So creating jobs is not difficult for government. What is difficult for government is creating jobs that produce wealth. Pyramids, holes in the ground and war do not produce wealth. They destroy wealth. They take valuable resources and convert them into something less valuable.
Instead of iPods, great art, cures for diseases and machines that replace back-breaking work, we get the equivalent of digging holes and filling them up.
Under President Obama's "stimulus" plan, jobs will be created to weatherize buildings, construct schools and wind turbines, and repair roads and bridges. But outside the market process, there is no way to know whether those are better uses of scarce capital than whatever would have been produced had it been left in the private economy.
Since government services are paid for through the compulsion of taxes, they have no market price. But without market prices, we have no way of knowing the importance that free people would place on those services versus other things they want.
So although we'll see the government putting people to work and even some new schools and bridges, we won't be able to calculate how much wealth we've lost because scarce resources were misallocated by the politicians.
Nevertheless, we can be sure we will have lost. If the government's projects were truly worthwhile, they would be undertaken by private efforts, and in their quest for profits, entrepreneurs would handle them more efficiently.
Remember this when President Obama begins to boast about how successful his stimulus plan is.
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