydra

    Honest

    True. However I look favourably upon a loan as recompense for all the regulatory burden imposed during the application phase.

  20. EvilElvis

    So the government screams ‘jobs’! Then makes a pariah out of a company that will supply jobs, making them untouchable to the PC banking sector then gets on their moral high horse and proclaims the government won’t help out?

    The process is the punishment Jonesy.0

  21. Glen Turner

    Gee, I would have thought the big companies who pay no tax who were exposed yesterday as the biggest free lunch getters around. And it is the lack of regulation that sees companies like Origin sell gas to Asia for a loss whilst gouging Australians for mega profits and making pensioners suffer.

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