Hillary Clinton Smeared By Fox News For Correctly Analyzing Trickle-Down Economics

During the 2012 presidential campaign President Obama gave a speech wherein he paid tribute to the American people who collectively created an environment for business to prosper. That environment included paying for the roads, bridges, water and electricity facilities, and other infrastructure necessities without which the economy would whither.

However, one sentence fragment was lifted out of context from that speech by Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his friendly media cohorts, and used to unfairly clobber the President. That sound bite, you may recall, was when Obama reminded the proprietor class that “You didn’t build that,” meaning that every business has benefited from the investments made by our society and government.

Well, here we go again. Yesterday on Fox News the curvy-couch potatoes of Fox & Friends hosted a segment that focused solely on a sentence fragment that was part of a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Trickle Down

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Clinton was speaking at a rally in support of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. The comment in its sliced-up form was “Don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” In essence it is barely different than Obama’s comment two years ago. But it is just as deceitfully excised from its original context. Here is what Clinton actually said:

“Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.

“And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.

“One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up.”

It’s plain as day that Clinton was referring to the discredited sham known as trickle-down economics. She also hammered Republicans for opposing a pay raise for America’s workers while simultaneously pushing for a tax cut for America’s wealthy. That is exactly the reverse of what is needed to stimulate the economy. When the middle class has more money in their pockets they spend it, increasing profits for businesses and creating the demand that spurs employers to hire. Conversely, when the rich get more money it is typically directed to Wall Street or retirement accounts which have no productive impact on job growth.

Particularly disturbing were the comments by Fox’s business maven, Maria Bartiromo. For someone who should know better, she offered an ignorant appraisal of how the job market works. She accused Clinton of calling business evil, which never happened, and turned the whole debate into a political drama saying…

“Everybody knows that businesses create jobs. I mean, this is not brain surgery. We know that businesses, people that run business actually create the jobs. And I think Hillary knows that as well. [...] Here we are a week away from the midterms, she’s gearing up for 2016, she’s firing up the base.”

Apparently Bartiromo knows even less about economics than she does about brain surgery. Businesses do not create jobs. They create products and services. But there are no jobs until there is consumer demand. That means people have to want the products and have the funds to pay for them. If a company has such demand for their product they will hire new employees. If there is no demand they will not hire anyone, no matter how many tax breaks they get.

[For a deeper look into who the "Real Job Creators" are, see this article and infographic]

The big fallacy about business is that it focused on creating jobs. But that isn’t true and the proof is that no business sits around trying to figure out ways to increase its expenditures on staff. To the contrary, they spend a great deal of time trying to find staff they can cut. Since their mission is to increase profits, their goal is to reduce expenses, and personnel are generally first on the list of cost-cutting measures. That’s one of the reasons that businesses are so drawn to outsourcing to foreign labor.

So businesses, rather than being job creators, are more often job destroyers, trying to operate with the fewest number of employees possible. And when Clinton says not to let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses that create jobs, she is spot on. It is, and has always been, consumers that create the demand that creates jobs. Trickle-down economics was a fat-cat scam from its inception. Fox News and other right-wing deceivers will perpetually mislead their ill-informed flock, but the truth is available for those clear-eyed enough to want to see it (which means no Fox News viewers or Tea Partiers).

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Fox News Nitwits: Cheap Student Loans Keep People Out Of The Labor Market

If there is one thing that is not in short supply at Fox News, it’s raving, rampant, drooling stupidity. Whether expressed by their denial of science, their embrace of religious mythology, or their gullible acceptance of ludicrous conspiracy theories, Fox slathers on the dumb in thick layers. But today was one of those occasions that merit special recognition.

On Fox & Friends Sunday (video below), co-host Tucker Carlson questioned right-wing economist Peter Morici about the unemployment rate and how it is all President Obama’s fault that it isn’t lower (even though it has declined 25% since the highs produced by the Bush recession). Carlson and Morici agreed that one of the major contributing factors to the “crisis” is that Obama has artificially kept student loan rates down in a scheme to push the unemployment rate lower.

Morici: The president has been buying lower unemployment rates by essentially providing very cheap student loans and keeping people out of the labor market.
Carlson: Exactly. So, cheap student loans keep people out of the labor market. This is a dangerous spiral.

Indeed. This devious plot to help young people get an education must stop. We need to send them out into a difficult job market at the earliest opportunity so that employers can exploit their ignorance and inexperience with long hours, low wages, and few benefits. Why even bother with paying their way through high school? The last thing America needs is well-informed citizens with advanced degrees. We can get them from India at a significant discount. And if everyone were educated, who the hell would be left to watch Fox News? Other than, of course, the fine residents of southern red states:

Red State Education
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Ending this socialist abomination of financial assistance for students would give a huge boost to the economy. Corporations would become more profitable due to sharply reduced payroll expenses. Of course, they would also be hard pressed to find skilled workers, but they are already solving that problem by sending those jobs to China. This provides a related foreign policy benefit by forcing the Chinese to waste their money on educating their citizens.

