Marc A. Thiessen argues in his latest column that President Obama’s recent “gaffe” that the private sector is “doing fine” was actually something of a Freudian gaffe — a political mistake, but based on what he really believes. Even though public-sector unemployment levels are about half those for the private sector, Thiessen says, Obama and the Democrats want to employ even more government workers. Bah to that, he adds.
In the 1,500-plus responses from readers, commenters are arguing with themselves and with Thiessen, fiercely throwing around numbers, to reach what we at PostScript declare a consensus: 1) There is no meaningful distinction between the public and private sectors in unemployment, since they draw from the same pool of applicants; and, 2) Job creation is almost impossible because, to create jobs, you need to create demand for jobs, and ours is now a mechanized economy where we don’t actually need more workers to create more value.
Essentially, if we might speak for the commenters, the economy is argh.
The most important argh: Whose job is creating jobs? Maybe we should hire that person.
Pdt278 argues that businesses are not directly in the job-creation business, however much we would like them to be:
Capitalism doesn’t exist to employ people — only to make profits. The President makes the correct reference that the private sector is doing just fine. They are at all an all-time high in profits. The Dow is up 50% since Jan 2009, the NASDAQ is up, the S&P is up. All is up except employment. So the President was correct. I think we can all agree on this because as you continue to note corporations (capitalists) don’t exist to employ people — just make money and they are doing just fine in that.danielnemiroff says that increasing the number of people in government employment is the only sure-fire tool Obama has that will absolutely, definitely increase the number of employed people:
In terms of creating decent jobs with good wages and benefits, the private sector is doing very poorly indeed. In terms of corporate profit, the private sector (Or those at the top of the private sector) is doing very well.
The question is, what can the federal government do? Any legislation to buck the trend/redistribute corporate profit, protect workers rights etc. is impossible in a political climate that accepts job killers as job creators. All Obama can really do is feed money to State and local authorities so that hundreds of thousands of cops, teachers and firefighters can keep their jobs and purchase goods and services provided by the private sector.
ADNova suggests that would be a whole new type of creative destruction, in which we can all do our part:
If Keynesian economics truly works, we should all be out this afternoon throwing rocks through windows. Fixing the windows will stimulate the economy. We should probably start keying cars too.
Wow. That would ease a lot of debilitating worker stress, push demand for glass and glaziers way up, bring in money to local governments, through fines, and stimulate the incarceration market like a house afire. We here in the PostScript bunker can see no flaw in this plan! Bunkers don’t have windows.