23 May 2011
GOP: job creation by paradox
Chris Gibson represents the congressional district that neighbors mine. He wrote an op-ed that was published yesterday in one of the papers I work for. In it, the freshman Republican lays down his priorities for "Restoring America's Greatness." As Republican priorities, these are predictable enough. Mentioned first, and presumably Gibson's first priority, is creating jobs. He opens with this disclaimer: "I firmly believe that jobs are not created by an act of Congress." The congressman follows this with the standard GOP argument that maximum job creation will result from minimized government interference. "Congress should focus on fostering a business environment that allows for job creation by attacking the impediments to growth," he writes, "high taxes, onerous and duplicative regulations and spiraling health care and energy costs." Implicit here is the key to Republicans' magical thinking about the American economy. Taxes and regulations are the impediments to growth. Factors independent of government, like global economic competition or any fluctuation in demand due to poverty or market saturation, apparently have no bearing on the economy's rate of or capacity for growth. Remove those impediments imposed by government, Republicans assume, and demand, competiveness and overall job creation will take care of themselves. If the economy doesn't recover, of course, Republicans will say that the government is still overburdening it with regulations and taxes. But if it does, regardless of the factors that might actually drive a recovery, I can guarantee you that, despite his disclaimer, Rep. Gibson, along with all his fellow Republicans, will say that they created jobs. If so, which statement would be the lie -- the disclaimer or the boast?