Economists, Wall Street, and just about everyone else greeted last month's report of new jobs with a groan. One person who showed real enthusiasm, however, was President Obama.
Over 400,000 new jobs were added to the market last month, and the President insisted that this was an indication that the recovery was underway and the economy was on the mend. He seemed unperturbed by the fact that all but 41,000 of those jobs were temporary, and those were all in the government sector. So the President has taken your tax dollars to hire 400,000 part-time workers and declares this a sign that his economic policies are working.
The worst part of this whole scenario is that the President is sincere. He believes that it's government's job to revive the economy and put the unemployed back to work, and if he can do it by hiring census workers and whatnot, well, that just means his view of the recovery is right on schedule.
This President is in the business of growing government, increasing the role and reach of government into the private sector, and he seizes any and every opportunity to show that government can do what he believes. Last week he scolded and threatened BP, insisting that the government would make sure it paid every last dime of what it owed to the people whose work is being harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf. Apparently he didn't feel it was necessary to point out that BP had already processed and paid 17,000 claims, without denying a single one. But he was going to make sure the people knew that his government would make them pay anyway.
Does the market, and do the citizens of the land really need the government's heavy and instrusive presence in the economy? To some extent, certainly; but to the extent President Obama has established over the past year? Well, that remains to be seen. I, for one, am more than skeptical.
Government's role is to preserve justice and promote goodness and order in society. Making the economy work is not something government does particularly well - witness the Postal Service and Amtrak. The best thing for the economy would be for the government to allow people to keep and use their money as they see fit, rather than to appropriate as much as possible to redistribute according to its own vision of the good society.
That government governs best which recognizes its true and God-given responsibility, and that functions within the limits and constraints of divine law. The Founders knew that; let's not lose sight of it now.
T. M. Moore
- T.M. Moore
- June 7, 2010
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore