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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

 
"I know about job creation because I sign both sides of the check."

by David Atkins

So, some young Republican insurance executive has decided to throw his hat into the ring for California's 44th Assembly district here in Ventura County. I don't normally talk about my local races here on this national issues blog, but I couldn't help sharing just one quote here:

I know about job creation because I sign both sides of the check,” de la Piedra said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “California is still pushing job-creators out of the state."
This catechism that people who own businesses are "job creators" is simultaneously one of the dumbest and most harmful pieces of sophistry the Right has produced in the last decade.

Signing both sides of a check doesn't make someone a "job creator." As a small business owner myself, I sign both sides of the check, too. So does Warren Buffett. None of us are "job creators."

Customers are the only "job creators." Working class and middle class American either have enough money to make it worth it for business to hire employees, or they don't.

Where do customers come from? Well, they come from a lot of places. Some of them are employed by the private sector. Some, like military personnel or teachers, are employed by the public sector. Some are on Social Security.

Some businesses make little profit, but employ lots of people. Some businesses like WhatsApp, are worth $19 billion, but only employ 56 people. Some businesses help create jobs. Some businesses like Amazon destroy them.

What's most important is making sure there's a solid middle class with good education, stability and infrastructure.

When there's too much redistribution (as in Soviet-style Communism) there's not enough incentive for innovation or room for growth. This much is known to the Right.

But it also works the other way. When there's too much inequality--partly because business has gotten very good at figuring out how to make tons of money for owners and executives while employing fewer and fewer people or lower and lower wages--there's not enough money to go around and fewer customers.

Right now companies are making record profits on record stock prices, but unemployment is high and wages are low. Businesses are doing very well, partly by employing fewer people, cheaper. Businesses only create as few jobs as they can possibly get away with.

When that happens, we need to change the rules of the market to make sure that we put in stronger incentives for executives to employ people for higher wages--and if they won't or can't do that, then redistribute some of the record amount of money going to the very, very top so that it flows back to the bottom and the middle.

A billionaire can only buy so many socks, shirts, cars and pillows. If you're a shirt maker, it doesn't help you for billionaires to make more and more money. It helps you, rather, if the teacher, firefighter and unemployed/underemployed person down the street have more money to buy shirts. Then maybe you as a shirt maker can expand and hire more people.

This stuff isn't that hard to figure out. It's a damn shame the Left has been so passive about letting the Right get away with the "job creator" lie for so long.


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