None of these have anything to do with tax policy. Or regulation. Instead, they have to do with the existence of customers—i.e., people.
So if you’re talking about “creating jobs” or “helping the middle class,” you ought to be thinking about people. Why did the rabbi and the priest walk into a bar? They both had enough money in their pockets to splurge on a cocktail or pitcher of beer or glass of Bordeaux or whatever it is clergy order when they’re in a joke. And that money came from a job, in their case, a job with an organization that pays no taxes.
The tattered idea that lowering tax rates for business will increase hiring is absurd. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia pays $0 in tax, and yet closed St. Mary of the Assumption, along with some smaller parishes and many schools, this past summer. That means not only an out-of-work pastor, but teachers, secretaries, janitors, clerks and administrators all losing their jobs. The Roman Catholic Church’s taxes couldn’t get any lower; what the enterprise lacked was parishioners—i.e., customers—i.e., people.
And regulation? Well, The Catholic Church, along with other religious institutions, is exempt from many regulations, particularly the ones that promote equality and fairness by forbidding discrimination. For example, in Iowa, a business is not allowed to hire or fire someone “on the basis of age, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability,” unless it is "[a]ny bona fide religious institution or its educational facility, association, corporation or society.”
But most regulation exists to keep people from harm, not from injustice. Rules against serving toxic food or dumping slag in the drinking water or selling cars that don’t have functional braking systems are good for people—i.e., customers—and, indirectly, for businesses, because they keep customers—i.e., people—alive. The reason bars have to get liquor licenses is to protect those customers—i.e., people—from a substance that can be very dangerous if not properly handled. A dead customer will not boost revenues. A dead customer won’t enhance that hip vibe. A dead customer won’t bring his friends in next April, when the Yankees’ chances look pretty good again.
O burdensome regulations! O burdensome taxes! In Mitt Romney’s Bar & Grill, he’s pouring a secret jobs potion that’s going to jump-start our economy without even a sideways glance at the actual human beings behind economic transactions like ordering a Fuzzy Navel. The only people in his post-Citizens United wo rldview are corporations, who will pay less tax and follow fewer rules. To make up for that generous gift, he’ll slash “wasteful” government spending on such whatchacallems as:
Prepare to get fired, bureaucratic slackers, at which point, you’ll cease to be a customer—i.e., person. But don’t worry, that small business called St. Mary’s, just down the block from your out-of-work ass is sure to use its windfall tax break and freedom from regulation to hire more priests and nuns, folks who don’t need the contraception not covered in their health insurance. Ask your parents to send you to Divinity School. You’ll clean up in that libertarian dreamscape, that model of trickle-down economics, that no-tax, low-regulation utopia where the secret jobs potion flows freely through every empty pew.