Um, Really?

Tim Geithner and a dubious talking point:

“We have a pro-growth agenda. Part of the agenda is growing exports. They’re central to our future. … [W]e’re going to be committed to making sure we’re that we’re expanding opportunities for American business everywhere. Now, this president understands deeply that governments don’t create jobs, businesses create jobs. And our job as government is try to make sure we’re creating the conditions that allow businesses to prosper so they can hire people back, get this economy going again.”

Government doesn’t create jobs? Um, really? Sadly, this looks like a bit of the party line coming out of the White House of late. In May, President Obama said:

Now, government can’t create jobs, but it can help create the conditions for small businesses to grow and thrive and hire more workers,” President Barack Obama said yesterday as he urged Congress to take up new jobs legislation at an event honoring Small Business Owners of the Year. “Government can’t guarantee a company’s success, but it can knock down the barriers that prevent small-business owners from getting loans or investing in the future.”

Um, really? I’d really like the President to go to AIG or Goldman Sachs or Bear Stearns or GM and say, with a straight face, that “government can’t guarantee a company’s success.”

First, the government obviously can create jobs. Infrastructure improvement, school construction, hiring more civil servants to police the streets, stop fires from taking lives, or driving ambulances are all direct ways the government can create jobs. Hell, the Census has been the main driver of job creation over the last three months. So this is a talking point that tests well, but doesn’t have any basis in reality.

Beyond that, our economy is moving forward out of the collapse caused by Wall Street speculators solely because the federal government stepped in and prevented these firms from taking  any losses on their bad bets (bets which were also ignorant, uninformed and just plain stupid). That the Captains of Finance on Wall Street now have the temerity to complain that the administration is “anti-business” only speaks to the true extent to which these buffoons care nothing for the the country on whole and only value enriching themselves.

Government can create jobs. Government can guarantee private companies’ success. The only way out of this depression is unleashing the power of the government spending to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Of course, this can be done in a way that benefits small businesses, though we should be deeply skeptical of blanket tax cuts that will likely only benefit the richest of the rich.

What’s really frustrating is that a persuasive communicator could get past the binary that has been presented by conservatives for decades of Business vs Government. But this administration buys into this dichotomy whole-heartedly and, even worse, repeats patently wrong conservative talking points.

Look, I don’t care how deeply you bow before Wall Street and the GOP, they’re never going to like you guys. And while you pursue the support of people who slur you regardless of whatever you do for them, the economy gets worse and working Americans suffer ever more.

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