January 25, 2011

Not His Job

President Obama will address the State of the Union, today, speaking before Congress. These annual efforts are almost uniformly unbearable, with too much applause and too much rah-rah-boy politicking. And far too little thought.

Scuttlebutt has it that the president will concentrate on the economy, on "jobs."

After the sea change of the last election, one might hope that he'd stay on topic and address constitutionally-mandated issues of his office.

"Jobs" are none of his business. "Jobs" -- by which I mean the number of people employed this way or that out there in the non-governmental sector, and by which he means the number of jobs total, including those paid for out of taxpayer expense -- should not be his chief worry.

No president in recent memory has excelled by fiddling with policy to micromanage "the economy." No one knows this stuff. Not even college professors specializing in macroeconomics.

What government operatives know is how to get elected, stay in office. How to preen for television cameras, read a prompter.

You know, the essentials.

But they cannot possibly know enough to "run the economy."

And yet, Obama talks about making the country "more competitive." Oh, come on. Just open up trade -- which promotes widespread co-operation as well as competition -- stop micromanaging the money supply through the Fed, make regulations fit a rule of law and not a vast bureaucratic command system, and let it go. Let individuals and businesses worry about "competiveness."

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

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Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation, which sponsors both Common Sense and Paul's weekly Townhall Column. The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizens in Charge or Citizens in Charge Foundation.


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