There are other lessons in this for the bureaucrats in Washington. For instance, child labor laws are another major obstacle that keeps young people out of the labor market. And we have more than two million prisoners who could be put to work. And why should people who enlist in the military be taken off of the employment rolls? And what about all of those lazy senior citizens who so conveniently “retire,” so that they are no longer counted in the unemployment statistics (we’re on to you Obama)? For that matter, we could significantly reduce our Medicare and Social Security burden by making loafing seniors get off their butts or pay for their own heart bypass surgery and chemotherapy. For those unable to do so, America saves a fortune on health care when they die. We’d save billions on their frivolous prescription meds alone.

Thank goodness for Fox News who are the only media outlet with the courage to call out kids who are ripping off the nation by seeking to get an education. But then, Fox has long been at the forefront of the education hoax. They regularly disparage institutions of higher learning as bastions of liberal elitism. They campaign for defunding and/or privatization of public schools. They advocate home schooling as an alternative to trained and competent instruction. They oppose common sense programs to improve the efficiency of curriculum standards, even going to the extreme of portraying them as conspiracies to indoctrinate our children.

Clearly, Fox News has performed heroically in the battle against knowledge. And these remarks by privileged upper-cruster Tucker Carlson (whose parents were wealthy enough to pay for his education like the Founders intended) are further evidence of Fox’s commitment to preserving education for the rich and menial servitude for everyone else.

Fox News Sucker Punches American Workers Every Day

The InterTubes are abuzz with a piddling story about a douchebag from Breitbart/Fox News who got what looks like a popped pimple on his forehead after confronting union protesters in Michigan.

Steven CrowderSteven Crowder, is a self-described comedian (though there is no evidence to document that) who is trying to make a name for himself by emulating faux-journalist James O’Keefe. That mission brought him to Lansing, Michigan yesterday where he somehow managed to rile up an otherwise peaceful gathering of 13,000 union protesters. One has to wonder why the only report of hostility just happened to be where Crowder was stationed with his video team.

The video Crowder later posted on line was, in the style of O’Keefe, heavily edited. The portion that showed an alleged union member swinging at Crowder was cut to exclude most of the activity prior to the altercation. However, in a longer clip that was shown on Hannity (below), it could be seen clearly that just prior to the swingfest, the union member was on the ground. There is no explanation for how he got there, such as the possibility that he had been assaulted first by Crowder and was retaliating. Crowder has repeatedly lied in saying that he was sucker-punched, because the video also clearly shows that he was facing the union member at the time the punches were thrown. And it appears that the union member was reacting with the sort of anger that someone who had just been assaulted might be feeling. Also, Crowder rushed the union member after the first punch, displaying his size advantage, but then pulled back as if he just remembered that the cameras were rolling and he had forgotten momentarily his goal of portraying the protesters as violent.

For someone who was allegedly brutalized by fiendish thugs, Crowder seemed rather giddy in his subsequent appearances on Fox News (twice in less than 24 hours). He confessed to Sean Hannity that he intentionally sought to provoke the protesters, saying with a smarmy smile…

“I went out here to prove the left for who they truly are. Certainly, these union thugs. And I’ve achieved that.”

On Fox & Friends Crowder issued a contrived macho challenge to the union member to engage in a Mixed Martial Arts match – an absurd suggestion considering that he is bigger and younger than his opponent, and trained in MMA. Crowder is scheduled for another Fox stint with Neil Cavuto tonight.

The entire demeanor of Crowder in his post-bout media tour is one of someone proud of having successfully carried out a preconceived mission to fabricate bad publicity for the workers seeking to defend their rights. This is not a game to them. They have just been sucker punched themselves by a right-wing state regime that is assaulting their jobs, their livelihoods, and their families. The Michigan governor and legislators rammed this law through without notification or public debate.

To make matters worse, Fox News, and others in the conservative mediasphere, have thrown their own sucker punches at America’s working families by promoting right-to-work (for less) laws that have been proven to result in lower wages, worse working conditions, and have never been shown to create additional jobs. Nevertheless, Fox has characterized the Michigan law as a “victory for capitalism.” They have long sought to portray union members as thugs, rather than as the families they are, struggling to support themselves in a society that permits corporations to make record profits, lavish million dollar bonuses on executives, and then whine that they have no money to fairly compensate their working-class employees.

