I heard an odd little snippet of a conversation today on campus.
It happened, as it usually does, when I was walking by the library cafe to get my daily bowl of noodles.
"Well," said one student to the other, "it all sounds nice in theory, but everyone knows the government can't create jobs."
At first, I just disregarded the statement as something I misheard. For instance, a few weeks ago I could have sworn I heard someone say "I'd much rather buy a bag in Paris than some freaky mushroom-thing here in Charlotte." Probably a mistake on my part (I hope).
But this time, I heard that phrase quite clearly. "[E]veryone knows the government can't create jobs."
The implications of this statement are staggering. My first theory was that there was some Law of Conservation of Jobs I didn't know about, which states that for each unemployed person hired by a government, some private firm fires some poor schmuck to balance things out.
But that would be ridiculous.
So the only other option is that if you are paid by the government to do something, you are not actually employed. Think about it! If the government can't create jobs, and the suggestion that jobs are conserved is asinine, what other explanation is there?
This is terrifying. Suddenly, all the grad students I know who are supported on NSF grants are unemployed.
The friendly lady at the DMV? She has no job!
The construction workers I saw replacing the median barrier on the highway? Shiftless, jobless, hobos.
I work for a state university.
Since my job is new, and it is paid for with public funds, and the government cannot create jobs, I myself must be uneployed! Quid pro facto! Ipso nunc ergo!
If you'd like to help me through the stress of my sudden philosophical unemployment, I accept cash, checks, and major credit cards.