Love those ol’ cliches

I love cliches. I don’t really know why but I am always using them and on the look out for new ones. You know: He who laughs last, laughs best; Looking for a needle in a haystack; Put your foot in your mouth; Get your foot in the door, etc.

A personal favourite of mine is “government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector creates jobs”. I came across this one in an economic development strategic plan that I read this morning. It was actually quite full of cliches, I guess the consultant was paid per quip.

Anyway, I paticularly like this cliche because most of us say without even thinking. Even in the old days when I was out recruiting business to move here I would find myself making such comments.

The government sector in Canada represents one fourth of the entire economy (around 24% of GDP give or take). In places like New Brunswick, the government sector is even larger. As I have pointed out before, the vast majority of net new jobs created in this province over the past 7-8 years have been in public sector roles such as health care and education.

But beyond just the tens of thousands of government and public sector workers in New Brunswick (around 90,000 persons paid by the taxpayer out of a total employed workforce of around 350,000), the government also subsidizes various industries to create jobs. Think LNG, think call centres, think agriculture. Then there is the money governments put into research and development and other activities that ‘create jobs’ so to speak.

So, in a place like New Brunswick, you’d be almost better off with a new cliche: “the private sector doesn’t create jobs, government creates jobs”.

But, that just doesn’t have a nice ring to it, does it? Plus, our friends at the CFIB and AIMS would hyperventilate just looking at that particular string of vowels, consonants and spaces put together side-by-side.

So, let’s go on using our time honed cliche. Just don’t actually look at any numbers or anything.