Thursday, December 08, 2011


Political Mayhem Thursday II: Job Creators/Job Destroyers

The Republican push these days to describe wealthy people and corporations as "job creators" is really starting to bug me.

Of course some wealthy people create jobs. I understand that. Some corporations do, too. I'm all for that.

But labelling all rich people and corporations as job creators makes less sense than calling the federal government the "Amazing Job Generator." (After all, the federal government is good at creating jobs... something I join with conservatives in criticizing).

The bare fact is that many wealthy people and corporations are actually job destroyers-- they have consciously chosen to cut back payrolls and shift jobs from the United States to places overseas.

I have no problem with calling some people and companies "job creators." In fact, if a company chooses to keep or shift production and jobs to the United States, I say we honor them publicly and make that an official title. But, at the same time, we should identify other rich people (via their investments) and corporations-- those who have cut their payroll in the United States-- as "job destroyers."

Why won't Republicans go for that? You tell me...

The other fun nugget to look at is what percentage of so-called "job creators" would be affected by a surcharge to pay for extension of payroll tax cuts. The dem proposal is that the surcharge would apply to companies making over $1 million per year...which is about 1% of all "job creators" (and I would guess the sub-$1 million companies are less likely to export jobs than the over-$1 million companies).
What's in a name? A great deal. And it goes way back: Federalists versus Anti-Federalists; Pro Choice versus Pro Life; Global Warmists verus Climate Deniers; and, perhaps a more apt analogy: Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?
Rockers v. Mods
Greasers v. Socs
Punks v. Skinheads
There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those that understand binary and those who don't.
I suspect the Republicans grilling Jon Corzine today would disagree with your premise...
All wealthy people may not be job creators but they and corporations are the ones who do create jobs. What bugs me is that if the libs taxed 100% of all the income from "rich" people and corporations, it wouldn't make a dent in the national deficit or debt. Therefore this is not a fiscal debate as the libs claim but a redistribution scheme. Thus they are willing to destroy people's lives to push a social agenda.
I really don't think that increasing marginal tax rates from 36% to 39.6% is really going to "ruin" anyone's life.
I couldn't agree more. We need to get away from crude propaganda and shine the light of truth. The "us versus them" mentality is killing us as a nation.
So rich CEOs who have shifted jobs overseas... they don't eat at nice restaurants, use dry cleaners, get their pools cleaned, buy and maintain cars, buy furniture, pay for tax help and legal advice, add extensions on their houses, etc?

There are countless people whose employment depends on corporations hiring them. But there are also countless people whose employment depends on people with a lot of disposable income spending in on their services.

Calling all of the rich "job creators" may not be entirely fair, but it is certainly more fair than the faux-populist demonization they are subjected to at the hands of the current president.
Anon 12:37AM, what if one's qualifications are not in the business of cleaning anything for or after these poor, beleaguered CEOs? What if servicing their cars and building another hectare of useless property is still not one's life purpose? What if one is a teacher in a school that has to close or a nurse in a hospital that is not profitable and has to shut down (never got those two... closing schools and hospitals in a supposedly civilized country). What if one is a scientist in a research lab that lost funds, not because of bad science, but because of bad economy? And what if none of these people want to requalify at cleaning rich CEOs pools or dirty laundry?
Anon. 12:37--

I don't buy it. If the highest utility of those you speak of is that they consume things... well, what else are they going to do? I suppose they could save the money, but then it would be "invested," right?

Also, I'm still really tired of the cowardice of anonymous commenters like you.
I agree with Waco Farmer, the naming of opposite positions with a view to dissing the opposition goes way back. As does the 'class warfare' concept - Robber Barons or Captains of Industry being an apt analogy.

I do wonder, though, how $250,000 a year is 'rich', when it barely covers taxes, mortgage, tuition for children at colleges and grad schools, and saving for retirement. Not a very lavish lifestyle as I and many of my associates can attest!


