Epstein Criticizes Obama's Jobs Bill

Obama’s Jobs Bill: Read It and Weep
Richard A. Epstein
Defining Ideas
September 27, 2011

The dim news about the current economic situation has prompted the Obama administration to put forward its latest, desperate effort to reverse the tide by urging passage of The American Jobs Act (AJA), a turgid 155-page bill. The AJA’s only certain effect is to make everything worse than it already is by asking Congress to tighten the stranglehold that government regulation has already placed on the economy.

That sad fact would certainly elude anyone who accepted the president’s justification for the AJA when he sent the bill to Congress. This bill, he said, will "put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And it will do so without adding a dime to the deficit." How? Why, by closing "corporate tax loopholes" and insisting that the wealthiest American’s pay their "fair share" of taxes.

What is so striking about Obama’s shopworn rhetoric is its juvenile intellectual quality. His explanation for how the AJA will create jobs is a non-starter because he does not explain how we get from here to there. As in so many other cases, the president thinks that waving a wand over a problem will make his most ardent wishes come true, even when similar earlier efforts have proved to be dismal failures. This dreadful hodgepodge of a bill will likely be dead-on-arrival in Congress, but it remains a patriotic duty to explicate some of its worst