If you even imagine taking a Republican seriously when they talk about jobs in this country, you should probably be committed. To be blunt, Republicans couldn’t care less about the average working American. For decades now, the GOP has worked hard to facilitate large companies in moving their factories and jobs to other countries, to save them money and increase their bottom line. It used to be, the top tax rate was 91%, and the only way to get tax rate down was to actually invest in the economy. But over the years, Republicans have gamed the system in a way that allows companies to benefit from low tax rates, and even be subsidized, without lifting a finger to help the American economy.
When any Republican complains about job creation, the initial reaction should be to laugh or cry, depending on the day. When Republicans talk about the “massive economic expansion” that began under St. Reagan, and supposedly lasted until the great recession in 2008, they seem little more than, well, delusional. The only people who’ve prospered since 1981 are the richest 1% of Americans; the people who didn’t need help in the first place.
The United States has suffered through two major recessions since 1981, and both were caused by Republicans. The first, in 1982, can be directly attributed to massive tax cuts and severe budget cuts that affected the least prosperous in our country. You want to know how Saint Reagan got us out of that recession? He borrowed unprecedented amounts of money and gave it to defense contractors. The national debt, which had dropped from the high of 120% of GDP after World War II to just under 33% of GDP by 1980, suddenly skyrocketed to about 66% of GDP by 1993. Then, Bill Clinton took over and brought us the only relative prosperity we’ve experienced since 1981, by creating real jobs and investing in infrastructure; two things Republicans refuse to do.
If you really want to improve the economy, we can’t do it with the Republican model. The funny thing is, we have a model available to us; it was in all the papers, back when there were papers. The most prosperous time in the history of the United States came immediately following World War II, up until about the early 1970s. It actually started with the war itself. We built a prosperous country by working together, and building a war machine that defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japanese, then we help them, and a number of other countries, rebuild afterward, for a profit. The key to any economically prosperous era has government spending as its linchpin. After all, the government is us. We are the government, and that is our money being invested.
After the war, we invested in infrastructure. We built schools and new roads, and we built up the utility infrastructure. We, the taxpayer, built the foundation of a great country, and we built our economy on that foundation. We, the people controlled the economy. We the people determined how our money was going to be spent. All of us had a stake in the economy up to that point. Think about it; more people were unionized and making a good wage; families were prosperous with only one breadwinner.
Where the Republican economic strategy falls flat is that they want to give our money to the rich and let them decide how to distribute it. That’s what supply-side economics supposes; that rich people will get more money in the form of lower taxes, and their incredible generosity will overflow onto the rest of the population. Of course, we all know this is crap. Rich people don’t distribute money, they sit on it. Everyone else spends everything they have, and the money circulates through the economy. Rich people, on the other hand, invest in other rich people, and not in us. As result, the economy stagnates. A healthy economy is one in which money circulates to everyone in the economy that just the top 1%.
When a Republican talks to about the “job-killing policies” of Democrats, feel free to laugh at them. Over the last century, the greatest job killers have all been Republicans. Herbert Hoover, of course, presided over the beginnings of the Great Depression, and then attempted to use Republican tactics to fight its effects, to no avail. Richard Nixon managed to take an economy that had been booming for more than a quarter-century under progressives and Democrats, and led it into the abyss by taking this off the gold standard without a plan, and by doing nothing to restrain the money supply. His response to high inflation was to freeze wages and prices for 90 days, thus ensuring even greater inflation when the 90 days expired. Ford’s response was to print WIN (“whip inflation now!”) buttons and ask people to wear them. Saint Reagan’s administration saw no real job growth until its last two years in office, and even then, the growth was relatively tepid. And let’s be real; Bush, Jr. and the Republican Congress did little more than undo every good thing Clinton had done during their six years in charge. They certainly can’t be accused of any meaningful job creation. If they had, you would know about it.
It wasn’t until the economy tanked, and Obama and the Democrats passed a massive stimulus package, that we started investing in ourselves again. The end result of that stimulus package was that it pulled us out of recession much faster than otherwise would’ve happened, but we needed more stimulus. Instead, Republicans have spent the last six years complaining about it, and have done nothing but cut spending during that period of time. Spending cuts cost jobs, they do not create them.
Yes, you read that right. Spending cuts cost jobs. If you don’t agree with that, then look back at the most prosperous time in the history of the world, which was the quarter-century or so after World War II. We spent lots of money, and we benefited from it, for the same reason that you invest money and not put into a passbook account. Look at the past 34 years, when Republicans have had virtual control of the government for 30 years, and compare it to the previous 34 year stretch, when Democrats controlled government for 30 of them. We are not better off with austerity-obsessed Republicans in charge. Creating jobs requires investment, and as far as Republicans are concerned, government only spends money, it doesn’t invest.
Massive tax cuts do not really benefit anyone, because they result in fewer services and less investment. Even those whose taxes are cut don’t really see a benefit over the long term. There is a small benefit in the short term, but we have to start thinking long-term. Massive tax cuts leave the government with too little money to invest in the economy, which is of no benefit to anyone. Besides, Republicans only talk about income tax cuts, which only the rich pay. They never talk about cutting payroll taxes, which is what everyone except the rich pay.
This is part of the pattern among Republicans. They constantly complain about deficits, but they have absolutely no desire to do anything about them. if they did, they would raise taxes and offer incentives to make them lower. Instead of offering large companies incentives to cut payroll, they would give them incentives to create jobs. Instead of offering incentives to move facilities overseas, they would offer them incentives to open plants here and hire people at reasonable wages.
Republicans talk a great game about the “private economy,” but private enterprise simply doesn’t care about creating jobs; they only care about their bottom line. One of the government’s main jobs is to incentivize businesses into doing the right thing, like creating opportunities for people. Most of our current economic problems stem from the Republicans’ constant removal of those incentives from the equation. there will be no problem with corporations paying as little as 10% of their profits in taxes, as long as they’re incentivized to do so. They shouldn’t just get a 10% tax rate, or even 15% or even 20%; they should have to create specific economic benefit to the country. That means hiring a lot of people, and paying them a lot more than minimum wage. Our corporate tax rate is too high, if we’re going to be competitive; I agree with that premise. But we don’t have to drop the rate to be competitive. We can keep it where it is and offer incentives to companies that locate here to get their tax rate down to 10% or 12%, or even lower. as long as the benefit from the incentives is greater than the cost of the tax break, there’s no problem.
By the way, the last time our corporate tax rate went below 15%, (which is what many Republicans have advocated for), we went into the Great Depression. That is probably not coincidence.
If you want job creation, you have to replace as many Republicans as possible with Democrats. Job creation and economic benefit is in the Democratic Party’s DNA. Republicans, on the other hand, are the real job killers, and everything they do with regard to the economy benefits the 1% and screws the other 99%. That’s not just my opinion, the data proves it.
We have a chance to install a government that creates jobs, and that creates economic benefit for regular people. We need a Democratic majority in Congress, and we need to start rejecting Republican concepts with regard to the economy. If we do that, everyone wins.