Thursday, August 30, 2012

Job Creators.

Rolling Stone has a piece in their new issue taking on Mitt Romney's bane... well, Bain Capital. The subtitle of the article is not subtle: "How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill".

This got me thinking about one of the Republican Party's great lies of the Obama era... the myth of the mighty, god-like "job creator". This is the #1 (of many) buzzword to protect the rich from any of the "shared sacrifice" we are told that we all have to endure.

The economy is issue #1 for Americans and, while Republicans don't really have any honest plans to fix it, they have mastered how to talk about it (as seen by their cynical 'We Build It' convention this week).

The GOP has been complaining since President Obama took office (but not before) about high unemployment, which is a real issue that I'm not dismissing. So why haven't the mighty 'job creators' been, well, creating jobs? We get a litany of excuses... they need their taxes lowered endlessly, vague 'uncertainty', environmental laws are mean to them, Obamacare, etc (No one was more ridiculous on the latter than the CEO of Papa John's).

We hear the "job creator" line particularly in regards to the coming expiration of the Bush tax cuts (note: Bush & the GOP passed those cuts with the expiration in the law... now they're whining). But those tax cuts aren't a new proposal... they've been in place for over a decade. They're in place now. So where are the jobs? Hidden under the excuses.

The inconvenient truth is that the "job creators"-- or, at the least, the wealthy ones that Congress caters to-- don't want to create jobs. It's just simply not to their benefit... creating jobs cuts into their profits. Fact #1: As both Romney and Obama have acknowledged, Big Business is doing just fine (alt link). Fact #2: although companies have shed jobs, worker productivity is at an all-time high in America. So companies have learned that they can make greater profits with less (but harder-working) workers. Why would they mess with that success? They won't, but if they can blackmail more tax cuts & deregulation out of Congress with false promises of 'job creation', they certainly will.

Finally, regarding Bain specifically, Romney tries to paint this picture of himself investing in, and rescuing, struggling companies. Bain very rarely did this, though. Why would they? They're a profit-driven company; not a charity. For the most part, Bain invested in, and bought up, already healthy and profitable companies. Then they proceeded to load that company up with debt, suck out all the $$$ they could, lay off workers to squeeze out a little more $$, watch as the company falls into bankruptcy, and throws the husk to the taxpayer. In one view, this certainly made Romney a success. In another view, it did what the "job creators" have really been doing... destroyed the economic well-being of middle-class workers so that America's economic elite can further grow and consolidate their wealth. Then the poor and working-class get blamed for their own failures.

Will voters fall for this? The GOP is certainly worried, which is why so much of their rhetoric is aimed at dividing the middle-class against itself (hard workers vs. the lazy poor; private sector vs. public, etc). But a unified, and angry, middle-class is what they-- especially the 'job creators-- fear most.

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