With all the pandering about "creating jobs," maybe this is what President Obama and Governor Romney have in mind.
Monday through Saturday, uninvited messengers show up at households all across America and drop off unsolicited catalogues, credit card come-ons and other paper equivalents of spam e-mail. Americans get 84 billion pieces of this stuff every year — the vast majority of which they dump, unread, in the nearest trash can or recycling bin.
If homeowners are merely annoyed, local governments are furious; it costs them $1 billion per year to collect and dispose of the waste, according to a recent New York Times report.
Furious? This is a perfect Keyneian jobs program. We hire workers to deliver stuff we don't want and consequently throw away, which is hauled away by a new set of workers. What's not to love? Of course, no one would argue that any real value is created by this process.
Politicians do not create jobs; jobs are a byproduct of creating value for others. When entrepreneurs and other investors take risks and innovate in order to create value for others, they often employ unused and underutilized labor to bring about their objectives, therefore improving the well-being of both its customers and its workers. Even the government can do this when it provide services valued by taxpayers more than any other use of their time and money. Anything other than that is wasting resources.
If Romney and/or Obama really want to do something that results in the hiring of unemployed and underemployed workers, there are plenty of legitimate things they can do - such as deregulation and revamping patent and copyright protections that impede competition and risk-taking - it's just that voters are not likely to respond affirmatively to most measures they should take.
UPDATE: Edited for clarity.