Economics

Governments Don't Create Prosperity

The truth about economic growth

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Politicians say they create jobs, but they really don't. Or rather, they rarely create productive jobs. Government has no money of its own. All it does is take resources from one group and give them to another. The pharaohs might have claimed they created work when they ordered that pyramids be built, but think how much richer (and freer) the Egyptians would have been if they'd been allowed to pursue their own interests.

It's individuals in the marketplace who create real jobs—when they have the protection of life and property under the rule of law.

Economic freedom is the key. The theory couldn't be more clear, and at this late date in human history, it shouldn't be necessary to rehearse the abundant evidence. Look at the various indexes that correlate economic freedom with economic growth. The healthiest economies are those with the most economic freedom. Unemployment is low in those places—3 percent in Hong Kong, 2 percent in Singapore, 5 percent in Australia

Alas, the United States places ninth, behind Canada, and those countries with the least economic freedom have few real jobs and no prosperity.

Unfortunately, most politicians still don't understand—or have no incentive to understand—that economic freedom, and therefore less government, creates prosperity. Well, maybe that's changing. This year is first I've heard so many presidential candidates talk about the private sector. Indeed, one candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, told me he created "not one single job. … Government does not create jobs."

The truth is we have too few jobs today because government stands in the way. If I'm an employer, why would I want to hire someone when Congress and the Labor Department have so many rules that I might not be able to fire that person if he can't do the job? Why would I take a risk on an investment when still-to-be-written rules about Obamacare, financial regulation and the environment could turn my good idea into a losing venture?

I refereed a debate on whether government creates or impedes economic activity.

"Government can spend and create jobs," said David Callahan, cofounder of Demos. "If government steps up and provides stimulus money to hire people, what we get is more people spending money in this economy, more hiring, and we get that virtuous cycle going."

 Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, replied:

"It is ridiculous to assume you can tax the people that are working and give the money (to people) who are not working and somehow this creates economy activity. You are destroying as much by taking from those who are working and creating."

Callahan then invoked the magic I-word.

"One place we need more government spending is for infrastructure. Drive down any road, go across any bridge, you are likely to see dilapidation. There was a bipartisan panel that said we need to spend $2 trillion or more on infrastructure."

"Don't pretend that stimulates the economy," Brook rebutted. "That money has to come from somewhere, that $2 trillion that you would want to spend on infrastructure is taken from the private economy."

"This is a fallacy," Callahan replied. "Twenty million jobs were created in the 1990s when we had higher tax rates than we do today. After World War II—also a period of high tax rates, also incredible job growth.

And, by Keynesian logic, war can stimulate the economy.

"World War II was the great stimulus. … That kind of external crisis can inject a lot of new capital."

"This is one of the worst fallacies of economics," Brook said. "This is called the broken-window fallacy."

The fallacy comes from Frederic Bastiat's story of the boy who breaks a shop window, prompting some to believe that replacing the window will stimulate a ripple of economic activity. The fallacy lies in overlooking the productive things the shopkeeper would have done with the money had the window not needed replacing.

"World War II did nothing to promote economy growth," Brook said. "Blowing things up is not an economic stimulus. Destruction does not lead to progress."

Don't expect most politicians to learn this any time soon.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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  1. The pharaohs might have claimed they created work when they ordered that pyramids be built, but think how much richer (and freer) the Egyptians would have been if they’d been allowed to pursue their own interests.

    John, are you honestly arguing that the pyramids – the great wonders of the world – should never have been built? How were the aliens going to know where to land?

    What politician wants to tell his voters that his job gets in the way of their jobs? To get votes, he has to promise that, given the chance to do his job, he can get government and government money (wherever that comes from) to create them jobs.

    1. Research indicates that the pyramids weren’t build by slaves, but by a skilled and prosperous middle class.

      1. No doubt living in suburban enclaves with names like “Nile River Heights”, “Sands of the Sahara Lane” and “Palmdale Drive”.

        Fuckin yuppies

      2. ^^^^^This. The diet of the Pyramid workers showed that they were far from slaves, as they were eating food that had been shipped in from hundreds of miles away.

        Also, the Pyramids are really just a giant pile of rocks. They are very nice rocks. They are lined up very neatly in relation to Orion’s belt. The rocks are stacked very tightly together. But they are neither mysterious nor magical. They are a giant pile of rocks.

        1. The diet of the Pyramid workers showed that they were far from slaves, as they were eating food that had been shipped in from hundreds of miles away.

          That’s a hell of a non sequitur. Unless they were eating sand, anyone working on the pyramids was having food shipped in.

          1. “Unless they were eating sand”
            ————

            Isn’t that the cue…?

