Home > economics > $200,000 per job. And they wonder why people are angry.

$200,000 per job. And they wonder why people are angry.


More absurdity.  It’s not a surprise, mind you, because we’ve seen this before.  But one has to wonder how this man continues to have a job.

‘You’ve got to think about the costs of the alternatives,’ Geithner said when asked about Harvard economist Martin Feldstein’s calculation that each job created by President Obama’s American Jobs Act would cost taxpayers about $200,000.

That’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner not disagreeing with a recent study which concludes that each job created by Obama’s proposed “jobs bills” will cost taxpayers $200,000.00 for each job created.  And it’s not like the jobs “created” are going to receive salaries of $200,000.00.  Considering the types of jobs at issue, i.e., construction and government, over half of that money will be absorbed by bureaucrats.

Geithner speaks of alternatives.    What are these alternatives?

‘If government does nothing, it does nothing now because they’re scared by politics or they want to debate what’s perfect, then there will be fewer Americans back to work, the economy will be weaker,’ he said.

Apparently the only alternative is to do nothing.  This man is being paid $191,300.00/year, with a bad-ass pension, to be the super-smart economic policy guy.  According to him, the choices are either shoveling money to public employee unions and well-connected construction companies, to the tune of $200,000.00/job, or nothing.  Whatever happened to brain-storming?  My kid could give me better alternatives than that.  In fact, she did.

I asked my seven year old daughter what would be a better way of getting people to spend money, thereby stirring economic growth.  Let everyone keep more of their own, or spend a ridiculous sum on a few jobs for a small group of people.  Her answer: let everyone keep more of their own money, because then they’d buy stuff.  See, there’s one alternative so simple, a child could come up with it.

Why don’t we have a payroll tax holiday?  Why don’t we reduce the burdens on business, or cut the corporate tax rate?  Why don’t we just simplify the tax code, and lower everybody’s rates?  These are all things that could be done, which wouldn’t involve throwing more money at politically-connected groups.  That won’t happen though…why?  Because it takes away Barry’s only road to re-election: make the independents think the Republicans only care about the rich.  Let’s not forget the key point: that the “job’s bill” depends on raising taxes on the evil rich (while apparently giving everyone else a self-sustaining pony that craps rainbows).  I, for one, am bored with the “eat the rich” meme…and I’m not even rich.

The job’s bill is the worst kind of political theater, because it actually causes a few people to have hope that their situation will improve through government intervention.  It won’t.  See, this entire “spending” debate brought about by the Tea Party isn’t about taking money from the “most vulnerable.”  It’s actually about identifying those that truly are in need, and making everybody else get a friggin’ job.  There, I said it.  Do I believe giving anybody two+ years of unemployment benefits is going to make them take a lower-paying job than the one they just lost?  Call me cynical, but no.

Let’s review all that great government intervention: TARP?  Well, it certainly helped the big banks, which have largely paid us back.  Of course, it didn’t do anything for anyone else (which is not surprising when you consider the fact that Europe had done the same thing several months before), and the talking heads are now either complaining that it helped the wrong people (duh) or are giving airtime to the bored who are currently camping out on occupying Wall Street.  How about those auto bailouts?  Both GM and Chrysler went bankrupt anyway, with GM ultimately being owned by us…and the UAW (and they still haven’t paid us back).  The first stimulus?  You know, the one that was identical to the current jobs bill, except even more money was spent?  Sure it created some jobs.  But those jobs are now gone (because you can only fix a road so many times in one year…see, for example, Illinois), and the economy has never grown like the economists “expected.”

Based upon the Fantastic Failures of Government Intervention, Mr. Geithner’s other alternative, i.e., doing nothing, would certainly seem to be a better option.  Let’s face it.  Government manipulation of the housing market got us into this mess, and government’s efforts at resolving the crisis have only made it last longer.  Now, because our president wants to be re-elected, we’re going to try something that we already tried two years ago, and that we know failed in every conceivable way possible.  It’s this nonsense that angers people like me.  If the goal were to actually help people that needed it, you wouldn’t hear anybody like me complaining.  How about re-opening the state psychiatric facilities whose closure put a lot of disabled people on the street to fend for themselves.  Or maybe providing better care to our Veterans?  Instead of common sense, we get loads of borrowed money put into the programs that we know will fail because an election’s coming up.  Geithner’s justification: Why not…there’s loads of countries that are willing to loan us money.

Needless to same, I have come to the conclusion that obtaining an advanced degree in finance or economics from an Ivy League school is the equivalent of saving enough box tops to get that decoder ring you’ve always wanted: it may take awhile, but at least you get to eat a lot of cereal.

  1. October 20, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    I believe you lost track on the count–the first stimulus was Mr Bush’s $300 rebate checks that accomplished about the same thing as the later attempts–the only good thing about it?-it didn’t cost quite so much.
    I’ll agree with much of the rest of your post, but will insist that the US economy WILL NOT recover significantly until the real estate mess is substantially resolved with partial recapture of the $7 T loss in net worth suffered by the American consumer in about 18 months in 2007 and 2008. I will stand by my proposal first made in March 2009, http://fredbeyers.wordpress.com/page/2/ Mortgages, with minor variations, although such action will not be quite as effective today as it would have been then.
    The alternative is that this mess will clear in ten to fifteen years with much pain and suffering–or at least discomfort.

  2. October 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    I couldn’t agree more on the economy not recovering without housing first recovering. In fact, I’ve always advocated this point, and it continues to astonish me that more people don’t talk about this. In fact, while housing was the underlying cause of the entire collapse, nothing has been done to reform the government’s significant involvement in the housing market.

    Too many people have lost too much money in what is their primary asset. Plus, housing values won’t improve until we do something about all of the foreclosed/uninhabited homes that are on the market. I’m beginning to think simply demolishing the excess homes would make sense…although a lot of different groups would have to come together to eat that loss, and getting that to happen would, obviously, be difficult.

  3. October 23, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    My poposed variation from nearly two years ago for such a scheme.

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