Where Do Jobs Come From, Mr. President?

President Obama sincerely believes that simply dumping money into a favored industry will create jobs:

Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.

The president has given nearly $20 billion in loan guarantees to alternative-energy startups, and has seen less than four thousand new jobs created as a result. At the same time as the president has been dumping tax money into a giant hole, the much-maligned oil and gas industries have been creating jobs like gangbusters, to the tune of 150,000 new positions in 2011.

Let the free market work, Mr. President, and then you can claim credit for getting out of the way.

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