Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Job Creators The monthly jobs report is out again, and the picture is not entirely rosy. Private sector employment is at least gaining jobs instead of losing them, but with only 80,000 jobs added , and an unemployment rate remaining at 8.2%, the thorns are getting in the way of the roses. There are signs of progress, but there are continued signs of economic sluggishness, due in part to the uncertain European financial situation. So, the Economic forecast sounds like an Irish weather report... "Showers, with sunny spells. " . Job growth is occurring, but the pace is painfully slow. So, what to do, what to do? How do we insure steady job creation? How do we pull ourselves out of the ditch we landed in after the excesses of the last decade? Politically speaking, two roads are diverging in the wood here, and which path we choose to travel down in the next four years will indeed make all the difference. We can choose trickle down, or trickle up. Or, blend the two and choose trickle both ways. But to assume that tax cuts alone for the wealthiest among us will insure prosperity for the vast middle class is a presumption that is based more on hooey than hard facts. As the words of the song from the musical “Cabaret” go, “Money makes the world go ‘round.”. We all know that. But, the fact that you may have lots of money does not automatically make you a "Job Creator". Some people with lots of money do in fact create jobs, that is true, but it is more due to their entrepreneurial spirit and sense of adventure, and taking of risks, that jobs are produced, as opposed to what tax rate they may be paying or not paying. And on the issue of whether this should be a topic of political discussion, a frank discussion about what Private Equity firms like Bain Capital do, and do not do, is not an anti-capitalist, anti American spirit debate, and anyone who would characterize it as such is seriously misguided. Money is actually a big deal, and there are some who have money who merely hoard it, like Scrooge McDuck, and wallow in the benefits money can bring. There is no automatic job creator factor attached to wealth, as people like Frank Lutz, the Republican word strategist would have you believe. Substituting the term "Job Creator" every time you want to say" rich person" not only fails to shrink the economic divide in this country, it furthers a myth that can only serve the interests of the money hoarders and the excessively greedy. Wouldn't it be lovely if those in the "have" category adopted as their mantra, "I've got mine, how can I help you get yours?", instead of, "I've got mine, to hell with you, and stop trying to climb aboard my boat or I'll stomp on your fingers as you climb up that rope ladder". Protecting the rights of the rich to get richer is part of the American psyche., just as much as insuring the rights of the poor to get progressively poorer. We all believe that one day, we too could win the lottery, or become Queen for a day on one of those daytime TV shows. As the advertisement for the NY Lottery says, "Hey...you never know...a dollar and a dream!" and who among us would want to pay 30% of their lottery winnings to the government? But who do you see in the convenience store lining up for lottery tickets? Surely, it is not where the affluent "Job creators" among us go. Who do you see at the plethora of casinos that have sprung like mushrooms all over the country? It's not that rich guy Thurston Howell III ,and his wife, from Gilligan's island, as much as it is grandmothers on Social Security and people with various disabilities, often smoking up a storm on their way to hitting the big jackpot. Hey, we all have to dream! But to not engage in a discussion about what works and what doesn't in a capitalist society, and how to prevent excesses at the margin, and wild speculative risk taking by money managers who then run to the government to be bailed out of the pitfalls of their own misguided financial judgments would be foolhardy indeed. It is a conversation we need to have. So let’s talk. As for the disappointing jobs report, there are four more monthly reports to come before the election. And , as Mitt Romney once said, "It takes a while to turn things around". Hope springs eternal. Seating the sunny spots amid the showers.