Should the government create jobs?

One of my major objections to the stimulus bill is the false notion that the government creation of jobs contributes to economic well-being.

Suppose we measure economic well-being by the average level of subjective consumer satisfaction in an area. The creation of jobs in the private sector is more likely to fulfill this satisfaction.

Example: If I open a restaurant and few attend, the market is sending me a signal not to hire any new workers because consumers are not being satisfied by my restaurant (or their demand for restaurants has already been satisfied by others)

On the other hand, we have the government creation of jobs. Say for example, for road construction. Here there is no way to meaningfully measure consumer satisfaction. Sure, you can take polls and surveys but in the end there is no way to have people "put their money where their mouths are". Instead, the government will simply spend as much on jobs as it sees fit and damn the consequences.

We have a situation here where the government is in total control of the infrastructure so of course I'm not saying that we shouldn't spend anything on it, or that we should just let it fall apart. I'm also not saying that people who work on the infrastructure at the behest of the government are not doing a good job. There is no way to know. I'm just saying that ultimately, we have no way to determine whether these news jobs would be genuine jobs or simply make-work.

If they are simply make-work, it would be nice that at least these people would have some kind of income. However, the more non-productive jobs you have, the worse off the general population is for it.

About this blog

As a child I was told that I asked "too many questions" and I still do. I'm curious. Too curious. I'm too curious about ideas that I was specifically told and trained not to be curious about: politics, religion, the truth, right and wrong - all the big ticket items. That's how I became interested in philosophy.

Many of us are told throughout our lives that we are not supposed to be discussing these matters. There is nothing else worth discussing. This blog is about everything truly important: life, death, ethics and human interaction, the nature of the universe and of man.

I've been studying ideas since 1998. Still, I don't claim to know any more than you about these things because honestly, I probably don't. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to learn more about them. That doesn't stop me from wanting to discuss them.

Therefore the intention of this blog is to discuss all these issues: questions I have and questions that others might have. I'll also make some claims that are true to the best of my knowledge. Please correct me when you think I'm wrong.

I will try my best to remain humble in the face of the truth and I encourage you, the reader, to keep me to that promise. If you want to frequent this blog, I'll ask that you do likewise.

I do have an agenda to push, in a sense. I'm a libertarian and a naturalist. Yet, that's not because I was trained, taught or indoctrinated to hold those positions. Rather, I have arrived at those conclusions via the only valid methodologies which I hold to as an axiom: logic, human reason and empirical evidence. Hence, I'm perfectly willing to admit it if I am wrong about libertarianism and naturalism. I have no concern for a particular position unless it is true. Are you likewise willing to admit when you are wrong?