By now, some of us, at least, are wearily familiar with the refrain, “cut taxes, cut regulation, and we’ll show you jobs.”
That’s of course a crock. Note that the first 8 years of the 2000s, when the Right largely held sway over the federal government machinery, in the wake of the de-regulation of the financial industry and after major tax cuts, we got . . . pretty much nothing. Nothing in terms of job creation, wage increases, economic security. Mostly zip.
Some people, as many of us have documented, made out like bandits (literally, in some cases). The rest of us lost ground, and new jobs weren’t exactly popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain. To be sure, it was nothing like the decade before it, with all those nasty taxes and regulations and . . . one of the biggest economic booms in our history.
But the plaint will not die. However, the Washington Post has a very good Page 1 piece on the emptiness of corporate promises that if we give them everything they want, we’ll be rewarded in return. Kinda sounds like a come-on from a teenage boy to his girlfriend in the back of his parents’ car to me.
My favorite part is a quick fact-check of the American Petroleum Institute’s hustle for lower regulation, promising more jobs:
Moreover, the single biggest category of people working directly for the petroleum industry is cashiers at gasoline stations and stations with convenience stores — 533,830 of them, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet hardly any of those cashiers pump gas, check engines or inflate tires; mostly they ring up sales of snacks, not gasoline. According to the Labor Department, their median hourly wage is a meager $8.68.
Match that, for example, with the potential growth of green jobs, the ones that have come under such intense fire from the Right after the Solyndra debacle. Turns out, the green economy is larger, in terms of jobs, than the petroleum industry, and isn’t killing our planet to boot – Brookings on Sizing the Clean Economy
In short, don’t buy the line. Economic growth will come from investment, either from the private sector (one more time – sitting on about $1.8 Large) or the public (one more time – raise taxes to make those investments). Tax cuts won’t get it; neither will reducing protections to consumers, workers, or the environment.