May 25, 2012
Busting the “job creator” myth
Nick Hanauer is a capitalist – and a very successful one, at that, having made enough money to join the top 0.1% of the top one percent. Yet, Nick thinks our politicians and too many pundits have it all wrong on tax policy.
Recently, Nick gave an amazing talk at TED, a semi-annual conference where the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers go to “share ideas worth spreading.” In fact, Nick’s big idea is so revolutionary that TED’s curators initially tried to censor it so that you might never hear it.
“Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as job creators at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the current economic and social arrangements is telling.
“It’s a small jump from “job creator” to “the creator”. This language obviously was not chosen by accident, and it’s only honest to admit that when somebody like me calls themselves a job creator, we’re not just describing how the economy works, but more particularly, we’re making a claim on status and privileges that we deserve.
“We’ve had it backwards for the last 30 years. Rich people like me don’t create jobs. Jobs are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop between customers and businesses. And when the middle class thrives, businesses grow and hire and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is such a fantastic deal for the middle class and the rich.
“So ladies and gentlemen, here’s an idea worth spreading: In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are middle class consumers, and taxing the rich to make investments that make the middle class grow and thrive is the single shrewdest thing we can do for the middle class, for the poor, and for the rich.”