The National Pulse

Is the Government Keeping Americans from Their Dream Jobs?

Recently the House Freedom Caucus succeeded in torpedoing a vote on Congress’ latest farm bill. While some believe that passage of this legislation was necessary to help American agriculture, an eye-opening new book by John Tamny, Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks, reveals how government spending programs not only harm taxpayers, but also make it harder for you to get your dream job.

Tamny’s enlightening new book The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job, describes how the nature of work has changed immensely over the last century. Tamny writes, “A hundred and fifty years ago, half of all Americans toiled on a farm,” but thanks to rising prosperity and technological innovation, American jobs are getting better. The book’s main argument is that, in the future, work as we know it will end because people won’t dread waking up on Monday — instead, they will be excited to enter a job they love.

To illustrate this point, Tamny discusses an array of different (and well-paying) professions which serve as evidence that Americans can obtain careers uniquely tailored to their interests and skill sets. These once-unfathomable dream jobs are increasingly becoming the norm. For example, if you enjoy wine, you can make a good living as a sommelier. For caffeine addicts, there are now “coffee directors” who personally prepare “twenty-four-dollar cups of coffee” for customer tables. Video game enthusiasts can fine gainful employment as a video game coach. And for pet lovers, it is possible for a New York City dog walker to earn wages in excess of $100,000; and there is a growing market for canine diet and weight loss consultants.

Not only does The End of Work say that your passion can be your job — more importantly, the book makes the case that it should be. As Tamny writes in his first chapter, “Why College Football Players Should Major in College Football,” while not every college athlete will make it to the NFL, there are a number of well-paying football-related occupations awaiting those who don’t play professionally. Lucrative salaries can be found in high school and collegiate coaching, scouting, and sports commentating (not to mention other potential jobs such as sports agents or sports marketing). For these reasons, if you are a college football player, Tamny believes majoring in your sport is a “no brainer.”

Additionally, Tamny argues that following one’s passions will tremendously accelerate economic growth. This point is demonstrated by “Tamny’s Law” which states that “laziness decreases as prosperity increases, expanding the range of work options so that every person can do the work that most accentuates his individual talents.” To summarize what Tamny’s book makes clear, an economy that employs people in the way that best showcases their unique skill set is a booming one.

So what is holding back a rapid acceleration of even more work geared to our individual skill sets? Tamny’s book makes the case that government spending is largely to blame. Tamny writes:

In 2014 alone, the federal government awarded more than $445 billion in contracts to private sector suppliers. While government can theoretically ‘print’ dollars to spend, those dollars have purchasing power only to the extent that they’re backed by the productivity of you and me. That is to say, the federal government could spend that $445 billion in 2014 only because the American people had 445 billion fewer dollars to spend that year.

Now, you may have a generally favorable or unfavorable view of government spending…but the point I want to make here is that government spending blunts the expression of consumers’ desires. We get up and go to work each day so we can exchange the fruits of our labor for what we desire but don’t have. Our purchasing is a message to the market about those desires. Government spending necessarily diminishes that message…If government spends and taxes less, venture buyers will inform entrepreneurs of what works, preparing the transformation of obscure luxuries into common goods…If politicians were to spend and tax substantially less, the future of work would be bright.

The recently defeated farm bill is one of countless examples of government draining private sector resources, while simultaneously blunting consumers’ desires. Tamny’s book makes an interesting argument that if more of this money remained in the private sector, it could be used to propel us into the dream jobs of the future. The End of Work gives us optimism for what the future of work could look like — as long as we can keep the government from spending it away.

Now that I have learned that my passion can be my dream job, it’s time to give this column a rest and figure out how to make a living eating pizza and drinking beer.

Photo credit: Amtec Staffing via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Jonathan Decker

Jonathan Decker is the Chief Economic Correspondent for TheNationalPulse.com.