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Charlie Vignola: We are the real ‘job creators’

Posted: July 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Anyone who’s been paying attention to political rhetoric over the last year or so has noticed a new phrase creeping into the Republican lexicon: “job creators.”

“Job creators” is basically a more user-friendly term for “the rich.”

In today’s shaky economic climate, “rich” has become a dirty word that triggers poisonous envy and evokes dreaded class warfare, so it’s to be avoided whenever possible in polite society.

Now, Republicans have always been craftier at messaging and framing than Democrats. For example, when the phrase “global warming” was starting to take hold and spook people, Republican language expert and message master Frank Luntz suggested that Republicans use the term “climate change” instead, as it had a less negative connotation.

After all, “climate change” could simply be a reference to putting on the air conditioning when it’s hot, or the heating when its cold — it’s more neutral and less frightening, as opposed to “global warming,” which suggests that man-made pollution is slowly cooking the entire planet.

Of course, we all know that global warming is really just a world-wide hoax perpetrated by a sinister cabal of climate scientists for the nefarious goal of procuring millions in research grant money — but that’s another column.

Anyway, the term “job creators” is a real doozy, as it slickly rebrands the rich as benevolent folk whose greatest desire is to create employment and offer up vocational opportunities to the downtrodden — as opposed to, say, making as much profit as humanly possible, job creation be damned.

I can just imagine the Republican spin doctors in their smoke-filled backroom, brainstorming this:

“Geez, the rich have only gotten richer over the past 10 years while regular joes have gotten the royal screw job with flat wages and dwindling benefits. Nobody’s gonna be cool with even more tax breaks for the rich — and if the public starts griping that we need more revenue to pay for sick people and old people and crumbling bridges and roads, who are they gonna hit up for more taxes?

“But, but, but! If we repeatedly refer to the rich as ‘job creators’ over and over like a soothing mantra to the working class, well — who’d want to piss off the job creators with higher taxes, right?

“We have to be grateful to the job creators, make them feel welcome and cater to their every whim. Why, if we don’t cut their taxes further, we might incur their wrath, and they’ll create fewer jobs — even if it means lower profits for them — just to teach us a lesson! Or worse, they might take all their jobs and move to another country!”

As it stands, not to worry: the rich still live a very comfortable life right here in America. It’s only the jobs and trillions of dollars in corporate profits that have moved to another country — but that’s another column.

Yes, it’s a clever plan to rebrand the avaricious and influential who don’t want to pay any taxes as “job creators” in order to get the stink of greed off of them and paint them with a do-gooding patina.

Is it working? Well, I suspect it’s working for the poor, regular joes who listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, and who think it’s in their own best economic interests to drastically lower taxes on the rich in the hopes that some of it will trickle down in the form of jobs — even though we’ve had this exact economic plan in place for over 10 years now, and not only has the tidal wave of jobs promised not materialized, but job growth has slowed down to a trickle.
Huh. I finally get why they call it “trickle-down economics.”

I humbly suggest that a more fitting descriptive term for the rich is “tax dodgers.”

After all, not all rich people create jobs. Lots of rich people inherit the money, keep it in savings or invest overseas, meaning they use their money in plenty of ways that don’t generate new jobs in the U.S.

But pretty much all rich people are “tax dodgers,” right?

The rich hire armies of attorneys and business managers to find loopholes and offshore accounts and other byzantine maneuvers to reduce their tax burden — and the super-rich hire lobbyists to influence Congress to rewrite the laws to their economic benefit.

The truth is that what the rich actually pay in taxes is on average less than half of what their tax rate really is. For example, according to the IRS, the top 400 richest people in America paid an average tax rate of 16 percent after all of their tax-dodging tricks.

So when the rich — excuse me, the tax dodgers — whine about being so unfairly overtaxed, just remember: They ain’t paying nearly that tax rate.

And, by the way, if you’re a tax dodger, you’re effectively paying the lowest income tax rate you’ve paid in more than 60 years — but that’s another column.

Now if you ask me, it’s not the tax dodgers who are the real job creators in America.

You want to know who the real job creators are? The middle class and the working class.

Think about it. Who makes up the vast majority of consumption of goods and services in America? Hint: it’s not the tax dodgers.

Regular joes like you and me (and if you’re reading this and making more than a quarter-million dollars a year, you aren’t a regular joe) are the backbone of the consumer-based U.S. economy.

If one day we just stopped buying stuff and left the Tax Dodgers to do all the consuming for this country, the economy would instantly collapse. It’s the demands of the hundreds of millions of middle-class and working-class people, who drink Coke and go to the movies and shop at Walmart, who cause businesses to grow. And that growth is what ultimately expands the economy and creates jobs.

To be more specific, it creates jobs after outsourcing, technology and productivity gains are no longer enough to keep up with the demand and businesses are finally forced to hire new U.S. employees — but that’s another column.

Today, I propose that we, the people, take back the title of “job creators,” enthusiastically and without irony.

If by “job creators” we mean literally “those whose activities are required to spur job creation,” then that’s who we are. We are the first domino in the economic system. Without our buying power, there’s no demand. Without demand, there’s no business expansion. Without business expansion, there’s no need to create new jobs.

So, the next time you meet a tax dodger, tell them to stop bellyaching about taxes — or you’re going to stop creating jobs.
Charlie Vignola is a Fair Oaks Ranch resident.


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