Yesterday, Louisiana’s senior Senator Mary Landrieu and her fellow Democrat Senator Patty Murray penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal, though behind the WSJ’s pay wall, touting a plan to produce jobs.
The plan didn’t represent anything particularly new. It essentially suggested that there are lots of jobs to be had but for the fact that not enough folks are qualified for them, and the government should spend a big chunk of change training people for those jobs.
Which sounds OK on the surface, except for the fact that the government has never – NEVER – showed itself capable of consistently identifying market needs and acting to service them. And the fact that we’re entirely too broke to set up some new billion-dollar program that would (1) serve as a nice sop to the educational establishment and (2) invariably mismatch supply and demand.
Those criticisms, though, pale in comparison to what George Mason University Professor Don Boudreaux, our favorite New Orleanian economist, had to say in this post at Cafe Hayek…
U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are eager to “create jobs” by spending other people’s money on a slew of top-down, bureaucrat-directed programs aimed at “closing the skills gap” (“How to Close the Skills Gap ,” August 10).
My how creative.
Overlook the questionable record of government efforts to educate children and retrain workers. Ask instead: Why should anyone pay attention to what politicians say about job creation? In this case, Ms. Landrieu has been in politics since she was 25 years old; Ms. Murray – after stints as a pre-school teacher and as an environmental and education activist – has been in politics since she was 35. Apparently, the only qualification these women have to pronounce in your pages on the subject of job creation is their success at winning lofty political offices.
If the likes of Ms. Landrieu and Ms. Murray were to offer advice on how to repair your collapsed roof or on how to rid your house of termites, they’d be seen immediately for the imposters that they are. But when it comes to economics, politicians’ statements sadly are taken as serious contributions to the public discourse even though – as is the case in your pages today – those statements reflect a quality of thinking that would embarrass a twelve-year-old.
Hat tip: Doug Moreau.