To begin, I was not the anonymous commenter above...I have displayed cowardice plenty of times, but I will claim this:

For one thing, we need to more accurately define our terms: are we using “rich” to describe the top .01 percent, and further narrowing the category to include only Wall Street CEO’s who took advantage of golden parachutes? Or are we defining “rich” (as the Obama administration has generally done) at around $250K combined family income?

The difference is vital, because while the $250K crowd is likely to utilize the service sector (contributing to job growth), they are not jetting off to their Mediterranean villas. When the economy goes bad, they cut back like everyone else and they worry about their financial security. In my view, understanding this distinction helps us to speak more directly to the problem.

Marta, I am afraid that you may be engaging in the same sort of rhetorical game that right-wingers do when they cast the “job creator” net so broadly. Those, like myself, who basically accept the core tenets of capitalism understand that economic production often requires what has been euphemistically called, “creative destruction.” In other words, sometimes when an old, outmoded hospital is unprofitable and forced to close, the opportunity exists for a new, larger hospital to open which will employ more doctors and nurses than its predecessor. Of course, this presumes demand for healthcare, but that discussion goes well beyond the question of whether or not the rich are job creators.

Osler, don’t forget that personal consumption represents roughly 70 percent of US GDP. All sorts of economic nuance go into this claim, but it is basically true that consumption by the rich and the middle class is essential to our economic health. That being said, the social value of a person is not limited to his/her economic contribution (though such a contribution can be a factor). And the rich do lots of other things, sometimes including charitable work and job creation.

I agree that not all rich are job creators just like I believe that not all teachers teach well (I have certainly had some of those), that not all nurses heal, and that neither corporations nor the public ought to support every possible research venture. Further, I think that we ought to do everything within our power to eradicate special tax exemptions and deductions that apply only to the ultra-wealthy. Doing just that would raise more revenue than any surcharge currently under consideration. The problem here is that that the rich have leverage over politicians. Personally, I don’t blame the rich for possessing that leverage—I don’t think they’re evil and, in general, I don’t think they got their money by screwing the little guy. I blame the politicians for bowing to it (this is not Dem v. Rep, this is universal) and the electorate for not demanding better.
The experiment with trickle down economics has failed again. The tax cuts for the richest has not provided jobs. The wealth we are talking about are mainly capital gains often shifting money from tax payers to the wealthy who are better able to avoid taxes.
Fear of a return to progressive rates has created the false labeling of the ultra wealthy as "job creators". Now Boatman suggests that social justice will destroy the lives of the ultra wealthy. Misplaced empathy!
The outpouring of compassion for our wealthiest and most powerful citizens is interesting. It confirms that we are more fearful of what the Government will do if we become rich than we are fearful no one will be there for us when we stumble.
The class war has been going on for some time. There's nothing wrong with standing up and taking sides. This issue will divide and define our country.
Cowardly anonymous father
Dad! I know that's you...
CTL if you read my comment closely you’d see my net was not so broadly cast, as I asked specific questions to specific jobs anon 12:37 suggested CEOs who have shifted jobs overseas create here at home. As for my coming off as a rhetorical right-winger , there is nothing rhetorical about closings of schools in East New York or hospitals on Staten Island when no new, shiny replacements are offered. If you ask basic science people C.Elegans and Drosophila Melanogaster are more than well worth studying to understand basic phenomena, but there is nothing rhetorical about cancer research “ventures” that try to decipher the most elusive and deeply personal pathways under which cancer operates. And by the way, people that have to scramble to find a new job when the (not fruit fly) lab closed make at best $50K a year and would take a cut to $40K anytime. Just don’t ask them to wash rich people’s (and for them, $250K qualifies as “rich") dirty laundry, because I bet you they won’t. Not even for $90k a year.
And believe me I do get all that argument that capitalism is so successful an economic system because it allows for loss and that the possibility of failure creates the opportunity for triumph, but I haven’t seen that much in action lately. Not with all the bailout nonsense, not to mention total unaccountability for those who tanked this so wonderful system.
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