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).

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Giving Workers More Freedom Is ‘Devastating’ To Fox News

The Congressional Budget Office just released their latest set of economic projections for the next decade and the data provides some good news for America’s workers. But never let it be said that Fox News would receive such information and honestly present it to their woefully deceived audience. The headline at the top of the Fox Nation website trumpeted that the CBO’s report was “Devastating News for ObamaCare: Over 2 Million Workers Will Lose Jobs.”

Fox Nation

For more brutal deconstructions of Fox lies, read Fox Nation vs. Reality.

Oh my. That would be devastating – If it were true. However, the CBO report never said any such thing. The truth is that ObamaCare will provide workers with more freedom of choice due to the fact that they will no longer be shackled to jobs they don’t want or need simply because they can’t afford to lose their medical benefits. What ObamaCare does is to make health care affordable so that people can decide whether to continue their employment based on factors other than their health plan. Here is how the CBO phrased it:

“The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).”

What this means is that workers may voluntarily choose to leave their jobs or work fewer hours. It does not mean that employers will fire anyone or cut staffing. And when a worker freely decides to resign, it is ridiculous to say that they “lost” their job. They didn’t lose it. They know where it is still. It’s just that they have chosen not to go there anymore (h/t Bobcat Goldthwait). That’s called freedom of choice.

There are many reasons why someone might leave a job under these circumstances. They may be seniors who wish to retire. They may be young mothers who want to be at home with their children. They may want to seek opportunities at other companies. They may be entrepreneurs who require more time to start a new business. Before ObamaCare these choices may not have been available because people were locked into their employer-provided health plan at a job that was not otherwise helping them achieve their personal goals. Now they will have more freedom to structure their lives in a manner that is more satisfying or appropriate to their circumstances.

Nevertheless, the Fox Nationalists falsely portrayed this exercise of free choice by workers as “lost jobs.” Then they judged this phony loss a devastating blow to ObamaCare. Their source for this blatantly misleading analysis is the “Moonie” Washington Times, a disreputable newspaper with an ultra-conservative bias. But it doesn’t stop there. The same fraudulent reading of the CBO study was aired on the Fox News Channel where they recruited criminal/congressman Darrell Issa to lambaste the “bombshell” report.

It’s no wonder that so many studies have proven that Fox News viewers are more ill-informed than viewers of other news outlets – and even those who view no news at all. The problem with the Fox News audience has never been that they lack information. The problem is that the information they have is more than likely untrue. We’ve been warned about this in the past by some notable thinkers:

“Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Fox Nation
[Update] As Fox Nation escalates their mischaracterization of the CBO report with a feature story asserting a “Death Blow,” PolitiFact has analyzed the spin and the conservative claim that jobs will be lost due to ObamaCare. They found specific allegations, as articulated by House Speaker John Boehner and Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, to be “Mostly False.”

PolitiFact: “They made it sound as if jobs are going away because businesses don’t create them or because they eliminated existing jobs. The CBO report, though, was referring to workers who decide on their own to leave the workforce, because they don’t have to keep working a job just to keep their health benefits.”

[Reprise] The REAL Job Creators: Share This Infographic To Undo GOP Fallacy

With the presidential election behind us, the public discourse turns once again to more substantive matters, first of which is the fearful prospect of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Setting aside the fact that the cliff itself is a figment of media imagination, it is nevertheless necessary for congress to address tax policy.

As the debate heats up in advance of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, conservatives are trotting out their tired rhetoric about the risk of allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire and the allegedly detrimental impact it would have on what they call job creators. However, they are deliberately distorting facts in order to benefit their wealthy patrons. Last year I published an analysis of the right-wing effort to confuse the issue along with an infographic that laid out the case for who the real job creators are. This seems like a good time to re-publish it and direct credit for creating jobs to those who actually deserve it.


Occupy Messaging: Who Are The Real Job Creators?

