Occasionally glimpsed in the mists of Republican political fantasy is the Utopia of the job creators. Allegedly populated by an imaginary race of free market entrepreneurs, we are urged to understand they toil endlessly, morning, noon and night, scheming to create a quality job for each and every one of us. Alas, malicious tax collectors and bureaucratic regulators intent on crushing prosperity and full employment repeatedly and cruelly foil their well-intentioned plans.
As cherished as corporate CEOs are in the Republican creed, these job creators must not be American capitalists. Most of us understand how capitalism really works: maximize your earnings and minimize your payroll. Jobs are merely the incidental inconvenience that accompanies business success. Profit is the goal, workers the means. Whenever possible, job creators seem to strive for the indentured servitude of minimum wage, zero benefit employment. These workers can then be left to purchase their own health care, fund their own retirement plans and save college tuition for their kids from the ample dollars left over after paying for rent, utilities and food. Simple enough at $15,000 dollars a year, right? The job creators fuzzy math allows them to sleep with a clear conscience. When competitive, professional job skills are needed, employers carefully weigh the advantages of moving these high cost positions off shore where programmers and engineers can be had for $50 dollars a day. That's just smart business. Corporations may be people, but there's nothing that requires these legal fictions to be good citizens.
To the contrary, they would be derelict in their fiduciary duty to shareholders if they didn't place profits before people. True, there are exceptions -- employers who truly appreciate the contributions of their workers. But, in the final analysis, the bottom line drives employment decisions even for the most decent companies. American businesses are earning record profits, sitting on a trillion dollars in cash and hiring a bare handful of workers each month. Is it possible the deployment of a hyperactive, regulatory army is the real cause of so much misery? Or, is it more likely that an executive pay system, which rewarded CEOs with salaries six or 10 times the earnings of a worker just 30 years ago, and now shovels windfalls two and three hundred times greater than rank and file earnings to our captains of industry, plays a role? Just asking?
It hardly inspires confidence in the job creators when tales of corporate corruption begin to crowd rape and murder off the front page. Hardly a week goes by without the discovery of yet another outrage. Financiers manipulate rates, hock bogus securities, loot hedge funds and weasel out of their contracts -- and, when found out, have their hands vigorously slapped by those predatory regulators. Predictably, their thefts have grown so large that someone has had to pony up. That someone always seems to be the taxpayer, whether it was the Savings and Loan scandal of 20 years ago, or the more recent mortgage fiascos of 2008. You don't have to belong to the TEA Party to cry, "No more bailouts!" Let them all fail. How much worse could it be?
But, I digress. With a political system that operates as a public auction, should we really be surprised, whoever wins, when the highest bidders get precisely the kind of government they want? The job creators who are writing million dollar checks to Super PACs aren't doing it because they want to enable good government. Rather, they're investing early to assure themselves a sympathetic ear in government later. Too bad if that ear proves deaf to the plight of the job seekers. Go creators! Rah! Rah!
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