There’s way too much pressure on politicians to “do something.” Most of the things they can do are bad. “Do something” too easily translates to “do anything,” and odds are that “anything” will end up as catastrophe.
There’s a division of labor in doing things: Investors, capitalists, and entrepreneurs create businesses which employ people; legislators and government executives have the more humble task of setting up and refining the groundrules, allowing others to do the great works.
Politicians don’t create jobs as such.
Few politicians understands this. But Gary Johnson, former two-term governor of New Mexico, does — and he’s running for the Republican presidential nomination.
“The fact is,” he said in the recent debate, “I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor.” He went on to say how proud he was of this fact. New Mexico underwent an “11.6 percent job growth” rate during his two terms. All he did was get government out of the way of businesses.
Now, I understand: The “politician as jobs creator” talk is sometimes just a way to focus attention on getting policy right. National Review Online called Johnson “the best job creator” of all the candidates. The august journal didn’t mean much by it, other than note the statistic.
But too often politicians decide they can create jobs by taking money from all of us in taxes and investing it in private companies or new government programs. Those politicians aren’t creating jobs for us, but doing a job on us.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.