“Government does not create jobs” is one of the latest and most often repeated mantras of the right wing. Or at least part of the mantra. The rest continues on to say that the only real jobs are jobs that are created by private industry.
I wonder how many who hear this mantra ever stop to analyze just what this simple little statement means. First is the implication is that government is not a “real” entity, as if government is some sort of a structure imposed on us from an outside force and not truly part of the fabric of the nation. Makes me wonder what kind of a person would believe this? Hopefully someplace in nearly everyone’s school career every American learned that the government is US. Government is a real entity that is populated by people just like you and I. We fought a very significant War so we could create a government that was not imposed on us from outsiders or even a small group of insiders such as the very rich.
We started with the concept that we are the government and throughout our history we have had at least one war and several movements to make the concept of who “WE” are to make those who share in the government more and more inclusive of those who live in this country.
As the government, we elect people to represent us. Hopefully these folks actually represent us. As part of their job of creating a representative government, our elected officials have had to set up various ways of regulating society and also create and build the infrastructure for commerce, health and social interaction. These include rules (laws) of fairness along with actual physical structures. Among other things our various governments have decided that educating future generations is a wise and valuable policy.
This was the first country organized such that the people who would be governed actually had the huge voice in how that would happen. To create the concept that this is not true is a true disservice to all those who have gone before us. And those who served in government before us have done their best to create a system that would function generations into the future.
In order to fulfill the functions of government, people must be hired to do the work which is required to make the society funtion. This means jobs must be created. So yes, government does and must create jobs. To say it doesn’t is akin to shouting at the top of your lings ” I am one dumb son-of-a-bitch.” I am not saying that every job created by government is thus a necessary job. But as the overseers of government we have the power to work in the system to correct errors. That is provided the system has not been corrupted.
The system has been deeply corrupted in the past few decades by letting one group of people – the very rich – have inordinate power. Hopefully the Occupy Wall Street movement is only the first step in re-balancing the government. Taking power away from those who have inordinate power is not easy, nor is it pretty. But it must be done or the consequences are losing the representative democracy we cherish.
As an illustration of government creating jobs, I offer Iowa City and the University of Iowa as an example. Our forefathers decided that institutions of higher learning were one of the most important work that the state should pursue. In that endeavor they secured land, built buildings, hired staff and administration, and went about the business of educationg future generations of Iowans. Throughout the years the state has continued to grow the university as the state grew. To do this, more buildings were built and staff hired.
What is happening here is that money is received from the general populace in the form of taxes and expended through their representative government to sustain growth in the state. All previous generations decided that this is a good idea. Because of this decision jobs are created by the state.
Ever wonder what would happen to Iowa City if the University were to simply close? Most of the jobs in Iowa City and much of the surrounding area depend either directly or indirectly on the University.
Is the university evil and insidious because it is a public run institution? I can’t imagine many would think so. For one reason, as a public institution you and I actually have some voice in how it is run through our representative government. Were the university private we would have little to no input on how it is run.
Those who are running against “big” government have little sense of the history that brought us here. While they espouse dismantling government, seldom do they tell you what the outcome of their replacement would be. Most of those looking to replace government functions today have scenarios in mind that enrich few and impose burdens on many. Big government is not the problem, effective government is. Representatives who claim government doesn’t work often do all they can to make sure it doesn’t. Electing folks like that is usually a huge mistake.