Scott Brown was very effective getting one point across at last night’s debate: We can’t raise taxes on the super-wealthy, because they are the job creators. Unfortunately for him, the argument is the worst kind of sophistry. Unfortunately for us, Elizabeth Warren was not effective in exposing the argument as fraud.
Start with a basic understanding of a market economy: rich people and corporations don’t create jobs, customers create jobs. Nobody got rich hiring somebody else for the sake of hiring someone else. People get rich by investing in things and services that people want to and can pay money for. They hire people to create the things and services when it is necessary to meet some demand. Give corporations and rich people more money when there is no demand, they don’t hire people. They save the money. We know that, which gets to the second point …
We already know that the rich are not using incremental gains to hire more people. We have had some recovery. An amazingly top-heavy recovery. Exactly the kind of recovery that proponents of the rich-as-job-creators theory of economics would say leads to job growth. Yet, job growth has been anemic. Corporations are retaining earnings, not hiring more workers.
Giving the rich more money doesn’t lead to more jobs. Taking some of the money back from the rich isn’t going to lead to job loss, either.
The only way we’re going to have more jobs is to increase demand.
Unless I missed it (and I did have to deal with the kids during the debate), Warren never went straight at Brown on his job-creator assertion, challenging the assumptions. So, the debate left the impression that we have two equally valid approaches to job creation, both forcefully articulated. Except that one approach is fundamentally flawed, both theoretically and empirically.
Brown ends up looking like a guy who cares about the middle class, and only wants to protect the wealthy in order to better serve the middle class. Aaaaargh.