By Eric Cantor
Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, has argued consistently that federal stimulus efforts have failed to create jobs. His critics have just as consistently said otherwise. Last summer, for instance, they noted that Cantor held a job fair at Deep Run High School. Attending were a number of businesses that, all told, had received $52 million in stimulus funds. They had taken stimulus funds and were hiring. Therefore, Cantor was wrong.
That was a crashing non sequitur. They might have hired even without the stimulus funds. But even supposing otherwise, the millions given to the companies at the job fair were not created out of thin air. They money was taken from the private sector in the first place – either directly through taxes or indirectly through borrowing that investors otherwise would have directed to private investment. In short, the $52 million that went to companies A, B, and C, which might (or might not) have induced them to hire, could otherwise have been used by companies D, E, and F to create jobs, if they had been allowed to keep it. The latter effect, however, is less obvious than the former.
To conclude that the federal spending created more jobs than the money would have created if left in the private sector, you would have to assume that the federal government is a more efficient allocator of capital than private enterprise. Yet the latest debate over Cantor’s position indicates otherwise.
Cantor recently said the trillion-dollar stimulus has not created any private-sector jobs. The White House claims otherwise – that nearly 574,000 private-sector jobs have been funded with stimulus contracts.
Whether the 574,000 figure is accurate is anyone’s guess. Don’t forget the kerfuffle created last year when a guest host on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program erroneously claimed that $168,000 in stimulus funds had gone to open a massage parlor in Midlothian. As The Times-Dispatch reported, Escape Massage (a) wasn’t some sleazy massage parlor but a legit massage-therapy business, and (b) didn’t receive any stimulus funds. Rather, the federal Small Business Administration had guaranteed a portion of a loan issued by a private bank so the Short Pump business could open a second location. Somehow, that got misreported as a federal grant.
Still, assume such mistakes are rare and the stimulus has created more than 574,000 private-sector jobs. That works out to more than $1.7 million per job.
Estimates for the total cost of a private-sector job vary, and lately may have gone up thanks to factors such as Obamacare, but they don’t come anywhere near that figure. Even if every private-sector job cost $200,000, that still works out to almost nine private-sector jobs that could have been created with the money D.C. has spent to create just one.
As the French economist Frederic Bastiat pointed out more than a century and a half ago, that which goes unseen matters just as much as that which is easily seen. The White House is welcome to claim credit for the latter – so long as it also accepts the blame for the former.
This editorial appeared in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch
House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling spoke on the House Floor today calling for the need for job creation and creating economic stability for America. House Republicans have a plan for job creators to put the nation on a fiscally sustainable path, restore economic confidence, make our tax code competitive and eliminate harmful regulations.
Congressman Joe Walsh released a new video promoting www.cutcapbalance.com
Our country’s debt continues to grow — it’s eating away at the American Dream. We need to make real cuts now. We need Cut, Cap, and Balance.
103 House Republicans sent a letter to House Republican leadership calling for a solution that could resolve the current debt limit impasse and prevent the bigger, Greece-like debt crisis just over the horizon: Cut, Cap, and Balance.
1. Cut – We must make discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year.
2. Cap – We need statutory, enforceable caps to align federal spending with average revenues at 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with automatic spending reductions if the caps are breached.
3. Balance – We must send to the states a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) with strong protections against federal tax increases and a Spending Limitation Amendment (SLA) that aligns spending with average revenues as described above.
With each passing day our nation’s fiscal health gets worse, leaving our children and grandchildren falling further into debt. Democrats seem to have given up, proposing even more borrowing in response to our massive debt addiction. With the problem growing larger every day, we must move quickly and unite behind a plan to cut spending and get our budget into balance.