            1. You want to help world hunger? Stop sending them food. Don’t send them another bite, send them U-Hauls. Send them a guy that says, “You know, we’ve been coming here giving you food for about 35 years now and we were driving through the desert, and we realized there wouldn’t BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS! YOU LIVE IN A DESERT!! UNDERSTAND THAT? YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING DESERT!! NOTHING GROWS HERE! NOTHING’S GONNA GROW HERE! Come here, you see this? This is sand. You know what it’s gonna be 100 years from now? IT’S GONNA BE SAND!! YOU LIVE IN A FUCKING DESERT! We have deserts in America, we just don’t live in them, assholes!”
              –Sam Kinison

              1. In an alternative reality, Sam Kinison is our Secretary of State.

                1. Does that mean that Hillary Clinton died in a horrible car accident in 1992. BRB, some guys in suits are knocking at my front door.

                  1. Things could have been so different?

                2. +100

              2. I miss good ol’ Sam.

          2. There’s other evidence that it wasn’t slave labor. Besides, one of the points of these massive projects was to employ idle workers.

            1. one of the points of these massive projects was to employ idle workers

              Gentlemen, it’s time for America to build its own pyramids.

              1. The only choice is to have workers dig giant holes, then have other workers build pyramids inside the holes, then have other workers fill in the holes, then have other workers build pyramids on top of the filled-in pyramid holes. FULL EMPLOYMENT NOW

              2. If these pyramids are made of glass, think of all the glaziers we could employ!

                1. And all the idle nukes!

              3. We did. Go look at the Taj Mahal like Schools we have built. At $16K per student, it is a rip-off

            2. Based on my long-ago Anthropology and Archaeology classes, and what I’ve read since:

              -The pyramids were largely not built by slaves, but by paid labor. However…
              -The pay was from monies that were essentially tax revenues.
              -Ancient Egypt was much more agriculturally productive than modern Egypt; when you look at Egypt and see a whole lot of barren sand, keep in mind that’s not necessarily what would have been there 3000 years ago.

              1. Are you sure that Egypt was more productive in the ancient past?

                The land beside the Nile and the entire Nile delta has been very fertile for thousands of years. Annual floods both irrigate and fertilize the land. No surprise where the people choose to live there.

                1. OK, I admit I don’t have any hard numbers for that. However, when Egypt was a Roman province, it was a major agricultural supplier to the empire. Today, Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. I don’t know if that’s due to ecologic or purely economic reasons, but either way, they screwed something up pretty good.

                  1. JD, I think it’s more the fact that they have a population of 80 million people now. My knowledge of ancient Egypt is very limited, but I doubt they had anything close to that in ~ 2000 BC.

                  2. I don’t know if that’s due to ecologic or purely economic reasons, but either way, they screwed something up pretty good.

                    IIRC, the reversal began sometime after the Aswan Dam was completed, since most of the silt that fertilized the valleys was no longer able to be released downriver.

                    1. Good point. The Aswan Dam did screw up farming. Egypt isn’t Saudi Arabia, but they still produce a lot of oil, so good call on fucking up 60-70% of your arable farmland there. Soviet project, IIRC.

                    2. My previous post was supposed to be 2 different thoughts there. Red Rocks & JD were right about the Aswan Dam screwing up farmland. They had to start dredging behind the damn for the mineral-laden silt to fertilize the farmland downstream.

                      All to build a damn, in a country that exported oil. That’s some good central planning.

                  3. Ancient Egypt had 3M people today is has 33M and most of the homes are on the banks of the Nile. Tell me, if you want to grow food, what should be on the BANKS of the ONLY river in the country.

                  4. Ancient Egypt had 3M people today is has 33M and most of the homes are on the banks of the Nile. Tell me, if you want to grow food, what should be on the BANKS of the ONLY river in the country.

                    1. BP – you are right, and I PHAT fingered, and was too stupid to proof read.

            3. This is kind of the point I’m making, in that the Pyramids aren’t the best example for what point Stossel is trying to make. The Pyramids were built with money stolen from citizens, but the money was paid to highly skilled laborers who were getting the best market value for their skills.

              There isn’t any reason to believe that these laborers would be -as Stossel says- “much richer (and freer) the Egyptians would have been if they’d been allowed to pursue their own interests.”

              You could make an argument that the Pyramids were a great example of government waste, but that isn’t what he’s saying.

            4. Then will someone kindly tell me what the slaves were doing while the pyramids were being built? Just sitting around?

              1. There were no slaves building the Pyramids, Jewish or otherwise. There is no archaeological record of Jews living in Egypt during the construction of the Pyramids, which is the 900 year period from about 2650 BCE to about 1750 BCE.

                1. Yeah, the Jews arrived right about the time the pyramids were done. And it doesn’t say in the Bible the Jews were enslaved to build the pyramids. It was Hollywood who said that.

