John Boehner (often referred to in this space as "Boner") issued an interesting, one line statement yesterday through his spokesman, former RNC Chairman , Michael Steele. It was in response to a bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill is called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013.
According to Steele, "The speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs." I couldn't have said it better. As a matter of fact, I can think of one person who would've said it exactly that way, but we'll get to that in few moments.
According to his statement, Boner is worried about the bill creating new grounds for litigation. Sure enough, we live in a very litigious culture. By their nature, though laws are intended to give grounds to end, cure or punish infractions.
Bankruptcy, with its roots going back to the Old Testament is acknowledged in the Constitution as being an important part of a democratic society. It's one of the lynch pins of capitalism and grounds for endless litigation. Some 7 million bankruptcies have been filed since the meltdown in 2008.
All that litigation would go away if they got rid of bankruptcy statutes, but our nation would be worse off if citizens were unable to seek protection under the law. That is, after all the intent of law.
The second part of Boner's statement, the one regarding American jobs is the one that interests me the most. Since President Obama's inauguration, no Republican measures have been put forth to create a single American job. The shutdown forced by the high-handed, coercive politics of the Tea Party put 800,000 federal employees out on the streets and slowed an already slow-growing economy.
What the GOP has, though in its bag of tricks is not a policy or a plan. What they have is Frank Luntz, GOP operative and author of the 2011 book, Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary. It's in this book that Luntz coins the term, "job creators".
You may remember hearing the term, "job creators" used almost reverently by everyone from Boner to Bachmann, Palin, Limbaugh and Hannity. It's a meme, which means it doesn't have to make any sense as long as creates a desired feeling and spreads like wildfire. Frank Luntz is the master of meme.
Following are 10 talking points Frank Luntz enumerated for the GOP's 2012 election cycle, all of them listed in his book under the title, "The Ten Rules for 2012: What Americans Really Want to Hear from Their Representatives.”
1. I will never accept the status quo.
2. I will never apologize for America.
3. I will find at least one penny of waste to cut from every dollar of spending.
4. I will never raise taxes in a recession.
5. You don’t work for me. I work for you.
6. I will fight for the public’s right to know the cost and consequences of every piece of legislation and regulation.
7. I will always prioritize American rights over the rights of those who wish to do us harm.
8. I will work with anyone who will work with me.
9. I will always support freedom.
10. I still believe in the American principle: of the people, by the people, for the people.
Notice, if you will that there are no policies put forth. No programs, no solutions...no nothing. Just the talking points. Memes that are felt, but impart no understanding.
So powerful are these memes that one like "job creators" can be used to parry any thrust. It's the all-around good reason for anything unreasonable.
If you've looked at your 401K lately, you noticed that it's returned, at least in great part to pre-2008 levels. American corporations are sitting on an unprecedented mound of cash and posting great returns. Clearly, that extra cash hasn't prompted them to go on any kind of a hiring spree. The great fallacy that companies hire people when they have extra money is just that, a fallacy. Any economist not supported by the Heritage Foundation will tell you that.
Companies hire people when those hirings will produce more revenue than the cost of the hirings. Even a Heritage Foundation economist will tell you that. When demand exceeds companies capacities, they look to hire more people to increase their capacity.
What, you ask increases demand? Simply put, it's more people being able to buy more things. People whose minimum wage jobs allow them to support themselves and their families. People who are not burdened with medical hardships. In short, people who are not buried under the system of which they so long to be a part.
Next time John Boehner tells you he's against something because it will "cost American jobs" or "put an unnecessary burden on the job creators", tell him you've heard it all before. Tell him America can't afford to stuff any more money into the pockets of the wealthy in the unrealistic hope that they will hire someone. Because they won't. That's why they're wealthy.
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