The feast of the wealthy upon the little guy should long be over and we should have moved on to after-dinner drinks: tax hikes in gleaming snifters for the country club set; for the rest of us, a minimum-wage hike and jobless benefits, lifted to our lips and kissed like the whipped cream on an Irish coffee. Yet the little guy, despite his morsel size, is still being battered, fried up and served with a side of frozen fear to an already obese elite. That glob of fear on the plate is that the superrich, poor fragile creatures, won’t create our jobs if we ask them to contribute to the upkeep of our country.
The Bush tax cuts, a boondoggle for those that already gots, were first enacted in 2001, over a decade ago. These senseless giveaways have not only remained in place, but been fattened up for the fattest among us, wallet-wise, all in the hope that those grotesquely wealthy people will use their tax refunds to create jobs. Ten years later, our country had roughly 3 million fewer jobs. But the superrich keep getting richer.
The “job creators” theory has been tasted, re-tasted, tasted yet again—still no jobs.
It’s easy to see why. Imagine earning $22 Million in 365 days. (Almost half of all Americans make less than $25,000 per year.) That comes to $60,274.00 per day. How would you spend over $60,000 in one day, then wake up and do it again the next day, day after day, including holidays and weekends, for a whole year? Sure, you could buy some big ticket items, a Maserati here, a home in La Jolla there, but you’re probably not going to buy hundreds of Maseratis or resort get-aways. Nor will you necessarily create a lot of jobs if you do. For consumption to drive an economy—and ours is consumer-driven—you need masses of people buying masses of Fords and Chryslers, not the 1% buying a handful of fancy imports. At $16,000, the 2012 Dodge Dart, a modest compact, is out of reach for that 48.1% of Americans earning less than $25,000 per year.
“No,” say the defenders of the rich getting richer. Wealthy people create jobs by investing in new companies or in the expansion of old ones, not by consuming stuff themselves. Unfortunately, neither the behavior of so-called investors nor that of the businesses they allegedly invest in fits with this argument. Wealthy people spend less than 2% of their money investing in new companies. Moreover, companies themselves don’t want to expand, even though they already have the cash to do so, without any investors. The reason they are not hiring, if we are to believe them, is that there’s no one to buy the extra stuff they’d produce. Remember, almost half of us are making less than $25,000 per year. We can’t afford more stuff. We can’t afford the stuff we already have, which is why our standard of living has been going down.
So Job Creators, you had your chance. Yes, you. And who is this “you”? This “you” who makes $22 Million? Gee, looks like Mitt Romney made that much in 2010, most of it from Bain Capital, which he “retired” from 10 years earlier. What if, instead of paying him, Bain Capital had hired two people every day of the year at a salary of $30,000? They’d have created 730 jobs. But they didn’t do that. Like our tax system, Bain gave the money to a rich guy, who promptly stashed it overseas in “blind” trusts that invested in his own kid’s start-up business, or in the hedge fund of one of his campaign supporters. True, 2 jobs were created, but they were hardly the kind of jobs that would fuel a national recovery.
Job Creators, you had your chance. Now give us the money, in the form of higher wages and a federally mandated jobs program, and we’ll give recovery a try. We’ll check back with you in 10 years, to make sure you, your son and your billionaire campaign contributor are still okay.