                  1. Yeah John I don’t think the bible says anything about working on the pyramids per se. But I think the the idea comes from Exodus;

                    13And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
                    14And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

                    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_…..z1ZNBP8u5L

                    Motar and brick = Pyramids is the assumtion.

                    1. Whatever Vic. That is nuts. Like the Egyptians never built any public monuments besides the pyramids. And the pyramids were not even built out of brick. That passage can’t mean that. That is crazy.

                    2. Nuts it may be. And probably wrong.
                      But that belief started before DeMille.

              2. Doing slave stuff–mining, prostitution, house chores, picking wheat.

                1. And it was a religious thing to work on the pyramids like working on a cathedral. Why give the heathen slaves the chance to do that.

              3. Working in factories producing cheap stuff?

                1. The Sumerians were outsourcing.

          3. To get more specific, archeaologists have discovered vast networks of bakeries and breweries that were set up to feed the workers. But the biggest reason why their diet was unusual was the discovery of choice cuts of prime beef. There was nowhere close to the Pyramids for the cattle to graze, so the only explanation is that the beef was purposefully shipped in for the workers.

          4. “Unless they were eating sand, anyone working on the pyramids was having food shipped in.”

            No.

            Its not a total fucking desert around them. Slaves would have been given the cheapest shit growing around the Nile.

        2. YOU’RE a giant pile of rocks!

        3. “They are a giant pile of rocks” – but they were put into place using anti-gravity generators from the alien spacecraft.

          Or the technology which belonged to Atlantis, depending on your view of history.

      3. the pyramids weren’t build by slaves, but by a skilled and prosperous middle class.
        —————————
        probably under the original union

    2. people don’t understand the pyramids. The Egyptians were really wealthy. And when the Nile flooded every year, they had nothing to do. They had to put their wealth somewhere. And it is not like they had a lot of consumer goods to buy. So, they all got together and built giant pyramids. Seems odd to us now. But we have more choices of what to do with our wealth.

      1. Pretty much. +1

      2. The resources not used to build the pyramids would have most likely been used for war and pillage within Egypt. So they were not as wasteful as people today think.

    3. Elvis built the pyramids!

  2. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…but…ROADZ!!!

  3. Even John Stossel routinely acknowledges that prosperity is possible within a framework of easily understood and uniformly enforced rules that protect private property. He’s said this many times on his show.

    It’s individuals in the marketplace who create real jobs?when they have the protection of life and property under the rule of law.

    So what he’s saying is that government doesn’t create wealth, it makes it possible.

    1. Does government create a civil society, or does a civil society create a government?

      1. Does government create a civil society, or does a civil society create a government?

        Well, “civil” is subjective here, but I’d say that a civil society would create a government to protect and perpetuate civility. Of course, governments then inevitably proceed to be uncivil, so it kind of backfires. But, the general benefits remain as long as the members of the society demand them and the members of the government aren’t powerful enough to remove them.

        1. “I’d say that a civil society would create a government to protect and perpetuate civility. Of course, governments then inevitably proceed to be uncivil, so it kind of backfires.”

          And we keep trying to find one that doesn’t. Sorta makes you wonder if it’s worth the effort.

    2. Fair rules that can be enforced, a mechanism for peacefully resolving disputes, protection of private property. These are (some of) the things that make prosperity possible. Government should be considered solely a means to those ends, not the end itself.

    3. govt does create wealth (w/in its own nation) thru looting n plundering conquered enemies

      1. LOL looting and plundering is “creating wealth”? That’s a new one on me.

        1. it workd 4 me in iraq I stole lost of stuff

          1. Finally, somebody explains why the f we’re in Iraq.

  4. maybe we should take everyone who believes that a war would stimulate the economy and make them fight each other. Then we’ll see how great their families do in such a stimulating time.

    Also, we should break their windows.

    1. It would be an ineffective stimulus because limp-wristed slaps from Krugman-like creatures are unlikely to cause any damage.

      1. even Krugman could pull a trigger. I bet he’d like it too.

      2. Think of all the people who would die laughing watching them try it.

        It would be a marvelous stimulous for funeral homes and casket makers.

    2. We’ve been running at least one war for just about 10 years now. So why isn’t our economy doing so well? Not enough destruction?

      1. Bush’s wasteful war spending drove us into this ditch. What we obviously need to get out is an even larger war effort.

        1. Consider how well the Japanese economy did during WW2. If only the 1990s Japanese had had a world war, their economy would have boomed.

          1. Mars! We need you to attack!!

    3. They’re doing even better, they’re destroying our currency. Imagine how much wealth that will create!

  5. not enough destruction HERE. I’m sure the Iraq/Afghani economies are BOOMING, right?

    1. so the oil didnt pay for the invasion & occupation like team boosch claimed?

