‘Creating Jobs’

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by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

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Both candidates for the consulship of America entreated the electorate with fulsome promises that “jobs would be created” by them once (s)elected. This goes unremarked – or worse, openly cheered. Yet when did it become the function of the president of the United States to “create jobs”? I have read (and re-read) the Constitution – and can find no such language therein.

Instead, I found this:

The constitutional role of the president is to “”take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” To sign (or veto) legislation passed by the Congress.

He has authority to appoint cabinet members and ambassadors; to nominate candidates for federal judgeships. He has a ceremonial role as head of state. He is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but has no power to declare war or raise armies to fight them. He may grant pardons.

He does not write laws – much less “create jobs.” Such is not within his purvue (magical abilities notwithstanding).

He is, constitutionally speaking, an administrator – not a lawgiver. Not, in other words, a consul. Or a magician.

Well, he is not supposed to be.

And yet, he is.

Worse, he is expected to be.

To be (s)elected, he cannot be otherwise.

The people – the broad masses – want him to “create jobs.” They expect this; demand it. They regard it as his primary function. They want him, in other words, to be a sort of paterfamilias who miraculously provides things for them. Who more or less wishes these things into existence – hey! presto!

Make it so. And gibs me dat.

Fans of the old Gilligan’s Island TV show may remember the “Little Dictator” episode. El Presidente Pancho Hernando Gonzales Enrico Rodriguez of the banana republic Ecuarico is marooned on the island. He convinces Gilligan to become his puppet. There is a hilarious scene that has Gilligan standing on a balcony overlooking a vast, seething crowd of gibs-me-dats. And so tells tells them: I give you This, That and The Other Thing.

Cue wild cheers. This was funny in 1966. It is not so funny today.

Gilligan would make a perfect candidate for el presidente of modern America.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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