I've been wanting to post something on the political battle around "job creation" - the notion that creating jobs is something that corporate CEOs are supposed to do, and a skill that candidates are supposed to bring with them from the private sector when they aspire to public office. But I'm not an economist - so, here's The Economist:
Mr Obama, as noted above, likes to insinuate that there is a conflict between pursuing profits and creating jobs. In the long run, however, in a competitive economy, that is nonsense. Only profitable firms can sustain any jobs, and the more profitable they are, the more money they have to invest in new ventures with new workers. Mr Obama is guilty not of rhetorical excess but of economic muddle.
That's Lexington, on page 42 of the June 2 print edition. And that's the thing - it is not the CEO's job to "create jobs". It is the CEO's job to create business, and jobs are a byproduct of a successful business. If the Acme Widget Company has a hundred widget makers on the payroll to do the work of twenty, the result is likely to be an overpriced widget. There are a bunch of guys sitting around the widget factory drinking coffee and reading magazines while they're drawing paychecks from Acme. I'll probably buy my widgets from Brand X instead, where I'll get a better value. Sooner or later, the laws or market economics will catch up with Acme and they'll go broke, but that's not my problem. In any case, I certainly would not vote for the CEO of Acme; I'd vote for the guy who hires as many people as he needs, no more and no less, and doesn't waste my money.