      1. Re: Stoopid, clueless double asshole,

        so the oil didnt pay for the invasion & occupation like team boosch claimed?

        Of course not. Who believed such a claim, anyway? Did you? Not me. Probably no one here, either, so I don’t see the point of your question, other than maybe being the result of your Tourette’s.

      2. o2|9.29.11 @ 1:07PM|#
        so the oil didnt pay for the invasion & occupation like team boosch claimed?
        ———————

        And if it did, I’d bet you’d be the first screaming “blood for oil!!!”

        1. “No blood for oil! Why didn’t we get oil for blood?”

  6. “”or have no incentive to understand””

    But they do have an incentive to not understand. Re-election.

    Voters want to hear that daddy government will fix the unemployment issue.

    1. Wasn’t it Mencken who said something like it’s hard to make a man understand something when his livelihood depends on Not understanding ?

  7. By the way, the day Johnson said that bit amount government not creating jobs, I sent him money. Just for saying that.

    1. Not sure if this has been mentioned here:

      Gary Johnson gets a super PAC

      In case you’ve hit your $2,500/election contribution limit. That’s such a stupid, pointless rule.

  8. It’s individuals in the marketplace who create real jobs

    Speak for yourself, buddy.

    1. Last week I discovered a block in downtown LBC that I had never noticed before. I parked my car, and went into the shops on the block. 3 of the retail shops have opened since January. A fourth shop, a bakery, is opening in about two weeks. These shops are joining efforts in branding and marketing, and are trying to turn this corner of retail into “destination shopping.” I spoke with the owners to learn their stories. Not a single proprietor mentioned any thing about President Obama, Congress, illegal immigrants, outsourcing, China, jobs initiatives, or any governmental influence. In fact, the stories were similar, along the lines of “I like (baking/punk rock/vintage stuff/flowers) and I thought I could open a shop and sell some to other people.” These four shops created at least eight jobs, with very little investment. Spontaneous order and all that. This is how jobs are created, not by government handouts, subsidies, or crony capitalism. Too bad the “important” people making the “big” decisions don’t seem to get it.

        1. Be careful giving their names out; they might get shut down in the name of “economic development.”

  9. But… roads! Roads!!!!

  10. I’m sure the Iraq/Afghani economies are BOOMING, right?

    Well, there’s booming going on, anyway.

  11. Why would I take a risk on an investment when still-to-be-written rules about Obamacare, financial regulation and the environment could turn my good idea into a losing venture?

    Right now, the uncertainty around Obamacare alone is acting like a 400 lb. guy sitting on the chest of the prostrate economy.

    All with the idiots who enacted it shouting “breathe!”

  12. “This is a fallacy,” [David] Callahan replied. “Twenty million jobs were created in the 1990s when we had higher tax rates than we do today. After World War II?also a period of high tax rates, also incredible job growth.”

    Does he mean the 90’s when Bush Pere lost because of the lousy economy as result of his tax increases, or the 90s when Clinton had to agree to balance the budget and the Republicans had control of both Houses?

    Also, the reason for the economic growth after WWII comes from the fact that a) Government spending was curtailed; b) Government spending was not crowding out private investment; c) private companies were starting again to churn out actual consumer goods instead of inedible tanks and shells; and d) anybody can yell “success” when coming out of a deep hole.

    Callahan is one of those idiots that Bastiat talked about so much.

    1. “”Does he mean the 90’s when…”

      I think he means when the Internet went public and everybody had to run out a buy a computer.

      1. I think he meant the 90’s that led to the tech bubble bursting, leading to the formation of the housing bubble that would soon burst, leading to global financial panic. Those 90’s.

    2. Not to mention that the US had less foreign competition back then because all the factories outside the US had just been blown up several times over…

      1. Also, don’t forget the Bretton-Woods System.

  13. “Government can spend and create jobs,” said David Callahan, cofounder of Demos. “If government steps up and provides stimulus money to hire people, what we get is more people spending money in this economy, more hiring, and we get that virtuous cycle going.”

    The typical Keynesian claptrap. People spend, ergo the economy grows.

    Except this is not how the economy functions at all, for you have to produce something before it can be consumed. Consumption is the end result of the economic activity, not the driving force.

    It is production that creates demand, not the other way around – it is not like previous demand for TVs made it possible for these to be conjured up by RCA, Telefunken and EMI.

    The result of government spending for made-up jobs is either inflation, if the money comes from borrowing or the printing press, or less economic activity in other fields as taxes rise. At best, it’s a zero-sum game, but most of the time it is NOT, as the jobs end up being unproductive most of the time.

    1. Step 1) government removes money from the economy by selling bonds, taxation, or printing money

      Step 2) ignore the opportunity costs of step 1

      Step 3) pay government workers who add nothing of value to the economy

      Step 4) spend this reduced amount of money on things that make politicians happy

      Step 5) wonder why the magic multiplier didn’t cause the economy to improve, conclude that not enough money was spent, repeat

        1. step 6 only happens when steps 1 through 5 are first deleted.

