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So, Government Can Create Jobs?

11.03.10

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According to Farheed Zakaria, the government can create jobs.

Not by directly setting up businesses or hiring people to work for the government, necessarily; rather, through investment in new technology.

CNN: Should they be government investments?

Zakaria: That’s what’s produced the semiconductor industry, it was government investment. That’s what created the internet. Al Gore may not have created the internet, but DARPA certainly did. That’s the Defense Department venture capital group. And GPS, the technology that’s now fueling the next internet revolution, the mobile revolution, that was also a U.S. Defense Department project. Those are now producing hundreds of billions of dollars for the private sector, all started by government funding.

Not all governmental spending is bad.  To make a blanket statement like that prevents you from adjusting to unique scenarios.  Life, and the global economy, don’t always adhere to one particular ideology.

And people inherently get this.  For all those screaming that they want government to stop spending, a strong percentage want them to do just that:

On spending priorities, 40 percent favored deficit-reduction, 35 percent “spending to create jobs,” and 19 percent cutting taxes.

Will be interesting to see what happens now with the divided Congress.  I, for one, am very curious.  I just hope that the American electorate won’t tolerate pure oppositionism as the sole GOP political theory for the next two years.  Americans deserve better than that.

I think the major issue is that people are out of work.  Decrease the unemployment rate, and the worries about the national spending will go down.  Not that we can ignore a $12+ billion dollar deficit; quite the opposite.  But, something needs to be done in the short term to get our consumer-based economy moving again.  Plus, we can reform the entitlements while at the same time investing in job growth.  We could, in theory, cut spending and also spend at the same time.

Because, like I said: not all spending is bad.

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2 comments

  1. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan,
    This was a left wing station CNN producing a left wing argument. The US economy has produced plenty of jobs by just letting the market forces work. You forgot to mention that Mr. Zakari wants to charge a 7% sales tax (VAT type) in order to pay for the “investment” You really need to decide if you want to live in a capitalist society or not.
    Under Mr Zakari’s scenario you would have yet more burden on the private sector for bureaucracies to decide on how and when this money would be spent, and depending on who was in power at the time those bureaucrats would be subject to the same corrupting influences that they are now. If you understand anything at all about the so called stimulus bill, is that it was nothing more than a pay off to unions and other special interests who got the president elected. At best, the projects favored in the bill were one off projects and not organic growth in the economy. Almost 2 years into the “stimulus” bill half the money has not been spent. Give me a break. Governments job is not to create jobs, governments job is to provide an economic climate where entrepreneurship can thrive. Why do you have so much faith in Big Government when everywhere big governments are established there is nothing but riots and misery? Ala Greece.


    • I wasn’t saying that we should do whatever Zakaria’s specific plan was. I merely was using his quote to show that some government spending can be beneficial to the private sector when it’s done as an investment — in fields like technology. I never said that the free market hasn’t produced plenty of jobs, nor did Zakaria. But some things won’t be cost-effective to begin in the private sector — like developing the Internet perhaps or the U.S. freeway system — even if they’d produce plenty of jobs once the government got them started.

      Also – any sources for your claims that the unions got majority of the stimulus and that only half has been spent? I don’t have faith in big government – whatever that word means. Apparently having a defense budget that is bigger than all other countries’ combined and occupying two countries isn’t big government but spending some money here in the states on infrastructure, tax cuts (business and individual), and state aid during a massive recession is?

      I’d rather the GOP just spell out how they’d cut spending and balance the budget instead of just playing more politics by taking the back seat and just opposing everything the Democrats do so that they can take power again in 2012. Now that they have power in the House, I’m curious to see how they wield it. I hope they decide to govern — it’ll be better for everyone if they do.



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