Terry McAuliffe is priming to run for governor of Virginia. Yes, that Terry McAuliffe.

Politico reports today that the former DNC chairman filed papers to establish an exploratory committee and

The former DNC chairman intends to spend the next 60 days touring the state before officially announcing whether he will run.

Why is McAuliffe running?

I think I can go out and fight for people. I think I can create jobs. I think I can take this state in a new direction, and the thing I’d like to do, too, is to come out with some big, bold ideas.

That’s just what Virginia needs, big, bold ideas that will…Wait, what!? How the f%^@ is he going to “create” jobs? Alright kids, gather round to hear something new - politicians do not create jobs. See that punctuation mark at the end of the sentence? That’s a period. Politicians do not create jobs. Period.

Grant McCracken touched on this last week, in this strange conflation of Republicans and capitalists:

What [Obama] does not appear to grasp is that, when it comes to markets, politicians do their best work by omission, by staying out of the way.

May I say how strange it is that Republicans and other capitalists have yet to learn how to tell this story.

This nonsense - which is by no means limited to Democrats - undermines the role which government can successfully play in the economy. The government can foster an environment beneficial to job growth, based on sound infrastructure, consistent application of the law, regulation of externalities, etc. But the government does not “create” these jobs. That is the role of the entrepreneur.

The government can create more government jobs, that is, it can hire more people to work for the government. It can hire more contractors. These two strategies have quickly diminishing returns. Thus at the margin they involve creating extra work.

The government - specifically the politician - can entice businesses to move jobs or not move jobs. The [federal] government can create supreme obstacles that make it costly for consumers to patronize far-away businesses. But this is not job creation.


Photo credit ktylerconk.