Government and job-creation

  ''Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.''

-- H.L. Mencken

Again and again we hear the mantra from the likes of Tea Partiers that "government doesn't create jobs.''

Oh, yeah? Try starting and running a private business without roads and airports, without public education, without public health agencies, without the innumerable inventions of public-sector people working in the Defense Department (ever hear of the Internet?), the National Institutes of Health, etc., etc., etc.

Much of the anti-government mantra comes from folks in the Tea Party-dominated parts of the country in the South and the West that, interestingly, have the highest percentage of people depending on federal pork.  And despite the Bible-thumping speeches that emanate from these places, they also in general have the highest rates of social pathologies, such as substance abuse and what we used to  quaintly call "illegitimacy.''

Hypocrisy makes the world go round.

Sorry, but to have civilization you always need a "mixed economy'' of private business and the collective action known as ''government''. The ratio between them, as with tax rates, will frequently have to be adjusted to address the dangers of the excess power that one or the other will inevitably develop.  The top federal tax rate, for example, was  too high as Reagan took over. It was cut and the system was briefly simplified. (Since then, it has again been made even more complicated than before.)

Now, with, Putin, a cold and murderous gangster, running Russia, and collapsing U.S. physical infrastructure, the rates will probably have t0 be raised again. A matter of national security.

Most of us want simple answers to avoid doing the hard work of adjusting our processes and practices to changing reality. But as  J.P. Morgan once said after being asked what the stock market would do: "It will fluctuate.''