Hey ho…what goes?
The stock market registered a gain of 53 points on the Dow yesterday. Gold saw a modest gain too.
And the White House came right out and with a straight face said it had saved 2 million jobs. How do you like that? More than 7 million jobs have disappeared in the correction so far. But the total would have been more than 9 million, had it not been for the feds.
Let’s see, $700 billion worth of stimulus spending…hey, that’s $350,000 per job. But every dollar of deficit is actually ‘stimulus spending.’ At that rate, each job cost about $800,000. And what about all the Fed’s pump priming? What about all the loan guarantees and toxic asset purchases…and bailouts of the auto industry, AIG, the banks, mortgage holders, Fannie and Freddie…etc. etc? That’s all stimulating too, isn’t it? The total is said to be around $13 trillion, putting the cost at $65 million for each job saved.
Of course, it’s all hooey…all nonsense…all balderdash.
It makes sense to ‘save’ a job if and only if the job didn’t need saving. In other words, the jobs that are worth doing are worth saving…but they don’t need saving. Why? Because a job that is worth doing is a job people will pay for. And if they won’t…or can’t…it’s NOT worth doing.
Otherwise, the feds could have 100% employment…just as they did in the Soviet Union. Give everybody a job. What the heck, give everybody two jobs! But it only really does any good if the jobs are productive. And how can you know if they’re productive or not? You have to wait for Mr. Market to tell you. If a job is productive, people will pay for it. If not, well…the job is cut and/or the business goes bust.
Mr. Market never gets a say on government jobs, however. That’s why the feds can say any fool thing they want.
Washington, DC is full of government bureaucrats who earn 30% to 50% more than people in the private sector. In the private sector Mr. Market puts his thumb up or his thumb down. The job is saved. Or the job is cut. But here in the federal city his thumbs are in his pockets.
For example, every day, we drive by the NIH – National Institute of Health. Thousands of cars go in and out every day. The NIH was set up in 1930. It had 140 employees, which seems like more than enough. Today, it has 18,442. The same sort of employee inflation happens at every government level on practically every government project. You set up an agency or a commission. Then, you can’t get rid of it. As the saying goes, ‘nothing is more eternal than a temporary government agency.’
But are Americans any healthier thanks to the NIH’s 18,000 + employees? No one knows.
And that’s just the NIH…where employees might conceivably be doing something worthwhile. Just for fun we went to the A-Z Index of US Government Departments and Agencies and copied some of the list. This is just the beginning of the As:
Would we be worse off if half of these people were sent home? Probably not.
But what are we ranting about? The Daily Reckoning is about money, right? It’s not about politics…
But…whoa…now politics and economics are mighty cozy with one another. A growing part of GDP comes directly from the federal government. Already, there is now more government spending than there is private investment.
And many mainstream economists are calling on the government to spend more money to fight the downturn…and ‘save jobs.’ They don’t bother to think about whether the jobs are worth saving or not. And they don’t seem to care that government spending is not the same as private spending. As the feds take over, the economy changes shape. It becomes less and less a free-market, productive, wealth enhancing economy. Instead, it becomes more and more of a centrally-planned, unproductive, wealth destroying one.
It becomes Sovietized, in other words…like Venezuela.
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success in numerous industries. His unique writing style, philanthropic undertakings and preservationist activities have been recognized by some of America's most respected authorities. With his friend and colleague Addison Wiggin, he co-founded The Daily Reckoning in 1999, and together they co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. His other works include Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Lila Rajiva), Dice Have No Memory, and most recently, Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster. His most recent project is The Bill Bonner Letter.
The economists are just trying to save their own jobs bill, because they’ve been proven so horribly wrong over the past 30 years. Also is harry a real person?
No, Harry is a figment of his own imagination!
Largest voting block, AARP, Unions or general population?
No, it’s the government itself. A now self-perpetuating cancer on what once was a healthy economic patient. Usually someone says here, we’re freaking doomed!
I suspect Harry works either for the Fed or the government… trying to discourage people to know the truth!
Harry is the result of some very cruel scientists who captured stray dogs and spliced some of their DNA with ground cinder blocks. This explains his density as well as his affinity for the hands that feed him.
Great article. It clears up the muddy fog the politicians call ‘government’. Soon the majority of voters will be government employees. Then the only winning vote will be for ‘leaders’ that will feed them more favors and any remaining almost worthless dollars they can suck out of the US citizens that still have a real job.
How about a few thousand more government employees to administer the new government run health care plan….
Strong Earnings Growth Unlikely, say Bill Bonner.
I said I would post this after all the big earnings come out. Guess what? INTC crushed earnings top and bottom lines. And has a great forecast going forward.
So far BB, you’re way wrong once again.
I’m not going to argue whether most government jobs are needed or not, but if you think the private sector doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary jobs, you’re dreaming.
I’ve worked for both the federal gov’t and private sector and while the gov’t has more dead weight, there are a lot of useless employees on private payrolls also. If you have an incompetent manager, regardless of where you work, you can get away with pretty much anything.
Small typo (which is easy to overlook because the numbers are so big): it’s 6.5 Million per job not 65.
One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. Then Col. David Crockett arose, and spoke on the both nobility of charity and why it has absolutely no place within the government. Read on...
Most U.S. citizens subscribe to an idea called the American dream - working hard on a level playing field so you can "get ahead" in life. But that's not what the original "American dream" was all about. As Chris Mayer explains, that term originally referred to a completely different, yet equally important goal. Read on...
America is a country like no other. Comprised of people from all corners of the globe, America exists solely because people chose to become Americans. But what does that mean? And how does it influence the concepts of liberty and freedom Americans feel so entitled to? Bill Bonner explains...
People tend to believe they are endowed with a few specific "rights" - property, liberty, happiness, etc. Unfortunately, as Harry Browne explains, rights only exist in theory. In practice they don’t accomplish much - no matter how much people may discuss them. Read on...
British North America was likely the freest society ever seen on earth, as long as you were not a slave of African descent. The Fourth of July isn't worth celebrating unless one wants to cheer an unnecessary revolution that ushered in more tyranny and taxation than existed before that revolution's "success".
Byron King updates his “Fifth Domain of War” thesis… and recommends what he considers the best cybersecurity play today...
Our economy, consumer society, and retirement programs are all in jeopardy in the face of a looming demographic dilemma. Read on to learn about the dire situation with pensions and social security, and what you can do to protect yourself...
David Stockman follows up on his first dispatch, making the case for Greece to default and leave the euro. He details the impact of such a move and more...
Charles Hugh Smith explains that promises made in flush times cannot be kept in lean times, especially when it comes to pension plans...