Don’t do something


Stephen Gordon questions those calling for the government to take action on jobs.

My reading of the data of which I’m aware suggests that current rates of job creation are consistent with those observed during the last expansion, and have been so for a year or so. Calls for the government to “do something” are misplaced; the labour market has been functioning normally for quite some time now.


Don’t do something

  1. Well, Harper ISN’T doing anything, so Gordon should be happy.
    It’s just that nobody else is.

  2. My observations are that Canadians are happy compared with most others.  Government should indeed keep their hands off. 

    • I don’t think suppyling the PM with a  $317,574 salary, plus 2 homes, a car and a plane in order to get no leadership makes anybody happy.

  3. Why does Stephen Gordon hate unemployed people?  What is he, some sort of Harper lackey?
    (Just kidding. Stephen Gordon is great!)

    He called out Conservatives, very effectively, for the sales tax cuts and the removal of the long form census.  He called out the Liberals for their shameless hypocrisy on corporate tax cuts.  And he calls out the NDP on a regular basis because of that party’s near-total lack of economic comprehension, which disqualifies them as a credible governing alternative.

    • Given the dismal state of several of the world’s economies that have followed the (often contradictory) advice of economists, your faith in the theories and practices of economists, and your willingness to evaluate the economic comprehension of others shows a touching naivety. 

      • You’re blaming the dismal state of several of the world’s economies on economists?  And you’re using that as a reason to distrust economic theories and practices in general? And it’s a reason to distrust Stephen Gordon in particular?  

        That sort of naivety is so cute, it’s adorable.  Go read a textbook or something, so that you can better understand the field of knowledge that you so blithely dismiss. :-)

        • I assure you there’s nothing blithe about my dismissal of the assorted economic theories that have so often led to tragic results.  Perhaps you could use some of your spare time to read a history book.  (It may help you understand my point of view if you knew I include Marxist economic theory as one example of a cause of tragic results; another is whatever theory the IMF is using to destroy functioning economies in the name of encouraging participation in the global economy.) 

          My favourite economist is Herman Daly.  He might even be right.

    • Stephen Gordon: An Equal Opportunity Trasher! (TM)

      And to clarify, that is meant in the most complimentary way possible.

    • Gordon has been an outspoken proponent of corporate tax cuts – citing economic theory, principally.

      So, now that he states: “Calls for the government to “do something” are misplaced; the labour market has been functioning normally for quite some time now.” does that mean he is now rebuking what he claimed before, or that of fellow right leaning economist (now at U of C) Jack Mintz?

      Corporate tax cuts to create 100,000 jobs: study

      OTTAWA — Fully implementing the Conservative government’s corporate tax cut scheme will have “little” impact on budget revenue, and in the medium-term generate an estimated $30-billion in additional business investment and 100,000 new jobs, says one of the country’s leading tax and fiscal policy experts in an analysis released Tuesday.


      I really wish economists would stay out of politics – especially those that have never worked anywhere but in academia.

  4. My impression is that the jobs being created are of the “McJob” variety, and not the kind of job that can support a family or (in numbers) a community.  Is this impression incorrect?  My impression is largely informed by the MSM, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s incorrect. :)

  5. “Pundits and politicians are calling on the government to “do something” about the state of the Canadian labour market; these calls are presumably based on a perception that job growth is still weak.”

    Virginia Postrel ~ Search For Tomorrow:

    Stasist social criticism—which is to say essentially all current social criticism—brings up the specifics of life only to sneer at or bash them. Critics assume that readers will share their attitudes and will see contemporary life as a problem demanding immediate action by the powerful and wise.

    This relentlessly hostile view of how we live, and how we may come to live, is distorted and dangerous. It overvalues the tastes of an articulate elite, compares the real world of trade-offs to fantasies of utopia, omits important details and connections, and confuses temporary growing pains with permanent catastrophes. It demoralizes and devalues the creative minds on whom our future depends. And it encourages the coercive use of political power to wipe out choice, forbid experimentation, shortcircuit feedback, and trammel progress.

    Wall St Journal ~ Believing Brain:

    “Beliefs come first; reasons second. That’s the insightful message of “The Believing Brain,” by Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine …. 

    In addition, as evolved social creatures, we have brains that are attuned to trying to discern the intentions of others—and we look for patterns, there, too, and then try to infuse them with human intention and meaning, or what Mr. Shermer calls “agenticity.” 

    Patterns in life are variously ascribed to the work of ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers and federal conspirators. “Even belief that the government can impose top-down measures to rescue the economy is a form of agenticity,” the author says.”

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