December 13, 2011

For too long now, right-wing propagandists like Frank Luntz have been manipulating language to distort the real issues that impact so many lives of American citizens. They engage in dishonest wordcraft that disguises their true meaning in order to shape public opinion and deceive voters. It’s time to counter that rhetorical offensive by restoring definitions that actually reflect reality.

One of the most recent and insidious examples of this practice is the conservative effort to replace references to “the rich” with the phrase “job creators.” It is of no interest to these hacks that no evidence exists to validate the claim. In fact, NPR’s congressional reporter, Tamara Keith, asked members of congress and representatives of conservative business groups to refer her to business people who could substantiate the assertion that tax cuts for the wealthy would induce them to increase hiring. They were unable to come up with a single name or example to affirm their half-baked theory. However, Keith found several examples of her own that utterly refuted it. This caused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to note that “Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They are impossible to find and don’t exist.”

The agenda that Republicans have adopted has literally no popular constituency. Every poll taken on the subject reveals that majorities of Americans (including majorities of Republicans) favor increasing taxes on the rich. Even polls of the rich show that they believe that they are not presently sharing the sacrifice required to restore the nation’s economic health. An independent group of Patriotic Millionaires released a video beseeching Congress to raise their taxes.

So the next time you hear some GOP flunky whining about the plight of the rich whose only desire is to be unburdened from the shackles of what are the lowest taxes in decades, remember that they have not, and cannot, certify any claim that lower taxes will spur hiring. In fact, the evidence is all to the contrary. And whenever possible, we need to recapture the phrase “job creators” and use it in a manner that is more in line with reality. Here is a handy, shareable chart that illustrates who the real job creators are:

(click to view larger)
Job Creators


Some conservatives are beginning to admit that lavishing benefits on those who are already wealthy does nothing to stimulate the economy. Bill Kristol recently said that “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.” Ben Stein, with some apparent reluctance, told Gretchen Carlson that “With all due respect to Fox…” “We’re going to have to raise taxes on very, very rich people.”

This is the beginning of the wall crumbling down. The right knows that they cannot continue to be seen as only fighting for the welfare of the rich. They know that they have already lost this argument and that now it is only a matter of finding a way to concede without losing face (or Tea Party support).

Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Jobs Council Fraud?

The headline story on Fox Nation today calls the President’s Jobs Council a fraud. There is nothing in the story that indicates what the nature of the alleged fraud is, but the charge stills hangs there like rotting fruit.

Fox Nation

The root of the complaint has something to do with the frequency with which President Obama meets with the White House Jobs Council. The Fox Nationalists appear to be upset that he doesn’t do it often enough. Coincidentally (wink), that’s the same theme that Mitt Romney has been pitching on the campaign trail recently.

But here’s the thing. The Jobs Council has mostly done its work already. They issued a report with some specific recommendations. Those recommendations have been addressed by both the administration and Congress. The White House has acted on 54 of the 60 recommendations for executive action. Congress passed the JOBS Act which contained many of the ideas proposed by the Council. There are many other proposals that Republicans in Congress are blocking because they are more focused on making Obama a one-term president than they are on helping Americans get back to work.

It’s ironic that Romney and Fox are so concerned with the meeting schedule of a Council that they so fiercely opposed. They have rejected many of its recommendations and they were never particularly fond of its formation. Fox News in particular was maniacally critical of its chairman, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric. Bill O’Reilly called him “a despicable human being” on the air. So it’s rather peculiar that they are now upset that Obama hasn’t spent more time with them. Of course, if he did meet more often they would be crticizing that.

Occupy Messaging: Who Are The Real Job Creators?

For too long now, right-wing propagandists like Frank Luntz have been manipulating language to distort the real issues that impact so many lives of American citizens. They engage in dishonest wordcraft that disguises their true meaning in order to shape public opinion and deceive voters. It’s time to counter that rhetorical offensive by restoring definitions that actually reflect reality.

