Wednesday May 30, 2012
The Myth of Job Creators
Confession. I often imagine myself on cable news shows wrangling out the issues of the day. Probably because that's where we often see the issues of the day being wrangled out.
The dialogue I've had in my head for the past year goes something like this:
FOX News Blowhard: BLAH BLAH BLAH 1%. BLACK BLAH BLAH job creators.
Me: Excuse me? What did you just call them?
FNB: Job creators. That's what they--
Me: What's the goal of a CEO or corporation?
FNB: To create jobs.
Me: It's to create profit. You know that. So does everyone out there. That's what capitalism is all about. That's Business 101, isn't it? I ask because I've never taken Business 101.
FNB: Yes, but when you create profit, you create jobs. Pinhead.
Me: Not necessarily. If to create profit, a CEO has to elminate jobs, or ship them overseas, he'll do that. In a heartbeat. That's part of what's been going on for the last 30 years. So why do you call them job creators?
FNB: BLAH BLAH socialism BLAH BLAH Obama BLAH BLAH Jimmy Carter.
Me: You call them 'job creators' because it's politically expedient to do so in a time of high unemployment. But it's a lie. You know it's a lie. And so does everyone watching.
I know. For some reason in my fantasy appearance on FOX News I sound like Bob Dole.
It's sad that this is still a talking point for all the blowhards out there. It's such a talking point that when venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, Seattle's own, gave one of those TED talks on the myth of job creators, the people behind TED felt it too divisive, too immediately political, to actually post on their site. They didn't feel it was worthy of all of the other TED talks about BLAH BLAH BLAH. And in this manner they stumbled right into controversy.
Hanauer's talk has since been uploaded to YouTube. Here it is:
He takes the businessman's stance on the matter, which is deeper and infiinitely more knowledgable than mine. He argues that the way things are is the opposite of the way they've been presented.
They've been presented this way: If taxes on the wealthy go up, job creation goes down.
He argues that job creation actually stems from consumer demand; and consumer demand stems from a rising middle class; and for the past 30 years our middle class has been falling—in part because tax policies favor the wealthy and place a greater burden on what was once our proud middle class.
This may be the talk that TED didn't want, but it's the talk the US needs.