This sort of misrepresentation and vilification of average Americans goes on daily in the right-wing press. It is emotional abuse that has to pile up over time and create anxiety and frustration. While violence is never an appropriate response to a political dispute, these occurrences have to be evaluated in the broader context of the environment that surrounds them. And when people are being attacked by their so-called representatives, and their lives are being upended by out-of-touch elitists, it is hard not to expect that tempers will flare.

That may have occurred yesterday in Lansing. Or it may be that an overzealous media whore initiated the entire affair with his own provocative behavior and hostility. Time may shed more light on the facts, but it is undeniable that working Americans are not going to give in to the corrupt bosses in executive suites and statehouses. Nor should they. Working people are the backbone of our nation and they deserve better than to be exploited by self-serving politicians and third-rate clowns acting as outside agitators.

National Papa John’s Depreciation Day – Or How To Buy Health Care For 14 Cents

Well, here’s a bad idea, if there ever was one. “National Papa John’s Appreciation Day.” This is brought to you by the folks who supported Chick-Fil-A’s bigotry with an assist from Fox News.

Let’s say there is a nationwide pizza franchise that earns $1.2 billion annually, and whose owner is worth about $350 million. And this cheesy enterprise decides that providing health care for the employees who are central to its success is just too expensive, despite the fact that it would produce healthier, more productive employees and release the federal government and all other insured Americans from the burden of picking up the tab. Never mind that the company gives away millions of pizzas in promotions with the NFL, or that the total additional cost of the health care is only about $0.14 per pizza, or that the owner’s projections are that the program will only cost about $5-8 million a year (less than 1/2 of 1% of earnings)

Then let’s say that this pizza vendor announces that, rather than reducing his profit margins fractionally, or finding other ways to cut costs (like the exorbitant executive salaries), he’s planning to layoff already struggling, low-income employees or reduce their hours so that they don’t qualify for health care – not to mention making it harder for them to buy groceries or pay rent.

Who in their right mind would promote a campaign to support this fiendish and greedy scheme? Fox News of course. Today they are featuring two stories that directly benefit a social media effort to “Stand With Papa John.” The plan is to get people who are in favor of exacerbating the hardships of workers and their families to patronize the pizza parlor on November 16. No doubt they’ll find a few tasteless schmucks who will participate. But screwing your employees to avoid offering them health care over just 14 cents is nobody’s idea of fatherly.

Papa John - Deadbeat Dad

John Schnatter has officially became America’s Deadbeat Dad. And Fox News is his enabler. Just like the Chick-Fil-A affair earlier this year, it is so disappointing to see people rallying around businesses that make hatred and greed the prime ingredient in their product. That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing decent people would turn into a cause celebre. And since that isn’t a particularly good idea, here’s a better one: Print out copies of the “coupon” above and take them to a Papa John’s on Appreciation Day. Leave a few around for other customers so they know exactly how immoral the owner of this pizzeria is.

The Real Post-Wisconsin Right-Wing Agenda: Kill The Unions

During the long and bitter recall campaign against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, the Republicans insisted that their sole purpose was to cut wasteful spending and bring down government deficits. Most of the working families of Wisconsin knew that wasn’t true. Walker’s agenda was aimed squarely at collective bargaining rights that had been won over decades of hard fought negotiations. The result was a better quality of life for workers in the state, both in and out of unions.

In the past week, however, the veil has been lifted, and the anti-worker conservative’s motives are now being expressed openly and without the deceptive pretenses that characterized the pro-Walker campaign.

Kill The Unions

Immediately following the election results, the National Review’s Rich Lowry published an article with the provocative title, “All That’s ‘Left’ Is to Sound the Death Knell for Unions.” Lowry gleefully wrote of the defeat of the recall, disparagingly portraying the 1.16 million pro-recall voters as “hippie leftovers and lefty college students.” But the unadulterated focus of the article was on his notion that public sector unions were on the decline and should be abolished.

Today on Fox News Sunday, that sentiment was affirmed by Indiana mayor (and prospective Romney running mate) Mitch Daniels, who said that “I think, really, government works better without them.” That’s a little like having the CEO of General Motors express his preference for not having to deal with auto worker’s unions. Of course not. They would both prefer to be able to exploit workers and deny them reasonable benefits and working conditions without the interference of worker’s advocates.

The fact that the right is now openly declaring their intention to abolish unions indicates the confidence with which they believe they can pursue that goal. They have always wanted to go back to the days when corporations could set the rules and employees had to take it or leave it. But after the success of the movement for worker’s rights and union representation they pretended to moderate their stance and accommodate the unions. Now that facade has apparently been demolished and management factions of business and government are re-mobilizing to roll back the gains won through prior negotiations.

Lowry and Daniels, and the right-wing media that support them, had better be careful. The results of the recall in Wisconsin were not an affirmation of some general opposition to unions. And with 1.16 million voters supporting the recall (vs. 1.33 million for Walker), there is still abundant support for the rights of workers. And there is no evidence that anti-recall voters were anti-union.

