One more time, I heard the jobs argument on the National Public Radio last night. Here is the short, simple version:
The recovery from the Great Recession has not produced enough jobs.
We’ve tried everything we can to create jobs in our country.
We don’t know what else to do, so for now we’ll have to do the best we can.
The people at NPR have repeated some version of this mantra for so long – since 2009, actually – that it seems to have become a standard syllogism in their rhetorical arsenal. They seem to believe it. They seem to expect others to believe it. I don’t know how one’s thinking can get so far off the track.
We do know what to do. Drastically lower taxes – not just the income tax, but every tax. Ruthlessly cut government’s role in the economy in every respect. Remove government as a factor in economic enterprise. Move toward the classical liberal vision of free economic exchange among autonomous individuals, with no government interference. Then you will see how hard people work.
We all know this option. We’re all familiar with Smith, Hayek, Mises, Thatcher, Reagan, and others who have advocated this path to prosperity for rich and for poor. Many people don’t want to go that way. Some find it unthinkable. So we pretend that way doesn’t exist. At least the people at NPR do. I wonder how many people have accepted this thoroughly false and pessimistic way of thinking.
The state has it’s hand in everything now, as tax collector, inspector, regulator, litigator, punisher, distributor, contractor, initiator, supplier, consumer. It exercises control, or quasi-control, over almost everything. It wants to take care of you. In doing so, it makes your life immeasurably worse.
The paradox of omnicompetent government is that is introduces incompetence everywhere. It acts as if it knows what is best for you, but it brings about what is worst. The consequence is idleness: millions who want to work, but cannot do so. We cannot pretend we are helpless in the face of this disaster. We have to own it and do whatever it takes to end it.