So last week we heard Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, declare grandly, "Let's get this notion out of our heads that the government creates jobs. Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job." Steele's elaboration attempted to acknowledge that there are people who do in fact work for the government, but he was nonetheless unable to claw his way back to reality: "Small business owners do, small enterprises do. Not the government. When the government contract runs out, that job goes away." As opposed to a job in the private sector, which once it is created, lives on forever, though the 598,000 people who lost their jobs last month might tell you different.It's always so absurd to me how conservatives seem to believe that the government doesn't actually do anything. They seem to believe that trash magically disappears, drivers licenses appear out of nowhere, parks stay manicured on their own, and public schools are filled with disciplined, self-taught students. Furthermore, Republican politicians tend to think that they are employed by someone other than the government and that their staffs work from a privately subsidized budget.
It's certainly true that there are some instances of waste in the government but most of the services provided are vital to a well-functioning economy. These are the kinds of jobs that the stimulus bill is designed to create. Conservatives just seem to forget how the government works.