Not discussed much since the election is the fact that the recall of another Republican state senator was successful, which flips the majority control of the senate to the Democrats. So clearly the hooting on behalf of giddy Republicans is premature. They are not as popular as they think they are. And now, Walker’s regressive policies will not be rubber-stamped by a GOP legislature.

But Democrats must not be complacent. The right has overtly declared war on unions. It is no longer a secret agenda hidden behind a disingenuously expressed sympathy for workers. It is out in the open and it must be countered effectively and vigorously. They have thrown down the gauntlet and it is up to the left to step up and challenge them. This is a battle we can win because, while they may have millions of dollars from vested special interests, we have the people on our side.

Sarah Palin’s Estranged Union Brothers and Sisters

Sarah PalinIn a new Facebook treatise, Sarah Palin has proven again how oblivious she is to reality.

The essay begins by criticizing President Obama for remarks he didn’t make. Palin, and much of the conservative noise machine, is aghast that Teamsters President James Hoffa, Jr. gave a speech with colorful rhetoric about “going to war” against anti-labor right-wingers and “taking out” the Tea Party “sons-of-bitches” in congress in the next election. In the post-Giffords era it is unwise to use such provocative language. But for Palin, who still defends her brazenly hostile admonition, “Don’t Retreat – Reload,” to complain about it is an Olympian feat of hypocrisy.

Then Palin begins the third paragraph with something that actually sounds reasonable:

“To the same degree Americans are concerned about irresponsible, greedy corporate execs who got cushy bonuses from taxpayer-funded bailouts…”

That’s a pretty enlightened comment from a Republican. The problem is that she and her GOP pals have never before accepted the notion that corporate execs are greedy and irresponsible, even though the American people have known it for some time. But Palin spoils the moment with the remainder of her sentence:

“…we should also be concerned about greedy union bosses who are willing to tank our economy just to protect their own power.”

Here we have a small lapse in logic in that Palin provides no evidence that union bosses are doing any such thing. And since union bosses become bosses through union elections, union members are confident that their chosen leaders are working on their behalf. And if you listen to folks like Hoffa you can always hear their passion for policies that benefit labor, as opposed to Palin’s agenda of further enriching the wealthy and powerful. Palin goes on to make the ludicrous comment that union leaders are…

“…chasing American industry offshore by making outrageous, economically illogical demands that they know will never work.”

Why would they do that? How would it help them to retain their power, which is what Palin asserts is their motive? If What Palin says is true, then union leaders could just as easily support her agenda and produce more jobs, which would produce more union dues and the loyalty of members. So once again, Palin’s critique is utterly devoid of logic.

Then Palin really goes off the rails. She makes some sort of connection between union leaders and their “politically aligned corporate friends.” Since when were union leaders and corporate honchos friends? And Palin continues into fairytale land where Obama is both a socialist and a corporatist:

“This collusion is at the heart of Obama’s economic vision for America. In practice it is socialism for the very rich and the very poor, but a brutal form of capitalism for the rest of us.”

The gist of Palin’s argument is that Obama of advocating spreading the wealth to poor people via services to prevent them from starving, becoming homeless, or dying from lack of medical care. And she also accuses him of socialist advocacy for the rich via bailouts and cutting back on regulations. Unfortunately for Palin, Obama never signed a bailout bill. That was George Bush’s baby. And as for regulations, she is trying to have it both ways by accusing Obama of giving in to the corporations on regulatory policy at the same time as she is criticizing the administration for executing too may regulations. This peculiar schizophrenia is summed up in her next paragraph:

“Ask yourself if the folks you heard demonize concerned, independent Americans [her name for Tea Baggers] yesterday really speak for the working class when they’re all too happy to burden your families with the bill to bail out the President’s friends on Wall Street.”

Really? The union bosses are happy to bail out Wall Street bankers? Since when? Where does she get this stuff? I’m beginning to get worried about her. From this bit of dementia she segues to an insinuation that Obama is guilty of graft and cronyism simply because he lived in Chicago for awhile. She provides no proof, of course. It is just the most vile brand of guilt by association, which she says “isn’t just the result of a few bad apples. It’s the nature of a skewed system.” So, according to her, everybody’s guilty.

This long-winded assault on working people, and the leaders of the union movement that supports them, is Palin’s way of endearing herself to the group. I’m afraid she is not going to have much success with that plan. American labor isn’t stupid and they know when someone is trying to use and manipulate them. They know who their champions are, as well as their enemies. And without any doubt, they know who the sons-of-bitches are who would lie to them on behalf of the corporate masters that seek only to exploit them for greater wealth. Give it up, Sarah. It isn’t gonna work.