Ed Driscoll

Joe Biden's 'Permanent Jobs'

Duffman says a lot of things, oh yeah!

It was the kind of speech politicians make every day at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. It was Sept. 04, 2009, and Vice President Biden was doing the honors via a video chat for one of those cool new green companies being touted as the engine of modern job creation — Solyndra.

Here’s what Biden had to say: “Once your facility opens, there will be about 1,000 permanent new jobs here at Solyndra and in the surrounding business community, and hundreds more to install your solar panels around this country. It’s important. It’s important because these are permanent jobs.”

“Permanent jobs”? By this, Biden probably meant that these weren’t intentionally temporary jobs — they weren’t seasonal work, or freelance projects. At some level, he no doubt realized that no job in the private sector is guaranteed to be permanent.But if Biden did realize this, it obviously wasn’t toward the front of his mind. And while he’s known for his verbal slipups, he emphasized the “permanent jobs” point a second time. The fact that he did not choose his words more carefully is a window into the mind of Joe Biden, and a clue as to how he thinks about jobs and the economy.

But it is also a window into the mind of a political and academic class that has far too little real-life experience in the private sector. And far too little experience with real-life job creation — and job destruction.

It is a window into the mind of someone who has never worried that his job might not be around one day because his employer lost out to a competitor. Or a shift in the economy. Or a change in consumer taste. Or a breakthrough in technology.

It is a window into the mind of someone who knows far too many people who actually have permanent jobs.

Indeed, it is reflective of life in Governmentland, where jobs are permanent, benefits are a given, and pensions are subsidized by total strangers.

Or as Ross Douthat recently noted:

The public-sector workplace has become a kind of artificial Eden, whose fortunate inhabitants enjoy solid pay and 1950s-style job security and retirement benefits, all of it paid for by their less-fortunate private-sector peers. Some on the left have convinced themselves that this “success” can lay the foundation for a broader middle-class revival. But if a bloated public sector were the blueprint for a thriving middle-class society, then the whole world would be beating a path to Greece’s door.

Our entitlement system, meanwhile, is designed to redistribute wealth. But this redistribution doesn’t go from the idle rich to the working poor; it goes from young to old, working-age savings to retiree consumption, middle-class parents to empty-nest seniors. . . . Then there’s the public education system, theoretically the nation’s most important socioeconomic equalizer. Yet even though government spending on K-to-12 education has more than doubled since the 1970s, test scores have flatlined and the United States has fallen behind its developed-world rivals. Meanwhile, federal spending on higher education has been undercut by steadily inflating tuitions, in what increasingly looks like an academic answer to the housing bubble. (If the Occupy Wall Street dream of student loan forgiveness were fulfilled, this cycle would probably just continue.)

The story of the last three decades, in other words, is not the story of a benevolent government starved of funds by selfish rich people and fanatical Republicans. It’s a story of a public sector that has consistently done less with more, and a liberalism that has often defended the interests of narrow constituencies — public-employee unions, affluent seniors, the education bureaucracy — rather than the broader middle class.

Which is the world that Joe and his nominal boss have marinated in for their entire adult lives.

More more here.