      1. People need to study just a little bit of math before talking about multipliers. If your multiplier is

    2. Callahan is also making the assumption that the money is all being spent on goods manufactured in the US. If the government hires people, then those people buy goods made in other countries, you are helping other economies, not our own.

      1. That’s not necessarily true.
        What do you think happens to dollars that are traded for foreign goods?
        Do they go into a closet somewhere in China and just sit there?
        No. They come back. Dollars are no good in China. Those dollars are reinvested in the US, helping our economy. It’s not obvious, but it’s true.

        1. And many of those items are sold in stores in the US. Those stores employ people. Well, did at one time. Now all you need is a website, a warehouse, and a couple of pickers. You don’t need the last two if you can get the manufacture to dropship all your orders.

  14. Meanwhile

    BULLDOZERS arrived a couple of weeks ago at the base of the nearby Lowell Mountains and began clawing their way through the forest to the ridgeline, where Green Mountain Power plans to erect 21 wind turbines, each rising to 459 feet from the ground to the tip of the blades.

    ——-

    Vermont’s proud history of leadership in developing innovative, effective environmental protection is being tossed aside. This project will set an ominous precedent by ripping apart a healthy, intact ecosystem in the guise of doing something about climate change. In return, Green Mountain Power will receive $44 million in federal production tax credits over 10 years.

    Ironically, most of the state’s environmental groups have not taken a stand on this ecologically disastrous project. Apparently, they are unwilling to stand in the way of “green” energy development, no matter how much destruction it wreaks upon Vermont’s core asset: the landscape that has made us who we are.

    The pursuit of large-scale, ridgeline wind power in Vermont represents a terrible error of vision and planning and a misunderstanding of what a responsible society must do to slow the warming of our planet. It also represents a profound failure to understand the value of our landscape to our souls and our economic future in Vermont.

    Government subsidized “initiatives” skew cost-benefit analysis?! Ya don’t say!

    1. The trees must be sacrificed for the religion that is AGW.

      1. Yoo mean we have to destroy the forest in order to save it?

        1. Exactly. A few eggs have to be broken to make an omelet.

        2. I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!

    2. Vermont’s proud history of leadership in developing innovative, effective environmental protection is being tossed aside….Ironically, most of the state’s environmental groups have not taken a stand on this ecologically disastrous project. Apparently, they are unwilling to stand in the way of “green” energy development, no matter how much destruction it wreaks upon Vermont’s core asset: the landscape that has made us who we are.

      Keep in mind that, up until about 20 years ago, this was a state as conservative–both fiscally and socially–as one can imagine. We’re talking about the ONLY state that NEVER went to FDR in any of his presidential election campaigns, the home of Calvin Coolidge.

      Whatever “history” of effective environmental protection that was in place was entirely the result of the state’s longtime paleo-conservative, ethnically homogenous population, not the Masshole and New Yawk hippy-wanna-bes that came to the state to get away from the urban shitholes they helped produce.

      And now these assholes are complaining about the landscape being destroyed? What else did they expect? Really, what did they expect?

      1. The hippie fuckheads from New York and Mass really ruined Vermont. It is a great state. It is absolutely gorgeous and used to be this nice place that left people alone.

        1. Well if Vermont let them in, Vermont ruined its self.

        2. Damn immigrants!! lol.

        3. ‘hippie fuckhead’? Is that like ‘crooked cop’, or ‘thieving politician’ or ‘asshole reporter’? Is all this repeating of oneself needed?

          Is all this repeating of oneself needed?

          Is all this repeating of oneself needed?

  15. were built by cell phone companies

    1. To sharpen razor blades, right?

  16. Indeed, one candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, told me he created “not one single job. … Government does not create jobs.”

    As much as I like Gary Johnson I feel like I have to point out that his website claims something different. Sometimes being principled sucks.

    1. Huh. I’m surprised that’s in there.

    2. Yeah. When he talks about it he says more that 20k jobs were created while he was Governor. They need to fix the wording on the website for sure.

      1. I don’t know, saying more that 20k jobs were created while he was Governor is not the same as saying he created them.

        One of the more important claims made by libertarian or libertarianish politicians is the importance of a framework that allows for the creation of jobs.

        Another claim is that the actions of a government attempting to create jobs actually impedes job creation.

      2. …he says more that 20k jobs were created while he was Governor…

        I couldn’t get the website to load, but saying “X jobs were created while I was Governor” is different than saying “I created X jobs…”. If the wording on his website is the latter, it definitely needs to be changed. If it’s the former, I’d just read that as “I created a climate where others could create jobs”.

