Skip to content
Sep 23 / Jonathan

Job-killing legislation

I suppose that this is almost too obvious to point out. Almost.

Representative John Kline Argues for Government Waste

The NYT felt the need to present at length the unanswered complaints from Representative John Kline about a bill eliminating federal subsidies for private lenders in the college student loan program. The article concludes with Mr. Kline calling the bill “job-killing legislation.”

Of course legislation that eliminates waste will kill some jobs. Suppose we had 10,000 government bureaucrats who did absolutely nothing but pass sheets of paper back and forth among themselves. If Congress passed a bill eliminating these jobs, then it would be job-killing legislation. However, this would generally be seen as good for the economy since it would free up these resources for productive uses. The same logic applies to waste in the financial sector supported by government subsidies. The NYT should have made this point.

—Dean Baker

This of course is the converse of the argument made for stimulus spending: if we’re going to spend tax money to create jobs, let’s try to make sure that the jobs produce something that we need.

Leave a Comment