Jobs and Welfare: How Republicans Get it Completely Wrong

jobsWhen it comes to the Republican party, I don’t think it’s any secret that I don’t believe they live in the same reality as the rest of us.  In fact, as time goes on, they seem to actually be believing their own propaganda.

Election night 2012 was a perfect example of this.  Watching Karl Rove sit there on Fox News, seemingly in denial over the fact that President Obama had just won re-election despite the fact that nearly every credible poll out there said he was headed for an easy victory.  The only people saying Romney had a chance were extremely partisan right-wing polls and Fox News.  Watching Rove that night, it seemed as if he had bought into his own fabricated lies.

You see this kind of denial of reality when it comes to the Republican ideology behind jobs and welfare.

When it comes to “job creation,” basically all Republicans say is, “Let the free market decide, trickle-down economics is the answer.”

And even though it’s indisputable that since the dawn of trickle-down economics the rich have become richer than ever while the poor and middle class continue to fall further and further behind – they still cling to this believe that “tax cuts create jobs.”  Even though facts and reality overwhelmingly show that the two aren’t at all related.

If higher tax rates killed jobs, then our worst decades as a country would have come during the 50’s and 60’s when we had much higher taxes.  But they weren’t.  In fact, the 50’s and 60’s is a period of our history when this country thrived.

If tax cuts meant more (and better paying) jobs, then the middle class should be flourishing right now – but they’re not.

Of course Republicans blame this on President Obama.  After all, it’s his fault the rich (who continue to set records for how much wealth they possess) aren’t creating jobs.  Even though the theory of “trickle-down economics” essentially dictates the more the wealthy have, the better it will be for the rest of us.  It seems like he’s done a great job at ensuring the rich stay rich.  It’s these “job creators” who aren’t doing their part.

Which leads me into welfare.  Republicans also strongly oppose welfare.  They see welfare benefits as a reason for someone not to work.  As if welfare benefits provide some lavish life of luxury.

Now, they’re right when they say some Americans abuse the system.  I don’t think anyone is denying that.  But those who abuse our welfare programs represent the vast minority of those on welfare, not the majority.  Most people on these programs would love to have a job that paid enough to provide for their family.

But that’s the problem – not enough of those jobs exist.

Then let’s not forget the fact that millions of people working full-time jobs are on welfare because those jobs don’t pay enough to support their families.

It’s not that people don’t want to work, it’s that these “job creators” continue to cut jobs, pay and benefits so that they can continue to fatten their pockets and increase their revenue.

When you see a report showing that a company’s sales and stocks went up, but that company is eliminating jobs anyway, that means they’re just forcing the ones they didn’t layoff to do more work for probably the same amount of pay.

That’s the problem. 

Companies aren’t going to create jobs “just because.”  In fact, they’re going to do everything they can to eliminate jobs (or pay as little as possible) in an attempt to keep as much for themselves as possible.  That’s why trickle-down economics makes absolutely no sense.  It’s built on this idea that the rich will create jobs simply because they have a lot of money.

Except, they have a lot of money now.  They’re not looking for ways to give it away, they’re looking for ways to keep even more of it for themselves.

When someone says, “Let the market dictate wages,” what they’re essentially saying is, “Let’s let the company pay the least amount someone will take to do that job.”

If a company is paying someone $50,000 per year to do a job that should be getting paid $80,000, as long as there are workers willing to take $50,000 to do that job, that’s what the company is going to pay.  Even if the job being done should come with a much higher salary.

Which, again, is the problem.

We have too many workers wanting jobs and too many greedy corporations not creating them.  And if they do create them, they’re driving down wages because there’s more demand than supply.  They know they don’t have to offer someone $60,000 for a job because they can hire someone who’s extremely desperate for a job at a salary of $40,000.

And again, you could say tax cuts might fix this problem,  except we’ve been cutting taxes for over 30 years.  The rich are richer than they’ve ever been, yet this pattern continues.

Don’t even start with, “America’s corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world.”  That’s such a weak argument.  Tax loopholes have made it so that the effective tax rate most corporations pay is much lower than the actual tax rate they should be paying.

It’s why Republicans get both of these situations completely wrong.  Cutting taxes has nothing to do with job creation.  And cutting welfare benefits doesn’t suddenly make people want to work – because they’ve been wanting to work.

Demand creates jobs, and that’s one area Republicans never address.  They continue to perpetuate the con of trickle-down economics as this promise of economic prosperity – a promise that never delivers.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • strayaway

    i agree with the premise that Reagan’s tax cuts and trickle down theory didn’t work but we have had a Democratic President and Senate for over five years and a Democratic House in two of those years. Guess what? Bush and Reagan are no longer President or responsible for the 1% doing even better under Obama than under Bush. Obama made half of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich permanent.

    We do however have a coalition of Democrats, including the President, and status quo Republicans trying to sneak through the Trans Pacific Partnership which will put the finishing touches on turning the US into a corporatist (economically fascist) state. Politicians who promised to reign in bad trade deals lied. The jobs have and are being sent abroad for corporate profits while 8M illegal aliens are allowed to work here for lower wages and 1.3M Americans are about to have their already extended unemployment run out.

