Thursday, February 19, 2009

Job "creation," government style

On the myth that government "stimulus" creates jobs, Hazlitt has the following to say:

For every public job created by the [state-initiated and funded] bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from the taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers.

"At best." More likely, unproductive bureaucrats receive some of the "created" jobs, and productivity suffers because of government employment and management practices. So while we see the bridge, and lack the cars, TVs, clothes, and food, we also fail to see losses caused by waste.

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