Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More money at the top doesn't mean better jobs for the rest of us

One reason Republicans, and their big-money backers, still find support for cutting taxes on millionaires and billionaires is that the super-wealthy have been branded as "job-creators." The problem is that the description doesn't match the reality. Sure, sometimes the big corporations and super-wealthy create jobs. For example, a new Home Depot may be built in a suburban shopping plaza. People can get jobs there (albeit with low-wages and little or no benefits). Dig a little below the surface, however, and the picture is less straightforward. Home Depot is a huge chain with powerful purchasing power. They have used this power to force suppliers into cutting production costs on tools, lamps, lawnmowers and thousands of other items. Many of these suppliers have responded to this pressure by outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries. I can remember a revealing conversation I had with a Home Depot clerk who explained he used to work for the company that made the saw I was examining. "It was nice getting good pay to make a good product. Now I'm making peanuts selling stuff made overseas." So many working people have lost decent jobs that they'll even take crap jobs, often with their hours deliberately limited to fall just shy of receiving benefits. Of course we shouldn't forget that Home Depot won't be re-investing its profits in the local community, unlike the four small, family-owned businesses it will push into bankruptcy.

But what of the individual plutocrat, doesn't his spending stimulate the local economy? Consider the heir of an industrialist fortune, who conspires with Wall Street looters to move production overseas and sell off the family firm's assets for a quick profit. He may move to a tropical island, but even if he decides to maintain a country estate near the old factory town, so what? Are the thousands of people devastated by the collapse of local industry supposed to cheer because Phineas Bigbucks employs a half-dozen domestics to staff his mansion?

In short, creating jobs is something the super wealthy will do if, and only if, it suits their own interests. High unemployment rates mean lower wages, so these "job-creators,' actually have very little interest in creating many jobs. Of course genuine small-business owners (not billionaires) do have an interest in restoring American prosperity. A car-dealer, or furniture store owner, needs gainfully employed customers. Paying a slightly higher rate on the income earned over a quarter-million dollars would not hurt these people in the least. In fact, if anything, this modest raise on profits kept as income could spur people to re-invest more money into new hiring and business development.

The last couple of months has seen an awakening of American good sense. While there are still some who cling to this job-creator myth, many no longer believe that the rich and big corporations seek to promote a wider prosperity. The assault on unions has helped to show working Americans that they now have to join the fight for the survival of a decent standard of living. We, like workers in Tunisia and Egypt, need to continually stand up to power and demand change.


kleindoff3 said...

As long as the lobbyists keep bringing in the money, the Rethugs think they can forget about the middle class. I think they'll be regretting that mistake before long.

Cletis L. Stump said...

Great insight, Ulysses, you are such a talented guy. Here's the one thing the corporate world and their lackeys on the Hill will allow. From my post today. Nothing I have ever read is more telling. Please disseminate this quote to anyone you know. "Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers." Mitch McConnell December 2007 commenting on the deaths of Americans fighting in Iraq.

Ulysses said...

Thanks, Cletis. You did a great job in compiling those truly shocking quotations. It's a shame more Americans aren't willing to put up with a little boredom and watch C-Span now and again. They would soon learn the kind of corporate shills that claim to represent them in Washington.

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