Do you know who has the absolute best numbers in job growth of any American president? FDR. Jobs grew by a whopping 4.97 percent in his first term (not a war term, by the way—those are peace time numbers). That’s right—it was FDR, the greatest socialist president in American history, just barely ahead of Barack Obama—who was able to grow jobs at rates beyond any other president. And yet people were absolutely miserable.
Kind of feels like now, doesn’t it? Barack Obama, statistically speaking, has created more jobs than Bush did. Yet, our economy certainly felt stronger in the Bush years. I’ve lived and worked in both eras. Prices are higher now, taxes are higher, our debt is even more absurd, and the country is ready to crack. I can’t afford to buy a house on twice what I was making three years ago, and my grocery bill makes my stomach turn. But, hey! Job growth numbers look pretty good.
So what in the world does job growth mean? And why does it seem like socialists are the best people at producing it with no positive benefit to the country? Well, let’s look at another statistic to get some idea on this: jobs in the private sector. Those are actually the only jobs that matter.
Private sector jobs actually pay for everything the government does. Think about it. The government doesn’t generate money on its own. It borrows money it has to pay back, and it takes money from citizens. But that money has to come from somewhere. Now, socialist governments are pretty good at making jobs. They create public works projects, like all the TVA dams and the like. They give out public contracts. They create burgeoning bureaucracies overflowing with steady desk jobs. Yay!
But there’s just one problem with this. The person doing the job may be happy to have employment. But he actually isn’t contributing productively to the economy. In fact, as far as the economy is concerned, he is not much better than a welfare recipient (though his labor is no doubt more honorable).
Job growth doesn’t mean anything in a socialist country. Because government-created jobs are just an extra burden on the dwindling resources of the self-sufficient. We live in a country that is absurdly unbalanced in these terms.
A recent article makes a convincing statistical case that, aside from providing for themselves, about 86 million private sector employees are having to provide for nearly 148 million non-veteran benefit takers. That’s just crazy. But it’s not just the 148 million moochers we have to pay for. The same article mentions that there are 16,606,000 full-time, year-round employees of the civil government. Let’s not forget that the 86 million are actually paying their salaries as well. And it’s likely that those government employees get paid way more than the porch-step slouchers chain-smoking their way to their next welfare check.1
So, next time you wonder how salaries could be up, jobs could be up, numbers of all kinds could be up, and yet at the same time, everything could feel and be so very down, just remember that nothing can come from nothing, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and government doesn’t create—it can only manage. And ours does a poor job.
- And it’s a dubious proposition that government workers are actually more productive, for that matter. [↩]