ShortsightedWritten by Don Burnard | | email@example.com
We were discussing the seeming dichotomy of the Republican positions that spending on such things as extending unemployment benefits, Medicaid funding, education and a much-needed second wave of stimulus money is unwise because of a recently found concern for the deficit while having no problem with extending tax cuts for the top 2 percent. They claim, as usual, that this will harm the recovery, because the business owners will not hire new workers and the recession will deepen. This is the same argument that they have used for years as a sort of Sword of Damocles to put fear into voters minds about such things as any minimum wage increase, etc. They just keep beating the same old dead horses again and again, and contrary to “popular” belief, we’re the ones taking the beating by buying into these short sighted policies.
Jack Metzger, a contributor to The Center for Working Class Studies at Youngstown State University, recently put this into perspective. An article in The Wall Street Journal recently asked the question, “Who do they think will create new jobs— people making less than $200,000 a year?” But as Metzger points out, the devil is in the details. He states:
“Rich people create jobs by investing in companies (little ones they own themselves or big ones they own stock in), and it’s these companies who actually hire the workers and pay them a wage. This is true. But it is like saying that the light coming from the ceiling of my office is caused by the light switch on the wall. Without turning the light switch on, there will be no light, but the ultimate creator of the light tracks back to a power station and a national power grid that hooks into the wiring behind the walls in my building. In an economy, consumer demand is the power station, the grid and most of the wiring. If there is not enough consumer demand, businesses have no reason to hire new workers— just as there is no reason to switch the light on if there is nobody in the room. The reason that businesses aren’t hiring more now isn’t that they don’t have the money. It’s the lack of consumer demand. Businesses are currently sitting on huge piles of cash. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the 3,000 largest publicly traded U.S. companies ‘have $2.9 trillion in cash and short-term investments’ they don’t know what to do with. Workers and consumers (and most state governments), on the other hand, are struggling to pay last month’s bills and to provide for basic necessities. The latter is the primary cause of the former. That is, not enough money in the hands of workers and consumers means a lack of profitable investment opportunities for businesses and rich folk.”
Metzger also shows the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the job- creating capacity of the various policy options. Increased aid to the unemployed and increased aid to states, at a cost of $60 billion, will create between 380,000-780,000 jobs, whereas tax cuts to the top 2 percent at a cost of $70 billion will only generate 70,000-210,000 jobs. If these deficit peacocks truly are fiscally concerned, the choice should be obvious.
A majority of the population thinks we’re on the wrong track fiscally in this country, but they don’t seem to have a firm grasp on what needs to be done to right the foundering economy. The GOP’s long-standing belief that only tax cuts for the rich will benefit the economy have been proven time and again to be wrongheaded thinking, but it seems to be the only plan they will accept. Coupled with their rock- headed obstructing for even their own ideas, they remain firmly committed to obstruct any move, even if it was something they previously pushed for; for political reasons, they will let the recession continue. They don’t care about the average guy. They care about power. If you have the power, the wealth will follow. Just ask John Kasich. It is time that we stop listening to the fear mongers who have no plans to help most of us that aren’t in the top 2 percent, but will scare you to death with these same old stories they’ve been pushing since the Great Depression. If you want to see a repeat of that, keep listening to them. If you want to return to the real American way, doing the things that will benefit the majority of people in this country, then keep listening to them.
E-mail columnist Don Burnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.