As the presidential campaign of 2016 fades away and the Trump Era begins, we find a national scene without any real discussion of the facts of jobs and unemployment and what the future might bring. Trump and others talk about bringing manufacturing back to the US. No plan, plausible or otherwise, has ever been mentioned for how to accomplish this. The Democrat are hardly better. Much has been made and continues to be made of the role various trade agreements have had in the loss of manufacturing jobs. Even Bernie Sanders can do no better than talking about creating millions of good paying jobs through a national infrastructure program. It is laudable to fix the infrastructure that has become third world, but that is not a long-term jobs strategy.
There are structural changes in the capitalist economy that must be understood and accepted as fact. Lets begin with a few examples. US steel production, one of those lost American industries, is now as high as it was at the beginning of the 1960s.
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In recent years a standard bit of political rhetoric in the US has included references to “the job creators”. This most usually flows along the lines of higher taxes on the wealthy will injure the job creators. Or, government regulation is crushing the job creators. The presumption of course is that the wealthy, the 1% in the current rhetoric, create jobs (and those not created by the wealthy are created by small business – this being another, long term part of our political discourse). Thus, government must do nothing that will upset the wealthy.
It must be noted that we have already had a large experiment with the obverse of this “don’t disturb the wealthy” policy. What if we made the wealthy even richer by lowering their tax rates? By simple logical deduction, this would incent them to invest more and create more jobs. Well, the Bush II years proved that this does not happen. Despite the largest tax reductions on the wealthy in US history, job creation under Bush II was worse than in any presidency back to Hoover.
At some level believing the wealthy to be the job creators seems natural enough. They have lots of money to invest and in their desire for more they will be out investing in new projects that per force must create jobs. Without the aid of real analysis, I have always been a bit suspicious of this idea. Wealthy people have their money managed for them by large financial institutions and financial specialists. Very few of them are directly involved in any business other than the business of worrying about whether their financial advisors are ripping them off or doing stupid things. Why do real work when you can have your advisors leverage the vast scale of your wealth to get special deals on bundled high return financial instruments.
Along comes a wealthy guy, Nick Hanauer, with a five minute TED Talk debunking this job creator mythology that is more soundly thought out than my ramblings.
BTW – Hanauer’s analysis is straight forward Keynesian economics. We have a demand problem. US corporations have record sums of cash on the balance sheets. Yet they are not investing it. The answer is lack of demand, increased sales to generate the virtuous cycle of profits followed by jobs. Though both the US and Europe are busy proving again that our economic problems are not going to be solved by austerity, debt reduction policies, other countries, like South Korea, have proved anew the merits of Keynesian remedies. Unfortunately, we have no one in the elites who have the political will to do what has worked before very reliably. They used to call it “pump priming”. Now our pump is dry, unemployment and underemployment is perniciously eating away at our society.
Who and What Is Tea Party Nation?
I generally don’t have that much interested in fringe weirdo politics. But, with the continuing eruptions on the right wing of the right wing Republican party, I thought that I might investigate.
So, I became a member of the TeaPartyNation.com website. I spent maybe 30 to 45 minutes looking around. Lots of rhetoric but no policy approaches to any issues that I, and probably most people, think are of concern. To probe further,I went to the Forum section of the site and searched for policy statements or discussions. None came up. Time to start a discussion. I started a new thread on the Forum, titled (this is an approximation for reason that ill become clear in a moment), “Where Can I Find Policies or Approaches to Issues?”. In the body of the entry I asked for someone to point me towards policies or approaches to (1) high unemployment, (2) falling earning power of the middle and working class, (3) inaccessible and expensive health care, (4) crumbling highways and infrastructure and a few more along this line of questioning.
Banned in Tea Party Nation
This morning I remembered to go back and see what responses I had received to my query. Banned. I have been declared a non person in Tea Party Nation. So much for quenching my thirst for knowledge. Guess I will have to be satisfied with th Tea Party Nation’s version of freedom.