Is McCain Really Saying eBay Will Save The Economy?
from the not-quite... dept
First off, before we get into the details here, I’ll state upfront that I have not yet decided who to support in this year’s Presidential election. I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I’ve seen plans from both sides that I find problematic. Still, it bugs me when I see plans from either side mischaracterized, and I believe that’s the case with this somewhat mocking criticism of McCain’s “jobs plan” as being “the eBay model” (sent in by reader Rose M. Welch). At issue, is the fact that McCain has repeatedly referred to the 1.3 million people around the globe who “make a living off EBay.”
As the article notes, the figure is clearly exaggerated. However, many of the other criticisms of what McCain says seems misguided. It seems like a stretch for anyone to think that McCain is suggesting that people will find jobs selling on eBay. Rather, he’s using the example of eBay to note that innovation leads to new ways for people to make money — using the rise of the ecosystem around eBay as an example — not as the definitive method for creating jobs. And, on that, he’s correct. Continued innovation does tend to lead to job growth.
The second part of the criticism that seems incredibly unfounded, is the assertion by a few economists that eBay is just a business model for moving junk around, and that it doesn’t add anything to the GDP. This is simply incorrect, and it’s really strange that prominent economists would make such an assertion. eBay is about making an efficient market. Plenty of people use it to sell new products, rather than just “junk.” And, many of the people who use eBay to “make a living” do so by adding value to products which they then resell. That does add to GDP. eBay is about a lot more than just moving around junk. In fact, a rather large percentage of our GDP is based on taking already built goods, adding value to them and reselling them. To pretend this doesn’t happen on eBay is simply incorrect.
Now, before anyone thinks that this means I support McCain’s economic positions, I don’t. I think his continued disdain for basic economics, and his seeming assumption that economics can be handled by someone else is problematic. And, of course, his proposed gas tax holiday is just downright nutty.