September 16th, 2009

Governor’s Jobs Claim is a Poor Start

The following is an op-ed I wrote that was published in the Daily Herald today:

It seems that for Utah’s governors, “fiscal conservatism” is little more than a campaign sound byte to be discarded upon assuming office. Governor Herbert, it would appear, is not off to a very good start.

During his remarks after being sworn in, Herbert affirmed that he would be a fiscal conservative. Only a few short weeks later, though, he went ahead and approved a second round of the Home Run Program, which uses federal stimulus money to incentivize people to buy new homes. So much for fiscal conservatism—distorting the market through government incentives is hardly what one does to accurately merit the label.

To make matters worse, Herbert used an economically fallacious phrase in justifying his decision. A recent Salt Lake Tribune article states that Governor Herbert is predicting that the stimulus program “could save or create 9,000 jobs in Utah”. “Save or create”? Who’s he kidding?

It just so happens that President Obama has used the same exact phrase when trying to solicit support for his “economic recovery package”. While the economic promises of President Obama and Governor Herbert are easily challenged when looking at job creation data, the data for how many jobs are being saved conveniently does not—and cannot—exist. Job creation is something that is easily quantifiable, but determining how many jobs were “saved” is a magician’s act that only sleight of hand and deceitful trickery can conjure up.

But maybe this isn’t about saving and creating jobs. Perhaps it’s about benefiting a few people at the public’s expense. (A shocking accusation when considering the combination of government and large sums of money, I know.)

The same Tribune article notes that the governor received $25,000 from the Utah Association of Realtors last month (where Herbert used to be the president), and $30,000 from the biggest construction-supply company in the state. In light of such information, it’s little surprise that Herbert has abandoned his alleged frugality with our money in favor of inflating Utah’s housing market.

The Governor may or may not be actually saving certain jobs, but if he is, he’s helping out his former colleagues and friends. I believe the governor should pay attention to a few of the valid arguments true fiscal conservatives have been making.

First, the money has to come from somewhere. Through the force of government, we are all being burdened with debt so that businesses who have the Governor’s attention can make a profit. Second, government is not and never has been a wise money manager. Helping builders clear inventory does not make for good government, to say nothing of fiscal conservatism.

Finally, the reality few will admit is that spending is what created our current problems. Contrary to popular belief, more spending is not a remedy. The inflationary policies of the federal government, enabled by the Federal Reserve, have increased America’s use of its already maxed-out credit card. Repeating the mistakes of the past will not make for a better future. Furthermore, Utah’s acceptance and use of federal funds further increases our dependency upon and regulation by the federal government.

The Home Run Program will perhaps create some jobs, and may even save a few—but at what expense? Utah’s economy would be better served by sending the federal stimulus money back to Washington, rather than into the balance sheets of a few well-connected businesses. If Governor Herbert dared to take such action (as a real fiscal conservative would), perhaps he might save his own job.

8 Responses to “Governor’s Jobs Claim is a Poor Start”

  1. mark
    September 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Tread carefully Connor. It appears that you are biting the hand that feeds you. We do have freedom of speech in my state but I dont think you have it in Utah. Any thing you say can and will be used against you.

  2. Connor
    September 16, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    Mark, are you trying to set a record for how many nonsensical sentences can be crammed in a comment?

  3. rachel
    September 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    I didn’t even hear about this, so thanks from me for bringing it to light. I had almost relaxed–so glad to be rid of Mr. Huntsman Jr. and thinking finally we had someone on the right track to govern the state. I am shaking my head in disappointment. I agree that it would be a triumphant day if our state said “No” to federal bailout money.

  4. Clumpy
    September 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Uh. . . there’s a statistically insignificant, healthy but ignored libertarian/constitutionalist population in Utah, just like anywhere else, Mark. And, just like all political discourse, their stuff seems to attract mostly aloof trolls (such as yourself) and choir members.

    I wonder how many times we’ll be fooled into electing people with corporate connections who pay lip service to corporate independence. These people only get riled up about financial responsibility when they’re standing in front of a pulpit, and we fall for it every time. All of these dyslexic 9/12 protesters are just going to expand this effect, and encourage partisan bickering and ignorance over real, held beliefs.

  5. Jimmy
    September 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm #


    Your comment shows your:

    a) cowardice- being silent out of fear of what government may or may not do for you is precisely the opposite of what we should all do. We should all stand for truth and right regardless of the consequences. Only a coward would advise messengers of truth to “tread carefully”.

    b) foolishness- you assume that Connor is dependent on the state when you say that he’s biting the hand that feeds him. If the principles of his posts don’t already give you any indication that he’s not dependent on government you’ll learn a lot by reading up! He’s not some helpless beggar waiting for the state to give him everything. He’s attempting to do everyone a favor by smacking the hand that’s robbing him (and us).

    c) ignorance- your ‘freedom of speech’ line doesn’t even deserve a remark.

  6. Connor
    October 18, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    And the incestuous money laundering continues… This SLTrib article mentions the $50,000 that the Utah Association of Realtors has donated to Herbert’s PAC:

    The list of Herbert’s $50,000 donors includes familiar names and first-timers: Merit Medical, Wadsworth Brothers Construction and, jointly, Deseret Power and Utah Rural Electric PAC.

    It also includes a check from the Utah Association of Realtors, a group that consistently has been a leading backer of Herbert, who was the association’s president.

  7. Rebekah Whyte
    January 25, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    I am so glad there are people in Utah paying attention. Utah is lost to constitutional principles. It is a relief to find other like minded individuals that are not sold on the idea of supporting Gov. Herbert.


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