When politics kills jobs

The SE Texas Record Sep. 19, 2011, 9:27am

In the Marx Brothers film "Duck Soup," Chico, disguised as Groucho's character, Rufus T. Firefly, responds indignantly to someone who challenges his impersonation: "Who you gonna believe," he demands, "me or your own eyes?"

Chico was expressing the hope of audacity: If you tell a big enough lie and stick to it, you may just get away with it.

They say actions speak louder than words, but "they" don't always know what they're talking about. Actions only speak louder than words if people are aware of the actions, are paying attention to them, and are not mesmerized by the oratory.

Let's face it. Most of us are naturally inclined to believe what people say, even when the actions contradict the words, and especially when we hear only what we want to hear.

Politicians know this and frequently use it to their advantage, saying one thing and doing another, knowing or hoping they will not be held accountable for the discrepancy if the media serve as their propagandists and, as a result, help perpetuate the fraud.

So it goes with politicians and jobs. They promise and promise they'll create them for us-- but the actions we see often suggest the opposite.

Just last week, Dallas-based utility Luminant announced that it will have to close several facilities and lay off 500 people to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution rule.

Implementing unreasonable environmental standards is a key component of this job-destroying -- not creating--action. In a recession, public outcry has forced Washington politicians to decelerate some of these efforts, but they'll surely ramp up again quickly if President Obama wins reelection.

The political noisemakers aren't stopping the EPA from hurting Luminant and its 500 employees. They're encouraging it-- while giving speeches on television promising to create jobs.

To be sure, creating new rules and regulations is what politicians and bureaucrats do. They impose-- they don't create. They don't innovate or invent-- they force and compel. And they get paid regardless of whether their ideas bear useful fruit. They take no personal risk with what they create.

Truth is, politicians can do little to create jobs. But they can do lots of things that destroy jobs.

Squint your way through the haze of the rhetoric. Then believe your own eyes.

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