If government would just stop trying to do everything in the world … Well, wait. Let's review what the U.S. government is currently up to:
1. Overhauling health care, or, if not actually overhauling it, talking endlessly about how government should do it.
2. Reconfiguring the way Americans use energy.
3. Rejiggering financial regulations.
4. All the while, trying to restart job growth.
There's a disagreeable pattern here: one of alleged omnicompetence and general nosiness in the service of putting together voter coalitions. We'll get a really close look Thursday when the White House's jobs summit convenes against background noise in the Senate chamber concerning, who knows, "public options," abortion, Medicare cuts, the whole paraphernalia of interference in the intimacies of health and survival.
If government would just stop trying to do everything in the world … perhaps we wouldn't have job summits and anguished debates over public options.
The jobs summit, held amid rightful groaning over a 10.2 percent jobless rate, is case in point concerning the general inefficacy of federal attempts to prescribe for a 300-million-headed economy. That was the "general inefficacy," please note. No one save, I presume, anarchists sees government as a valueless contrivance best abolished and gotten out of the way. Government does a lot of things very well, in the people's broad interest: fight wars, for instance, including the badly maligned wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Government also does a lot of things very, very, very poorly.
Take job creation. The "stimulus," three-fourths of which hasn't even been spent, has created relatively few jobs: thus this week's summit, featuring businessmen, labor leaders, economists and so on. The idea is to sit around and talk innovative and green jobs, small business incentives, long-range infrastructure planning, exports, private-public partnerships and job-training. Democrats hope if nothing else the summit provides a kick start for plans to extend unemployment benefits. One Democratic senator says government and business could share some labor costs.
Yes. Well. Most of the foregoing ignores two realities: first, that business creates nearly all productive jobs (taking into account government jobs -- e.g., road building -- that proceed from economic growth); second, that the hope of profit is what prods hard work and invention.