Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Things Republicans say about job creation that aren't true

By R.K. Barry 

Yesterday I wrote that no matter how tired progressives get saying the same things over and over again, no matter how tired they get refuting the lies of Republicans, they should carry on and fight the good fight because many people, who perhaps don't always pay enough attention, need to hear the the truth as often as possible.

Recently I have become a big fan of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who has a teaching gig at UC Berkeley these days and also blogs on political and economic issues. I find Reich the consummate teacher in the way he lays out his arguments and exposes nonsense for what it is.

One of the greater challenges in politics, I find, is that economic theory is so hard for most people to understand, and some theories that seem to make sense are flat out wrong, things like, if we just slash taxes on corporations, that will necessarily create more jobs. Yeah, well, not so much. Not if there isn't enough demand out there because people don't have sufficient income to buy stuff. Anyway, I'll let the good professor explain.

Here are a few untruths Republicans like to trot out, with rejoinders supplied by Professor Reich:
  • "Cutting taxes on the rich creates jobs." Nope. Trickle-down economics has been tried for thirty years and hasn't worked. After George W. Bush cut taxes on the rich, far fewer jobs were created than after Bill Clinton raised them in the 1990s.
  • "Cutting corporate income taxes creates jobs." Baloney. American corporations don't need tax cuts. They're sitting on over $1.5 trillion of cash right now. They won't invest it in additional capacity or jobs because they don't see enough customers out there with enough money in their pockets to buy what the additional capacity would produce.
  • "Cuts in wages and benefits create jobs." Congressional Republicans and their state counterparts repeat this lie incessantly. It also lies behind corporate America's incessant demand for wage and benefit concessions – and corporate and state battles against unions. But it's dead wrong. Meager wages and benefits are reducing the spending power of tens of millions of American workers, which is prolonging the jobs recession.
  • "Regulations kill job." Congressional Republicans are using this whopper to justify their attempts to defund regulatory agencies. Regulations whose costs to business exceed their benefits to the public are unwarranted, of course, but reasonable regulation is necessary to avoid everything from nuclear meltdowns to oil spills to mine disasters to food contamination – all of which we've sadly witnessed. Here again, we're hearing little from the President or Democratic leaders.
If cutting taxes on rich people, cutting corporate income taxes, cutting wages and benefits, and deregulation don't create jobs, then a lot of middle class people are probably going to be voting against their own best interests come 2012 and in the interests of others who don't really need the help. Just sayin'.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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