Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman, doesn’t like the Buffet Rule because “It will attack job creators.” John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, says that the administration should stop threatening to raise taxes, and thus “end the uncertainty plaguing job creators.” Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, while opposing tax hikes, says that “The last thing we should be doing is raising taxes on the job creators.”
I don’t know for a fact that “job creator” is one of those fiendishly clever euphemisms that Frank Luntz regularly lobs into the political debate, but in this period of high unemployment, transforming “rich people” or “owners” or “fat cats” into magical “job creators” from whom all blessings flow is a beautiful piece of rhetorical prestidigitation. If Luntz isn’t the author, then kudos to whatever evil word wizard is responsible.
It’s a wonderful image: the rich guy who isn’t actually safe and secure, but who is highly vulnerable to a little tax. And this is a problem for the rest of us, because this “job creator” is the goose who lays the golden egg, the god from whom all blessings flow, the owner of the economic pixie dust. He’s got the vision, he’s got the energy, he’s got the drive, and the rest of us are just plain lucky to be the serfs in his shire, because we could be serfs down south where there’s flooding, and the duke there is a lousy jobs creator.
But just a couple of decades ago, back before the Market Ideology totally captured all political dialog in this country, we used to call these people something else: employers. And they were honored and valued. They got paid more than anyone else, and they generally got some or all of the profits. It didn’t seem necessary to protect them from taxation as well.
And the jobs creator? That was somebody else–the guy creating the demand.
Think of it this way: David Koch, radical right wing extremist zillionaire, owns Brawny paper towels. He employs a bunch of people. I’m sure that he thinks he has created all those jobs.
I, on the other hand, have no one in my employ, but I’m pretty sure I’m a jobs creator. I’m the one who gets up in the morning and spills his orange juice, and then reaches for a paper towel. By doing so, I create the need, and the need leads to the product. If I and everyone else like me suddenly chooses to let the orange juice puddle congeal into a sticky paste that sits there until a colony of ants comes by to take it away, then after a while David Koch is going close his factory. Why? Because instead of creating jobs for paper towel workers, I’ve chosen to create jobs for ants.
But let’s face it, I’m not really the ultimate jobs creator. That honor falls to all those men and women out there, in bedrooms, and hotel rooms, and the back seats of Buicks, and the lavatories of airplanes, who are industriously copulating. Because from that comes a baby, and if every one is lucky, about eighty years of wants and needs that the rest of humanity earns its keep by fulfilling.
Jobs creation: it’s all about where you start the carousel.