fresh voices from the front lines of change







They used to say that the money wealthy people spent would trickle down to everyone else, but nobody was really buying it. I’m not sure anyone’s buying this either:

“Let’s define rich,” Scarborough suggested. “So, what’s the cutoff? Is it $500,000?”

“I don’t even want to get into what the cutoff is because I don’t think we should get into this definition,” Ryan said. “But I’m not going to give you what I think is a rich person and what I think is not a rich person because you have to look at the fact that these are job creators.”

As I was reminded earlier today, even poor Americans are richer than 98% of the rest of the world. By that measure, we’re all rich.

But within the US it’s not hard at all to figure out who has most of the money:

And as for the “job creators” well, I happen to have a rich person right here to tell you all about it:

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Inc.

Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

This brings us right back to the increasingly obvious fact that Randroids like Paul Ryan simply can’t be entrusted with the nation’s financial decisions. They don’t understand (or care) how democratic capitalism works — and they’re going to kill it.

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