The Republicans and their little magical friends, the Tea Party little people, promise that if they win, they will create jobs. How will they do that? Well, they have invented a new economic theory : Conservative Job Creationism (CJC). Like the creationist mythology, in the realm of the sciences, the right wing has imposed a creationist theory in economics: creation of jobs through the alchemy of tax cuts for the rich.
These two creationist theories have been given equal airing and now we have reached the point where millions of Americans believe in this cosmology. Both are not questioned, because they come with some theological blessing, one the Bible, the other from the Supply Side Economics as told by the Apostle Ronald Reagan.
If all these anti government people get elected, they promise us, that they will by some magic– aka tax cuts– use government to create jobs. What escapes the discussion is that we tried this during the Bush years without success. Also, sprinkled and diluted the Stimulus through the Senate amendments to the House version, plenty of tax cuts and in the end, we got a less effective Stimulus.
Before President George W. Bush left a deep financial crisis and economic collapse on President Barack Obama’s doorstep, he presided over two terms of laissez-faire supply-side policies that yielded the weakest expansion in recent U.S. economic history, marked by tepid job growth, weak private investment, stagnant family incomes, and a host of other ills that mounting housing and financial bubbles helped partially obscure. That President Bush took no action to address the fundamental weakness of the American economy and protect it from financial collapse was a tragic failure—but it was a tragic failure to be expected by a conservative president practicing conservative economics. The Consequences of Conservative Economic Policy, A Tried and Failed Approach that Should not be Repeated
How does government create jobs? One sure way is by direct job creation, paying to build things, fix things and save existing services. The Obama administration created jobs, but you must remember that all the Republican tinkering with the stimulus, way too much went to tax cuts and not enough to jobs. In the end, no Republican voted for the Recovery Act. In the Senate, they would not vote for it if not for the tax cuts. For all intents and purposes, our current job deficits are the result of the Conservative Job Creationism, a promise to believe, with no susbtantive results. We really have not had a true job creation, just version of the mystical CJC.
The other way is via incentives. Incentives can have two forms, buying stuff from the private sector, or offering direct incentives for job creation, like tax cuts, or tax credits for actual job creation. The Republicans say, let us in, we will create all these incentives, mostly tax cuts for the very rich and through some alchemy, that will create jobs. It’s the alchemy that is not working for me. This alchemy, the tax cuts to the rich, was in place through the Bush years and the last two Obama years, has not created the magic. As Robert Reich points out:
Unfortunately for supply-siders, history has proven them wrong again and again. During almost three decades spanning 1951 to 1980, when America’s top marginal tax rate was between 70 and 92 percent, the nation’s average annual growth was 3.7 percent. But between 1983 and start of the Great Recession, when the top rate was far lower – ranging between 35 and 39 percent – the economy grew an average of just 3 percent per year. Supply-siders are fond of claiming that Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cuts caused the 1980s economic boom. In fact, that boom followed Reagan’s 1982 tax increase. The 1990s boom likewise was not the result of a tax cut; it came in the wake of Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.
Neither creationist theory is based on empirical evidence. It is a belief that somehow, jobs will be created if people who make over $250,000 after deductions, will go out and create jobs. Right now our corporations are sitting on large gobs of cash, why are they not creating jobs with that cash? The rich have all this money, why are they not investing in American jobs?
The other element of the Conservative Job Creationism theory is that tax cuts are revenue neutral, that they don’t cost money, that somehow, they don’t add to the deficit. Extending the existing tax cuts for the upper classes, has an estimated cost of 4 trillion dollars with a doubtful job creation prognosis, whereas direct job creation, with elimination of the tax cuts for the rich will cost us less and have more predictable outcomes. Do we have time to rely on a magical promise?
The uncertainty with government policies, makes these guys nervous, they don’t want to expose themselves, hire people if government is gonna take away the tax breaks for the rich, they say. Now this seems like a leap in logic. We are not talking about corporate taxes, these are individual taxes. They did not have that uncertainty during the Bush years, what kept the magic from happening?
My fellow Americans in Ohio and other parts of America who are considering joining the GOP magical job creation mystery tour, wake up. If you want a job, we need another stimulus. If you want to keep your job, we need another stimulus. Jobs, in this recession, are not gonna be created for you by your magical corporate friends, they found other elves to do the work for them.
The other elves are cheaper and they have no regulations. We can eliminate all our regulations, cut all our taxes, slash all the labor laws, and these guys are not gonna give you jobs as you knew them. In fact, they found other children who buy the toys. They don’t really care if your children need toys, they replaced them in other markets.
It’s simple math. Whatever we do to get the economy going, will involve a cost. The Republican method, involves cost and some suspension of logic, facts and common sense. The Democratic option, will cost money, but at least some regular people will get a pay check, pay some bills, buy some cars, eat at some restaurants, buy a toy or two, pay tuition, pay some medical bills, get some health insurance. The GOP version will cost money but, with a potential magical outcome, that the lawyers, doctors and other professionals after their first $250,000, will choose to somehow make a job for an American. How they will make that job, it’s not clear. It’s magic.
We, the dopes, have to wait around, while that stranger, that imaginary prince, sits around and weighs his/her options: An Hermes bag? A condo in Aspen? A face lift? Another 25 year old girlfriend, or boyfriend, or both? Or creating a job for an electrician, a programmer, a truck driver, a heavy machine operator, a planner, or any of the hundreds of jobs that it takes to build or fix our infrastructure. A real investment in our future? Or another toy for the rich with a vague promise of a job?
Creationism based on a mythology and never empirical evidence. Based on an orthodoxy of beliefs that have no room in praxeology. An orthodoxy that promises to deliver without ever having delivered, yet, the narrative of the fiction dominates.