One of the most recent and insidious examples of this practice is the conservative effort to replace references to “the rich” with the phrase “job creators.” It is of no interest to these hacks that no evidence exists to validate the claim. In fact, NPR’s congressional reporter, Tamara Keith, asked members of congress and representatives of conservative business groups to refer her to business people who could substantiate the assertion that tax cuts for the wealthy would induce them to increase hiring. They were unable to come up with a single name or example to affirm their half-baked theory. However, Keith found several examples of her own that utterly refuted it. This caused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to note that “Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They are impossible to find and don’t exist.”

The agenda that Republicans have adopted has literally no popular constituency. Every poll taken on the subject reveals that majorities of Americans (including majorities of Republicans) favor increasing taxes on the rich. Even polls of the rich show that they believe that they are not presently sharing the sacrifice required to restore the nation’s economic health. An independent group of Patriotic Millionaires released a video beseeching Congress to raise their taxes.

So the next time you hear some GOP flunky whining about the plight of the rich whose only desire is to be unburdened from the shackles of what are the lowest taxes in decades, remember that they have not, and cannot, certify any claim that lower taxes will spur hiring. In fact, the evidence is all to the contrary. And whenever possible, we need to recapture the phrase “job creators” and use it in a manner that is more in line with reality. Here is a handy, shareable chart that illustrates who the real job creators are:

(click to view larger)
Job Creators

[Addendum] President Obama asked these questions in his economic address last month:

Are you going to cut taxes for the middle class and those who are trying to get into the middle class? Or are you going to protect massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, many of whom don’t even want those tax breaks?

Are you going to ask a few hundred thousand people who have done very, very well to do their fair share? Or are you going to raise taxes for hundreds of millions of people across the country – 160 million Americans?

Are you willing to fight as hard for middle-class families as you do for those who are most fortunate?

What’s it going to be?

A Hire Power: The Local Approach To Resolving The Job Crisis Nationally

Hire PowerAmerica is at a crossroads on this Labor Day. We can sit back and wait for greedy, impersonal corporations, or politicians with conflicts of interest and hyper-partisanship, to come to the rescue of middle and low-income citizens, or we can submit to a Hire Power!

About two and half years ago the United States hit a boulder in the economic road. Venerable money center banks were crushed under the weight of spurious investments and barely legal schemes. There was a broad consensus that absent some dramatic response there would be a catastrophic failure of the nation’s financial foundations which, of course, would spread throughout the world.

The markets panicked, plummeting 5,000 points (45%) from September 2008 to March 2009. Home foreclosures skyrocketed and the unemployment rate rose from 6.2% to 8.6%. In the meantime, Washington scrambled to legislate bailouts and stimuli for banks, insurance companies, and auto manufacturers, somehow neglecting to provide aid to millions of middle and low-income victims of this banking-driven disaster.

Today the Dow Jones average is back above 11,000, about where it was in September 2008, and nearly double its low. Investment firms like Goldman Sachs have fared well also. Goldman’s stock today is 150% above where it had bottomed out. Automakers like GM and Chrysler are once again profitable and paying back their government loans. And the unemployment rate has … well … it’s gotten even worse, rising to 9.1%.

So by almost every measure the economic recovery has been swift and robust with one exception: Jobs. The nation is experiencing what analysts call a “jobless” recovery. The companies that have been enjoying renewed success thanks to consumer support are still hesitant about hiring. They are hoarding their resources to either avoid new risk or to reward themselves with higher salaries and bonuses.

It’s clear that the American people cannot rely on big business to address the jobs deficit that is still burdening so many families. It’s time to take matters into our own hands. Small businesses have the power to effect a massive change in the current economic environment. Some estimates show that more than 70% of new jobs are created by small businesses. It is within that market that ordinary citizens can bypass the greedy and insensitive corporations who are only interested in enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of us. They have already demonstrated that they couldn’t care less about American workers by their refusal to create new jobs, or when they do create jobs, it’s for workers in other countries.