        1. Wow, BP, talk about great minds and all. Must be the something in the air here in Taintsville.

          I couldn’t get the page to load either.

          1. Bullet point text at this time says:
            * Created more than 20,000 new jobs

            And I was paraphrasing Johnson (poorly) WRT jobs being created on his watch. He is saying he created the climate.

            Here’s the video of his Stossel interview where he says exactly that.

            1. I get the idea that he’s likely saying that he got government out of the way to create a climate where growth–including job growth could happen–but he should make sure he makes that point clear.

              1. Correct. If I wrote code like I write comments I’d be digging potatoes in Alabama.

            2. Ah, yes, now I see.

              The track record thigummy didn’t display on my work computer. It does on my home computer.

              Yes, rather than “Created 20,000 jobs”, he should have said “20,000 jobs created”.

          2. Ha – don’t know if you’re still reading this, Isaac. I didn’t see that first time around. That’s hilarious.

            1. I just thought it funny that we posted almost the same thought at the same time.

        2. Not only that, but pointing out that he greatly reduced the number of state employees and still his state had the best net job creation stats implies that the state backing off regulation and subsidization results in more jobs, even if the government itself did not “create” them.

  17. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..arter.html

    Gee the Government makes bad venture capitalists. Go figure.

  18. Some years back, a bridge at the foot of the mile-long road leading to my then-wife’s farm needed to be replaced. It was a small bridge on a remote dead-end road, of use to exactly three households, which could have chipped to replace it with a perfectly good $30,000 bridge, except for one thing: the bridge was owned by Greene County, not by the three households.

    So, we inquired of the County Road Commissioner, who replied that a new bridge built to State standards would cost $100,000 – money not in the county budget, there being only about 7,000 people in the county, and too many other claims for repairs to more widely used roads.

    The County Commissioner went to the Federal government, which required even stronger federal standards, raising the total cost to $300,000 – of which the feds paid 90%. The bridge was finally built at ten times the cost and is now strong enough to support a tank – but the road beyond would collapse under such a weight.

    Government apologists see only one side of the ledger – bridge, jobs, and so forth. I see economic wastage – 90% of that cost was sheer waste; those same resources could have built 9 more bridges, or whatever else we wanted to accomplish.

    Federal money is not manna from heaven; it comes from our pockets; spending for one federal project diverts resources from many other projects which could have been accomplished with the same resources.

  19. The Government (via New Deal, Welfare, various homestead acts) did bring prosperity to the poor. And, I doubt the conservative/libertarian approach would have helped the same amount of people in the same manner.

    We’ll never no.

    1. If the New Deal and welfare brought prosperity to the poor, why are there still poor people?

      1. Knowing Alice, won’t the answer have to be “drugs”?

        1. Actually, the poor dealing in drugs are much more prosperous than those that don’t.

          1. Jesus. That’s brilliant. I mean really brilliant.

            We should legalize the consumption of drugs by all adults, but we should only legalize the sale and manufacturer of the formerly illegal drugs to poor people or people who were poor in the preceding two years.

      2. Your guys have been systematically dismantling the welfare state for 40 years?

        1. Yep! There’s no more welfare state, it’s all been dismantled!

          Jesus, talk about gray areas…

    2. The Government (via New Deal, Welfare, various homestead acts) did bring prosperity to the poor.

      Welfare brings prosperity? Sure you want to go with that one?

      1. Dependence on the state is the same thing as prosperity.

        1. In the same way that freedom equals slavery

    3. Good god.

    4. Attention all of you:

      Look at poor in other countries that don’t have welfare, section-8 housing, food stamps, medicaid.

      Our poor are FAR MORE PROSPEROUS then then the people of countries where no “New Dealish” stuff is going on.

      And, as prosperous as our poor are with respect to those other unfortunate folks, they still are poor to our standards.

      1. And one more thing. Having the poor being active consumers did bring prosperity to many businesses in the Ghettos. Had these people not have welfare checks, these businesses wouldn’t exist.

        1. Anyone else hear glass shattering?

          1. I heard the broken glass hit the floor when u brought up the broken window thing.

            However, both helping out the poor AND thriving businesses in the HOOD were GOOD things…unlike the Broken Window thing.

          2. What happens when the “productive uses” the wealth-owner puts his wealth to isn’t, in fact, more productive than fixing windows? There are a lot of ways to spend money without hiring anyone, and the wealthy entities in this country have been padding their wealth by laying people off, so what help is that?

            1. It’s their money, Tony. Not yours. Mind your own life and stop worrying about shit that’s none of your business.

              1. But that’s changing the subject isn’t it?

                1. No, it isn’t.

      2. We’re an incredibly rich nation. That’s why we don’t have poor people stacked like cordwood along our roads–not because of social welfare programs. It’s so bleeding obvious, particularly given the fact that we also didn’t have poor stacked like cordwood along side our roads before Johnson or even FDR.

