Gary Johnson: I Didn’t Create A Single Job, Entrepreneurs Did

Gary Johnson is not your typical politician, and his response today to a National Review article praising his job creation record as Governor of New Mexico is a very good example of that fact:

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson took a slightly unorthodox approach regarding job creation on Thursday. “I didn’t create a single job,” said the former Governor of New Mexico.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are proud of this distinction. We had a 11.6 percent job growth that occurred during our two terms in office. But the headlines that accompanied that report – referring to governors, including me, as ‘job creators’ – were just wrong.”

“The fact is, I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor,” Johnson added. Instead, “we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”

(…)

“My priority was to get government out of the way, keep it out of the way, and allow hard-working New Mexicans, entrepreneurs and businesses to fulfill their potential,” he said. “That’s how government can encourage job growth, and that’s what government needs to do today.”

That’s not to say that Johnson doesn’t have a plan to jump start the economy, he does, it just doesn’t accept the fallacy that job creation is something that the government can do:

Unorthodox in presentation for sure. But, hey, we’ve tried the other way for a long time and it hasn’t worked at all.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. SteveP says:

    I’m glad to finally hear a politician say that. Johnson’s stock just went way up in my view. I’ll be taking a closer look at him.

  2. Drew says:

    Gary Johnson for President.

  3. Drew says:

    PS – I’m thinkng this isn’t going to be one of those 100+ comment threads, perhaps 4-6. Truth doesn’t seem to matter much at OTB anymore.

  4. MM says:

    I still fundamentally disagree that government does not create jobs. Is there a question of areas the government SHOULD create jobs in? Absolutely. But if a city builds a new City Hall, you need construction crews to build it. Road crews to pave the road leading to it, utility employees to run phone/data/power/water.sewage to that building. The employees who work in that city hall will need to shop and eat and do everything that a private sector employee will.

    Just look at the areas around Military bases (and the reasons that politicans will freak befire they EVER let a military base in their area close) to see that the government can and does create jobs.

  5. Joe R. says:

    But if a city builds a new City Hall, you need construction crews to build it. Road crews to pave the road leading to it, utility employees to run phone/data/power/water.sewage to that building. The employees who work in that city hall will need to shop and eat and do everything that a private sector employee will.

    The controversy is that that is just a shifting of jobs, not the creation of jobs. The money to pay all the people you just mentioned comes from taxes, and the question is whether or not that money would have created more jobs in taxpayer hands than the City Hall project did.

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    PS – I’m thinkng this isn’t going to be one of those 100+ comment threads, perhaps 4-6. Truth doesn’t seem to matter much at OTB anymore.

    What is there to talk about?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Truth doesn’t seem to matter much at OTB anymore.

    OK Drew, How about this truth: If there was a way for an american corporation to make more money by eliminating an American job…. but would not…. tell me which American corporation that is.

    I eagerly await your answer.

    tom p

    ps: comment #7. You lose. You got the balls to make it 8?

  8. MM says:

    The controversy is that that is just a shifting of jobs, not the creation of jobs. The money to pay all the people you just mentioned comes from taxes, and the question is whether or not that money would have created more jobs in taxpayer hands than the City Hall project did.

    But that is not the actual discussion that I have ever seen had. It’s always “Government doesn’t create jobs”. As I said in my post (I’m not sure why you chose to cherry pick that part out, btw) there can and should be a reasonable discussion of what services a government SHOULD provide, but unless you are an anarchist, there is going to be a government that must exist, that government must employ people, create infrastructure and have support industries surround it.

    I have never seen anyone make the case that “if the government got out of y business”, the private sector would create the same job at 1.4x the rate”, or “the savings would lead to 27% more jobs in other areas”. I think those arguments could be very likely to be true. There’s also an argument that government creates barriers to entry that prohibits people from creating jobs. That is certainly true, though in some cases is probably a desirable outcome, while in others it is not.

    I just see the argument made that “clearly the government cannot create jobs”. An argument which is on it’s face clearly false.

  9. Gerry W. says:

    A lot of spinning going on.

    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2128499.shtml

    And if he claims low unemployment, then why not the plain states with low unemployment. After all, it is subsidies for corn ethanol and the farm programs that is helping those states. And even North Dakota, since they have the Bakken Shale oil. Texas, has oil, a former president, and lobbyists for the defense industry. Talk is cheap. 57,000 factories have closed down over a decade and that is over 6 million jobs. These people like Johnson or Palin have no idea what is going on. Add 2 billion cheap laborers to the free market and you have loss of jobs and/or pay. No one has said how they will fill those 57,000 factories that are closed. What widgets will be made here and not some other country? Even Bernanke hinted yesterday that he is clueless. The politicians, the economists, and the pundits are a joke. Years of education and they don’t know. While we don’t want government jobs, it seems like the only answer when the private industry has chosen cheap labor as their answer.

  10. Aidan says:

    Doug, I suggest you read this Alan Blinder op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303635604576392023187860688.html

  11. michael reynolds says:

    So, let me see if I understand the Religion of Drewism.

    I have 100 bucks. It’s in my pocket. If the government takes it and hires a guy to pave the road that’s not job creation. It’s just job “shifting.”

    Because I was absolutely going to use the 100 bucks to create a job.

    I was not going to lose it at a poker game. I wasn’t going to buy weed. I wasn’t going to invest it with a corporation that tweaks profits by laying off 1000 guys. I wasn’t going to invest in a company that goes broke in a week. I wasn’t going to invest it in Enron, Lehman, Bear Stearns or any of the many other private sector wealth-destroyers.

    No, those things are all impossible. I was absolutely, positively going to use that 100 bucks to create jobs.

    Whereas the guy who now how has the government job, doesn’t really have a job, and doesn’t really have a paycheck, and we don’t need the roads to be paved anyway.

    The guy who really has the job is the guy who was laid off by the company I invested in.

    Because of unicorns, and leprechauns, that’s why.

  12. Gerry W. says:

    Correction:

    Johnson was governor a long time ago. But today, with globalization, I doubt he could create jobs under the environment we are in.

  13. Tano says:

    Well, at least we now know that the libertarians will not be criticizing Obama for failing to create sufficient jobs. The problem seems to be with the entrepreneurs – why is it that they have done such a miserable job lately? It sure as hell is not for any lack of capital available in the economy…

  14. wr says:

    Michael R — It’s actually because freedom. I thought you’d know that by now.

  15. Alex Knapp says:

    Without a strong, functioning government, you cannot have a strong functioning economy.

    Government institutions are a necessary precedent for free-markets.

    So by keeping the machinery of government going — and well, from what I know — Johnson kept the economy functional and, therefore, job creating.

    He may not want the credit, but I’ll give it to him anyway.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    wr:

    I knew it was something magic.

  17. A voice from another precinct says:

    I’m not sure why some of you knotheads continue to believe that we can cut taxes AND balance the budget considering the committment of the deficit hawks that you elect to Congress, but I guess that everyone has to have faith in SOMETHING.

    Keep believin’; it is only a matter of time before the wish hand fills up first, I promise–the law of averages dictates it.

  18. Rick DeMent says:

    “Government doesn’t create jobs”

    Oh, so that’s why the economy in state capitols and big university towns always seem to have much higher unemployment then other cities of the same size.

  19. ken says:

    If the governor did not create any jobs that is not something to be proud of. Any bozo could fail. The kind of government leaders we want is the leader who can and will act to create jobs.