Stop Lying! Government Creates Plenty Of Jobs!
– by David Matthews 2
This is the story of a small town job-creator here in Georgia…
In 2002, a Winder City manager named Ernie Graham resigned from his public position. Thanks to some relatively recent modifications to the city’s pension program, Graham was allowed to get his full pension for a job that supposedly was “too stressful for him”.
But apparently the job was not “stressful” enough for him to stop working. Once he started getting a pension check from the City of Winder, he went back to work for the city, doing the same job that he previously did, only this time as a “consultant”. So not only was he getting a full pension from the taxpayers, but he was now able to bill the city as an outside contractor for far more money than he could get if he kept on working in his former job. And apparently he was so good at it that he formed his own consulting group and then offered his services to another city at an even higher rate.
In all, it is believed that he brought in over one million dollars in the past ten years between the two cities he was “contracted” with in addition to his full taxpayer-funded pension. And he would otherwise continue to bring in that money today if not for the fact that the City of Winder got a new mayor who started going through the books and wanted to know where Mr. Graham’s contracts were for the work that he claimed to perform.
Now you and I would say that this is a shining example of a “good ol’ boy system” running amok. A system that is burdened with corruption and nepotism and cronyism and needs to be “purged”… but only as long as it’s purged of members of “the other party”.
But to those inside government, Ernie Graham and those that helped him set this prosperous system up are far from villains in need of punishment. In fact, they would consider Graham to be something far more valuable.
They would call Graham a “job-creator”!
Think about it! Graham and his associates literally created an outsourced private-sector position out of nothing that made far more money than his “public sector” position. Not only that, but he created a brand new consulting business because of it. In the eyes of the conservatives and neo-conservatives, this is precisely what they claim needs to be done everywhere.
The cons and neo-cons have displayed a mad-on hatred of the public sector in recent years. Through their trained parrots in talk radio and cable news, they have equated public workers as being slugs, leaches, parasites, and good-for-nothing goldbrickers.
Of course, they’ve carefully cherry-picked which taxpayer-funded employees to hate, since police officers and firefighters and members of the armed forces are also public employees, and they don’t want to make it appear that they either don’t support the troops or that they advocate anarchy or that they would watch as our modern-day Rome burns to the ground. And it goes without saying that the category of “good-for-nothing goldbrickers” never manages to include either themselves or their own staff members or their friends, however they will eagerly suggest several members of “the other party” that “magically” fit the bill.
To indoctrinate their selective hatred of the public employees to the masses, the cons and neo-cons have come up with a mantra that they recite over and over again like a church hymnal. They want people to believe that “government doesn’t create jobs”.
They will repeat that mantra over and over and over again. “The government doesn’t create jobs.”
They will shove their faces in front of the FoxNews cameras and say over and over again “The government doesn’t create jobs.”
They will type up the talking points memos to give to the trained parrots in talk radio and cable news channels to reiterate that “The government doesn’t create jobs.”
They will cobble up newspaper columns and post online articles to recite the continual mantra that “The government doesn’t create jobs.”
And I’ll confess… I even bought into their mantra at one point.
There’s just one problem with their pronouncement, though: it is a bold-faced lie!
Not only is it a lie, but they know that they are lying about it!
Let’s get brutally honest here… governments at all levels create plenty of jobs. And the cons and neo-cons know that governments at all levels create jobs if those in charge feel inclined to.
The Cold War that was “waged” between the United States and the old Soviet Union is probably the best example of how the government can create jobs. Think of all of the companies that made their fortunes making warplanes and warships and tanks and firearms for a war that neither side ever wanted to have happen. Boy, those were the days, huh? And all they needed back then was an occasional “flare-up” to keep people on-edge and put some of those products to use. Korea? Vietnam? Grenada? Those were just field tests in the overall scheme of things. Just little “nudges” to remind the great unwashed that the “great war” was still going on.
Do names like Haliburton and Blackwater ring any bells? These are or were companies that prospered from our most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and anyplace else that the government decided needed “jobs”.
Oh, but I suppose those “don’t count”, because those are jobs “over there”, not jobs in America, where such work is needed for countless millions. It’s sort of like when companies claim to be “creating jobs” when in fact they’re outsourcing them overseas. It only counts “on paper”.
Let’s talk about so-called “Crime Bills”. Every call for a new social “war” is a call for more police officers and more government agencies to combat it. The so-called “Drug War” is one of the best examples of this. Bear in mind that police officers are still public employees.
President George W. Bush, the GOP’s lord and savior in the 2000’s, not only was a huge supporter of more money for education (including those “lazy public sector” folks), but also created a brand new government Cabinet-level department called “Homeland Security” that just begged for more public sector jobs.
“Government doesn’t create jobs”, you say? Tell that to the Transportation Security Administration! That’s a government agency that did not exist until 2001.
Or how about telling that to all of the tax preparation services that have been created over the generations due to the schizophrenic tax system we currently have? Or the auditing firms that got their jobs because of the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
And then we have the jobs that are created by good-old-fashioned politics! Jobs like the “consulting” company that Mister Graham created for himself. Jobs that are created through political wrangling and manipulation of the “fine print”.
You know those “wasteful spending projects” that magically appear in spending bills? You know which ones I’m talking about! The cons and neo-cons seem to get a perverse sexual pleasure in showing them off to the trained parrots of talk radio and cable news. Every “pet project” that gets inserted is someone’s job being either created or supported.
Well how did those “wasteful spending projects” get there in the first place? They got there because a lobbyist called up someone with the power to slip something like that into the budget. And it doesn’t matter which political party is in charge; somehow they get slipped in and nobody bothers to ask how or why. They just complain about it after-the-fact. Ever wonder why they do that?
Well, did you ever wonder where many of those career politicians go when their time in office is done? They either work for “think tank” groups, or they end up as lobbyists, getting paid big money to twist the arms of their former fellow politicians. In other words, they roll over for the lobbyists and the lobbyists reserve a job opening for them afterward. Quid pro quo. Rather convenient, huh?
In other words, the politicians know that government creates plenty of jobs, because the most important job that gets created in their minds is waiting for them when they leave office.
And I haven’t even brought up the time when President Franklin Roosevelt created a federal jobs program that gave people that needed it work during the Great Depression. It was busy work, but it was still work and it was believed that this program did more for the morale of those that needed it than simply giving them money. It may have been digging a ditch to later fill in, but at least at the end of the day, that person could say that they were working and getting paid to work.
As you can see, the conservatives and neo-conservatives know full-well that government at all levels know how to create jobs, and they’re really very good at creating jobs when those in charge put their minds to it. The challenge for them is doing it. And that can only happen when the conservatives and neo-conservatives stop lying to themselves and stop lying to the American people about it. If they’re not willing to do that much then they need to be removed from the conversation and replaced with people who will be honest about the role and scope of government, especially given today’s current economic dilemma.
It would probably also help if we reminded the cons and neo-cons at every opportunity that the next war they want waged, the next “criminal epidemic” they want attacked, and the next wildfire that needs to be fought are all going to be handled by the very “public workers” that they otherwise call “slugs” and “goldbrickers”. And maybe the next time there’s a pothole in their neighborhood or a blown streetlight that they should spend some of their own money to get it fixed themselves. After all, they wouldn’t want those “good-for-nothing” public-sector employees to feel they have a reason to be working there, would they?