Trickle-Down Redux: Myths About Job Creation and the Private Sector

Published on Counterpunch, by MARK VORPAHL, Sept. 12, 2012.

The issue of unemployment and underemployment loomed above the hype of both the Republican and Democratic Party conventions with the cold stare of a harsh judge. Many promises and dubious claims were made from the respective party podiums, but no real solutions were put forward.  

Despite the antagonistic posturing between Obama and Romney, both stand by the “free market” commandment that it is the business of the private sector to create jobs, not the government. That is, the effects of the Great Recession will not be reversed until the big business owners invest in job creating ventures that they can make a profit from. In order to encourage them to make these investments it is necessary to fatten their financial reserves with bail outs, low interest loans, minuscule tax rates, and so on.

In short, the policies emanating from the belief that the private sector will rescue workers from the jobs crisis are variations of the discredited trickle down theory where the wealth built up at the top through government funded corporate welfare will somehow find its way into the pockets of working Americans.

Romney is an unapologetic supporter of this discredited scheme. While candidate Obama criticizes such an approach in order to get votes, nevertheless, as President, this has been the guiding philosophy of his actions. He has provided trillions of dollars in bailouts and loans to Wall Street, declared himself open to cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, supported the privatization of public schools through the “Race to the Top” program of charter schools, extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and the list goes on … //

… The private sector is the problem, not the solution for the jobs crisis. It will take investment in the public sector to create full employment and lift up the economy. This investment can be funded by taxing corporations to the point where our nation is facing surpluses rather than deficits. Owners of immense wealth have for too long been let off the hook from paying their fair share.

There is no shortage of work that desperately needs to be done. Industries need to be retooled to reverse climate change. Our infrastructure needs to be maintained and, in many cases, rebuilt. Public education needs to be improved and expanded rather than privatized. Social services and health care need to be made available for everyone who needs them.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the opposite of the approach of both presidential candidates and their corporate funded parties. Workers need to wrest control of the economy from the 1% by building a politically independent mass social movement to place our needs, such as a federal jobs program to create full employment, on the front stage.

All progressive changes that have benefited the vast majority have been the result of such struggles. Our salvation from the Great Recession lies in forging the necessary grass roots/workers unity to rediscover our power to set the political agenda.
(full text and notes i to vi).

(Mark Vorpahl is an union steward, social justice activist, and writer for Workers’ Action. He can be reached here).

Links:

LA FIN PROGRAMMEE DE LA DEMOCRATIE: Le pouvoir a déjà changé de mains;

HafenCity Headquarters SPIEGEL Moves to a New Home, on Spiegel Online International, Mai 110 2011: The SPIEGEL Group recently moved to its new headquarters in Hamburg. The modern and spacious new office building, designed by Denmark’s Henning Larsen Architects, is an important part of the port city’s ambitious HafenCity, one of the largest urban redevelopment projects currently taking shape in Europe …

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