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Duncan Black and Adam Blink Are More than Shrill...

Duncan Black writes:

Government Cannot Create Jobs : Back on Stimulus Anniversary day, Jared Bernstein expressed some discontent with the degree to which liberal media folks were selling the stimulus. The administration does not make it easy to do so.

And Adam Blink:

Open Left:: Mixed messaging: This is... bewilderment at how the White House sometimes says two different things in its messaging.... BP... "we're in charge here, we will stop this" on one day, then "only BP can clean up the spill, they have the technology, we're powerless to stop it, no we're not going to nationalize them".

Well, here's Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on The Kudlow Report last night:

Sec. GEITHNER: We have a pro-growth agenda. Part of the agenda is growing exports. They're central to our future. What the president today is to say, that is important to the United States, we'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.

This echoes President Obama, as quoted in a piece by TAP's Tim Fernholz:

"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."

The president was right, except for one little clause: the idea that government can't create jobs. Of course the government can create jobs, unless you rank police officers and teachers, or in a less Norman Rockwell-mode, DMV employees and meter readers, among the unemployed. Which, to be clear, you should not.

Aside from being (a) false, as Tim points out, and (b) a conservative talking point that encourages the "if we want to create jobs, we have to lower corporate taxes and loosen regulations" line of thinking, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that this Administration has been saying for a year and a half "our Administration's stimulus package has either saved or created x number of jobs" over and over and over again, but then stomps on its own message in a quick effort to appeal to business and Wall Street.

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