        1. ^ This.

          It’s just a testament to how a rising tide lifts all boats.

        2. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and I fail to see how an unemployed poor person would fare OK even in a wealthy society, if there were no safety net.

          1. Look at how many poor people there are WITH the safety net.

            Fat lot of good the War on Poverty did, huh.

      3. Look at poor in other countries that don’t have welfare, section-8 housing, food stamps, medicaid.

        Have you been to Montgomery, Alabama, recently? Is that really the kind of prosperity you’re saying the federal government has provided?

      4. “Our poor are FAR MORE PROSPEROUS then then the people of countries where no “New Dealish” stuff is going on.”

        I’m saying spoof, just because it’d be hard to be this stupid and still be able to type.

    5. The government created a class of people who are eternally dependent upon the government. That is not prosperity. Freedom has allowed many poor to create prosperity for themselves.

  20. Hasn’t Vermont been hugely damaged by economic regulation in the last 20 years or so? Isn’t about the only true print of its old self left its gun laws? That’s an awful story, either way. Fuck environemtalists.

  21. I will be having dinner with Gary Johnson tonight. I will make sure I chide him for not creating any jobs.

    1. Get that line on his website updated.

    2. Hey, if he wins, can you ask him to name me to run the Department of Education, so that I can personally dismantle it? I think it would be cool to have a cabinet position on my resume.

      1. I thought you were going for Censor?

  22. http://www.examiner.com/enviro…..ax-dollars

    What do you think about this?

  23. /www dot examiner dot com/environmental-news-in-tallahassee/epa-regulations-create-jobs-save-tax-dollars

    What do you think about this?

    1. Cherry-picked and unsupported statistics leading to an unsupported conclusion along with conflating clean air standards with everything the EPA has ever done? Confirmation bias is powerful.

  24. From Ann Althouse:

    “The Obama Administration’s hostility to oil and gas exploration is well known, but last week it took an especially fowl turn.”

    “The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota hauled seven oil and natural gas companies into federal court for killing 28 migratory birds that were found dead near oil waste lagoons. You may not be surprised to learn that the Administration isn’t prosecuting wind companies for similar offenses.”

    But please take into account that they wind companies aren’t killing the same number of birds. They’re killing about 440,000 birds (a year). Only 15,714 times as many. What’s the big deal? Have you no sense of proportion?

    Isn’t there some proposition ? kind of like the “big lie” ? that if you want to get away with something, doing it on a vast scale is a good strategy? There’s some aphorism or famous quote that’s just beyond my grasp, even using Google.

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2…..o-oil.html

    1. I am kind of a bird lover and the fucking wind farms make me sick. We are killing tens of thousands of innocent birds in pursuit of a superstition. Next time you see a hippy, punch them. Fucking ignorant bastards.

      1. You mad brah?

        -a hippy

        Reason = conservative 🙂

      2. Thanks, BDR & John. We always thought you were good people.

    2. If you want a recap of just how hostile Obama is to the oil and gas industry, this is a pretty good recap:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/…..rio-loyola

    3. “One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” Joseph Stalin

  25. The wealthy benefit the most from government. Furthermore, they will always have more political power than the non-rich. That is, it is logically impossible for the poor to be too coddled in a society–In this day and age especially, it is almost certainly the case that the rich aren’t taxed enough. Labor is taxed at twice the rate of capital gains!

    Without government the very concept of having property and keeping it wouldn’t exist. The more stuff you have, the more government is useful to you. This article is ridiculous. John Stossel is not very smart so he latched on to something that seems like a complete worldview, but like any dogma it seems only more satisfying the more dogmatic it is. Government can’t do anything productive? Presumably it can protect your wealth well enough. Try to hang onto it without enforcement of property laws.

    Government can’t produce productive jobs? That might be news to soldiers. I know you don’t think teachers and firefighters are productive members of society, certainly not like a guy who makes a thousand times as much on capital by itself (sitting on his ass playing with money), and to show that our society values the latter more than the guy who risks his life to save you from being burned or crushed to death, we tax his income at half the rate!

    1. Don’t think you’ll find any arguments here that the wealthy benefit immensely from government. That’s what regulations are. They take from the small and give to the large and powerful. That’s why the libertarian position is against regulation. Thanks for making everyone’s point.

      Just so happens that an over-zealous gov’t also creates a dependent class. The two are not mutually exclusive (that means they can happen at the same time).

      1. That’s what regulations are. They take from the small and give to the large and powerful. That’s why the libertarian position is against regulation. Thanks for making everyone’s point.

        Sorry, but the fact that you concoct these nonsense conflations doesn’t inspire confidence that you’re worried about corporate power. Corporate lobbies are the only reason regulations have been made weaker, and they have and they’re pushing for radical reductions, even in things like food safety.