So what can we do about It? We can promote the creation of new jobs by small business in our own communities. If small businesses with fewer than 100 employees were to commit to hiring one person – just one person – the effect on the community could be significant. Take Rhode Island, for example. The state has about 6,200 businesses with between 10 and 100 employees. If each one of them hired a single new employee, that would be 6,200 Rhode Islanders with a job that previously did not have one. It would reduce unemployment in the state by one percent. It would mean that 6,200 fewer people would be receiving unemployment benefits and other government aid. 6,200 more people would be contributing to, rather than draining, public resources.

More importantly, it would mean an additional 6,200 people would have income with which to patronize other businesses in the community. Restaurants, dry cleaners, book stores, etc., would prosper. Suppliers and manufacturers who service those businesses would see increased demand. And all of those businesses would then be able to explore hiring more people as well, continuing the cycle of prosperity.

Make no mistake about it. The right-wing myth of trickle-down economics is a proven failure. For ten years corporations have enjoyed the supposedly temporary tax cuts implemented under the Bush administration, but they have not been creating jobs. The reason is simple. Companies do not create jobs for the heck of it. Lowering their taxes or repealing regulations will not produce a single new job. After all, why would a company hire people to make more of something that they aren’t selling just because their taxes went down? Companies hire people when they have increased demand for their products or services. Increased demand occurs when consumers are buying things. So when people have good paying jobs and money in their pockets they will make purchases which will spur companies to meet the new demand by hiring more workers.

But maybe there is a way to prime the jobs pump. The goal should be to put more people to work so that they can distribute their income back into the economy. This effort may take some measure of faith on the part of the businesses who take the initial step to hire a new employee. Some businesses may not be able to fully justify a new hire. Do it anyway! The potential upside for the business and the broader economy makes it a reasonable risk. There is a sort of patriotic duty to assume such a risk on behalf of the welfare of our country. If enough of your neighbors join in, the rewards will be substantial. In the worst case scenario, you may have to let the new employee go in a few weeks or months. But at least he or she would have been employed briefly, and the cost to the business would have been negligible. It’s the sort of speculative investment that is worthwhile even if it does not guarantee a return.

On the other hand, if it does succeed, the nation’s economic health can be restored community-by-community. We can build out this program and spread it across the country. Neighbors helping neighbors. No dependence on government programs that do too little and are too difficult to implement. Medium-sized businesses can participate by hiring two or three new people. Big businesses would eventually recognize the momentum and loosen up their own purse strings to hire in even greater numbers. And the spending by all of these newly employed citizens would finance the economic rebound that everyone has been hoping for.

Does this seem too idealistic? Too fanciful and unrealistic given the harsh dimensions of our economic hardships? Let’s ask the city of Atlanta whose “Hire One Atlanta” program is already in progress and showing promising results. So far, nearly 1,500 businesses have added more than 13,000 workers. They are aiming for 150,000 jobs over the course of a year. They make a compelling argument on their web site:

“Hire one new employee and you’ll start a chain of events that can positively impact individuals and our entire economy.  According to one analyst, a single new hire can (on average) increase U.S. GDP by about $100,000. Imagine if 150,000 businesses each hired just one person.”

That’s a $15 billion boost to the economy, and that’s just in one city. Last week the city of Greensboro, North Carolina announced that they will implement a program similar to the one in Atlanta. Why not spread this across the nation and put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work? The spike in spending, investing, and consumer confidence could be just what is needed to finally bring the economic recovery to the job market. And rather than just the top 1% of the nation’s wealthy elite enjoying the benefits of a rebound, all Americans can share in a growing and healthy economy.

The best part is that all of this can be accomplished by ordinary citizens inspired by the power unleashed in the simple act of of hiring their neighbors. So let’s get started. This is what we call Hire Power!