December 14, 2009

George Will quotes free-trader Milton Friedman to trash the idea of "shovel-ready" projects while continuing his defense of George Bush's economic policies. I'm guessing that George Will has refused to go within fifty feet of Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine since he holds Friedman in such high regard.

And Ed Gillespie, when even Murdoch's Wall Street Journal disagrees with your assertions, you're in trouble. From Jan. 2009--Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record.

PODESTA: I want to come back to Eric Cantor, which is no cost, no jobs, no ideas. I mean, it seems to me that the Republican Party on the Hill has become the party of no.

Maybe I'd say that it looks, a little bit from his defense of no regulation that it's become the party of Bush, that we've seen how that movie played out. It ended in the in financial meltdown and the great recession. It seems that...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Ed Gillespie right that it's no risk?

WILL: What?

STEPHANOPOULOS: This strategy?

WILL: I think there is no risk at this point because I think the American people understand that the greatest job creation machine in the history of the world is a reasonably lightly taxed and lightly regulated economy. But one idea, John, that, happily, we're not hearing. When we began this year with...

PODESTA: George Bush had the lowest job creation since World War II, lightly taxed, lightly regulated...

GILLESPIE: Fifty-two months of uninterrupted job creation, the longest in the history of the United States of America.

PODESTA: ... major recession.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the one idea?

WILL: The one idea that we seem to have dropped, happily so -- remember the phrase was "shovel-ready"? We were going to create government jobs.

It put me in mind of a great story Milton Friedman used to tell. He went to Asia in the 1960s and was proudly taken by the government to see a public works project. They were building a canal. He was struck everyone was digging the canal with shovels. Friedman says, why no heavy earth-moving equipment?

They said, oh, this is a jobs program. So Friedman says, why don't you give them spoons instead of shovels? I think we understand, now, the sterility of government trying to create jobs.

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