        Regs are a cost to business, more costly (and therefore more profitable if repealed) to the larger ones. What you’re saying is ludicrous.

        1. Yep, just as you said about the welfare state being dismantled… there’s also no more regulations. It’s just Wild West days all over the fuckin’ place.

          Since there’s no more regulations, I’m finally gonna kill my neighbor’s dog. Little bastard’s been shittin’ in my garden all summer.

          1. Again, you really, really struggle with gray areas.

            1. Considering we’re spending nearly 3.5 times more on government now than we were in 1940, inflation-adjusted, with far more regulatory departments since that time, you’d be hard-pressed to argue with actual figures that increasing regulation helps lower the cost of government.

              1. I offered a solution in another thread, Tony, and you blew a chance to agree totally:

                Everyone – from CEO down to the lowliest pimply teen scraping gum off a theater floor – makes a government-sanctioned maximum wage of $200K a year… then gets taxed at a fifty-percent rate, thus a) making everyone a member of the Top Five Percent of Wage-Earners (or The Winners of Life’s Lottery) and b) [theoretically] ending all wealth-envy in America.

                The only exception would be an extra fifty grand for married couples, but they still get to pony up half their wage back in taxes. You know… to fund all those anti-wealth programs THAT WE WOULDN’T NEED ANYMORE because even a hobo gets two hundred large a year.

                But, noooooo… you had to go all gray-areay about it, when you should have jumped on it like a cheap attorney.

  26. Tune in next time for another thrilling libertarian expose by the Moustossel:

    “Wars kill people”

    Also coming up: a rerun of “Legalize marijuana” and “Bailouts are bad”, only on Old News Network!

  27. “Cats and dogs living together…”

  28. Herb London. I wonder if he knows Ron Mexico.

  29. Only homeowners can enjoy the libertarian utopia? Yes!

  30. OMG! No one is actually running the country?

  31. Finally, Stossel addresses Somalia.

  32. Okay, that youtube was kinda funny. Cholera!

  33. The kiwis almost had it right.

  34. Ha, that Chilean kid got hit in the kisser with the fire hose.

  35. Getting rid of all energy subsidies? So in the libertarian utopia, no 5-Hour Energy tax breaks?

  36. Oh, Vistaprint. You need to switch your name brand to Sevenprint.

  37. No one every actually says the “except for” part when they say they don’t want big government.

  38. Do we know if the cancer research David Koch is funding is working to reduce cancer or INCREASE CANCER??? Duh duh duhhhhhh.

  39. Nancy is in the pocket of Big Natural Gas. Or not, I can’t really tell.

  40. Hopefully, if Stossel was in charge, America would look more like that studio. It flashes awesome.

  41. Houses taken by force? That’s terrib- THE METS TO BROOKLYN! Yay!

  42. Squashed principles? Stossel nailed you.

  43. Stanhope works blue, as all libertarians should.

  44. Smattering of applause for drugs.

  45. Government cheapens marriage? Only in the non-literal sense.

  46. Poor people would crash and planes would starve.

  47. Reason commerical during Stossel! Edging out awning companies and travel agents.

  48. Is Stossel going to push Free State on me?

  49. Free City Project now? What’s next, Free Backyard Projects?

  50. Who tries to get in to Europe for a job?

  51. Improve things in Senegal? I don’t think that’s a good business mission statement.

  52. Maybe North Korea goes to bed a little earlier.

  53. I accidentally bought whole grain Cheerios once, instead of Honey Nut Cheerios. I had to load those suckers up with sugar before I could force it down my gullet.

  54. Pollution rules in the Constitution? Give me a break!

  55. Stoss is going to push 9-9-9 on me, isn’t he?

    1. fuckin nightmare – aint it?

  56. Lady Gaga as a positive. Interesting tactic.

  57. Governmen doesn’t create jobs! What a crock of shit! What about all those soldiers? What about you fucking right-wing assholes who collect donations for railing against government. That’s a kind of job, isn’t it? Would railing against the government bring in a single fucking donation if the government didn’t exist? No, it wouldn’t, you twat-faced simpleton. How about all those fucking state-run prisons? Prison fucking guards have jobs, don’t they? Try flushing the shit out of your ears. Oh, but you need all that shit in your brains in order to spout this shitty right-wing drivel. Go suck Ron Paul’s dick.

    1. You might as well say the taxpaying public created those jobs. Duh. The rest of your post is too stupid for words, really.

      1. True, but not too stupid for an initialism.

        ESAD. That is all…

        1. Max was never that verbose, let alone semi-coherent.

          And I’m being VERY kind on the post above.

          Therefore… spoof? Or is Max’s mom writing his posts now?

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