    As long as there is no demand for US workers because of bad federal policies, US workers will be unable to demand higher wages… if they are even lucky enough to have a job. If not, shovel out the welfare and indenture our children.

    • surfjac

      You seem worried about children and saying things guaranteed to make sure they have to pay our debt….
      We don’t pay enough taxes to balance the budget and we cut spending from the things we shouldn’t be cutting right now. When we close all the obsolete military bases overseas still active fighting a cold war, when we stop funding billion dollar companies with subsidies so they pay no tax, when taxes are paid on money squirreled away offshore, then maybe we can start to talk about, when corporations are corporations again not people, then maybe we can talk about creating jobs that pay so that we don’t have to support wal-mart workers or mcdonalds workers making minimum wage.
      But if you don’t want our children to pay this off, like Bill Clinton paid off our WWII debt, then we better do something.
      Tax cuts don’t create jobs, demand does. Oh yeah, a program like food stamps pays off $1.70 for every dollar spent. That’s a pretty good ROI.
      Also, I seem to remember a super minority, as it were, of republican’ts opposed to EVERYTHING the democrats put on the table. They’ve been petulant children, nothing more or less.

      • strayaway

        I didn’t say one word about cutting taxes. In fact, I support the Simpson Bowles Commission report that President Obama promised he would support but didn’t. It raises $1 of tax for every three dollars of spending cuts. I’m with you on cutting those bases, ending corporate welfare, and taxing offshore money. I would also shift taxes, to the extent possible, from the middle class to import corporations and fine the hell out of cheating employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. Taxing imports would be the best way of shifting taxes to the rich.

        I think it’s nonsense though to believe that “a program like food stamps pays off $1.70 for every dollar spent”. If that were so, then everybody in the Country should receive $10,000 of food stamps. Before you get carried away with a talking point, consider that someone has to be paid to administer such a program and someone else has less money in their pocket to spend for other things. Who cares what kind of such make believe garbage Democrats put on the table?

        Yes, I am concerned that the consequences of naive economics are going to be dumped on the laps of our children. It would be too politically unpopular to make us pay for all these things. China has a budget surplus it is using to buy up the world’s resources for its next generation while we are giving our children the bill for putting patches on our economy.

      • surfjac

        Good! phew, I was worried.

    • terry horn

      Reagan’s tax cuts and trickle down did work. Actually “Supply Side economics would be a better word. We need to go back, back to LBJ, The money and poor White trash as well as poor African Americans that were wasted in Vietnam. If you had money or political connections as Bush,43 did, you need’nt worry about getting dry gulched in Indo China. Yes he toatally cared about the poor. America, rejected LBJ. Later It would reject Nixon. Nixon took us off the Gold standard, America had spent a wad in Vietnam, no need for gold standard anymore. Next up was Ford, he was a do nothing President. Then in 1976, the Government would drop the whole ball of wax into the lap of Jimmy Carter, The Vietnam war ended in 1976. America was a laughing stock. Carter could do little with the problem as interest rates skyrocketed, Jobs were lost. Omar Ghadaffi’s terror machine went into full on power, the world trembled no one would face him. Iran revolted. There was a misery index on the news every night, in 1979 we had an energy crisis. My dad bought a propane rig for the car because you could’nt rely on gasoline to be available . America was hurting. Next up Ronald Reagan, Reagan ‘s policies allowed him to look into a camera in 1984 and ask America if it were better off now than it was 4 years ago. Mr. Reagan won re-election carrying 49 state’s. The economy was on. When Reagan left office none of the prior problems existed. The Berlin wall fell, the Iron curtain came down and America elected his vice President to lead them. The 90’s would see a shutter in the economy leading Clinton to adjust it and ride the power curve of Reagan’s recovery. We lost it all under Bush,43 and have yet to recover from those years, We now talk the talk of socialism. This will not work and will be the downfall of American influence through out the World. Brace yourselves for abject poverty. Pelosi thinks that unemployment check’s stimulate the economy. If she were not a Congress woman she would surely be in an insane asylum, under heavy medication.

      • strayaway

        I am generally in agreement but you are too kind to Reagan. If the cost of living were applied to Reagan’s increase in the national debt, his debt is greater than Obama’s although Obama is on track to surpass Reagan in accruing debt. Almost any fool president can create some temporary prosperity by borrowing from the next generation. (almost) I lived in California after Reagan had been Governor and I came to understand that while Reagan talked small government, he was a big government corporatist. Reagan also gave amnesty without negotiating properly with Democrats to secure the border. He talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. He was more hat than cows.

        I will give Reagan credit for getting the troops out of Lebanon as soon as he did after he realized his mistake there. If only Johnson, W., and Obama had as much sense.

        I sort of liked Ford. Compared with Johnson and Nixon, he was a relief. Doing nothing is often a Taoist virtue.