The headline on CNN.com said it all: “Big Oil’s promise: Let us drill, we’ll hire 1.4 million workers.” The article goes on to say:
With job creation taking center stage in American politics, the oil industry Wednesday made a pitch for drilling more widely. With looser restrictions, the industry says it could deliver 1.4 million new jobs, boost tax rolls by $800 billion, and increase domestic energy production almost 50%.
I have no idea whether those numbers are accurate, and that is really irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that major companies are begging for permission to operate.
Every politician from Barack Obama to Rick Perry is talking about his plan to create jobs. Yet, the fact is, politicians do not create jobs. Sure, Obama may keep a lot of construction workers busy building roads and bridges, but every dollar paid to them is taken from private individuals and businesses. Every dollar spent by government is one less dollar spent by the private sector, which means, less actual production.
Private companies create jobs–actual jobs. And they do so by producing the values that sustain and enhance our lives. That is precisely what Big Oil want to do, if the government will allow it. But rather than assert its moral right to act without the arbitrary obstacles imposed by government, Big Oil is attempting to “bribe” politicians with promises of jobs and tax revenues.
Certainly, creating jobs is important. But job creation is an effect, not a cause. It is the effect of economic freedom, of the right to produce and trade values. Rather than beg for permission to drill and offer jobs as an enticement for politicians to grant that permission, Big Oil should assert its rights. Big Oil should demand that government get out of its way. That alone would be worth cheering.