I have been puzzled by the extent of the media coverage of some crank’s prediction that the world would come to an end today. People are always predicting the end of the world. So far they have always been wrong. Was there something about this particular prediction that was newsworthy? Did any significant number of people expect to wake up this morning and see graves opening and people ascending into Heaven? This morning, there were news stories to the effect that the world still exists. Really! Did reporters expect their readers to be surprised? Why, in short, was this silliness a major media event?
I wish reporters would pay as much attention to a more important failed prediction: the Obama administration’s assurance that its policies, including the “stimulus,” would foster job creation and prevent unemployment from reaching 8 percent. We have reproduced this graphic before:
This chart, from USA Today, updates the documentation of the administration’s failure. It shows the change in the total number of jobs from the start of each recession since World War II to 22 months after the recession officially ended, which is where we are now. Job creation in the current recovery is by far–no comparison–the worst in history:
This is either surprising or not, depending on whether you swallowed Barack Obama’s claim that “spending equals stimulus”–a concise statement of Keynes’s theory of government spending–in the first place. The reality is that inefficient government spending destroys jobs. That fact has been empirically proved by the experiment that the Democrats have been conducting since 2007. I have posted this graphic before; I created it, using standard government data sources. It charts federal spending against the total number of jobs as measured by the Department of Labor. It seems rather obvious that government spending is not the key to job creation. Click to enlarge:
The Obama administration’s failed prediction of job growth has significant public policy implications. The most basic division between our political parties is their relative faith, or lack thereof, in the efficacy of federal spending. We are embarking on an election cycle in which Republicans will argue for reduced government spending, and Democrats will claim, against all the evidence, that cutting back on out-of-control spending will somehow be bad for the economy. But the Democrats’ theory has been tested. It flunked. It would be nice if reporters and editors would find that failed prediction as newsworthy as the latest end of the world calculation.
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