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Right Wing Mythology—Job Creators Edition

June 1, 2014

There are two distinct frameworks that a person can employ to understand the world and they rarely overlap: Mythos and Logos. Mythos uses a frame of reference that is based on anecdotes, story-telling, and shared communal belief. Logos uses a frame of reference that employs empirical evidence, critical thinking and impartiality. From these Greek words we derive the English “myth” and “logic.”

Modern American conservatives appear to have lost their intellectual moorings, especially as they have allowed themselves to be dragged to the irrational right wing fringe by the Tea Party, and others. They have become far more animated by their own invented mythology than facts or evidence. The immediately dismiss any evidence that is contrary to their mythology as false or manipulated. This explains the constant carping about the “Main Stream Media” being controlled by [insert your favorite liberal villain here], while they rely on news sources like Fox, World Net Daily, Brietbart, Washington Times, Limbaugh and countless other right wing outlets. They are as information-myopic as any liberal about which they bitterly complain.

This is one important reason that it is nearly impossible to have a rational, civil, and respectful exchange of ideas with them. Any person who dares challenges their mythical narratives is, by definition, a defective human being hell-bent on destroying America. As I noted in a previous post, Report From the Fever Swamp, their default response to any challenge is insult and vulgarity, while ignoring whatever merits the challenge may have. They have become masters of changing the subject.

So with this post, I begin a series on right-wing mythology. First Edition: Job Creators.

The right wing loves to carp incessantly about the Job Creators and how if the Government would just get off their backs, get out of their way, etc., the Job Creators could get on with the work of, you know, creating jobs.

There! The only thing standing between the return of prosperity and the rousing chorus of Happy Days Are Here Again are the evil liberals and their primary tool for Destroying America—the Big Government.

There are two basic problems with this myth: first of all, it is only a thin proxy for the real argument: keep taxes low on the already rich, and secondly, it is not supported by either entry-level economics or any objective evidence.

This mythical narrative simply ignores demand. If the job creators are “allowed” to prosper by virtue of low taxes and deregulation then they will be able to offer a richer variety of goods and services (increase the supply, better known as “Supply Side Economics”) which will, in turn create economic growth and create the jobs. The dark side of the argument of course, is that the rich do not get their low taxes and deregulation, then they simply “go on strike” and simply not create the jobs or the growth that everyone wants. The Speaker of the House actually made this argument.

In the right wing mythical world, all business investment decisions are made by rich guys sitting around and deciding how much of a snit they are in about their marginal tax rates. Of course, this is preposterous. If there is sufficient demand for a product or service, someone will meet that demand with whatever investment is required. If the demand cannot be met profitably, then supply will not be created.

High taxes or regulations do not kill job creation. It is lack of demand.

If high taxes kill jobs, and low taxes create jobs, then someone must explain Alabama. Alabama has the third lowest all-in tax rate in the nation, yet it is among the most impoverished. California, on the other hand, has very high all-in tax rates yet is among the most prosperous in the nation.

The argument can be extended to every Red State, with the exception of Texas. As I noted in a prior post, Red states receive more in Federal benefits than the taxes they pay. Of the 18 states that pay more in Federal taxes than the benefits they receive, 17 are Blue.

The Red state legislatures are in the firm control of the Republican party. Yet they lag far behind the Blue states in any measure of economic prosperity. If the right wing mythos were based in fact, why is California not being subsidized by Alabama instead of the other way around?

Anyone trying to have a rational conversation with a right wing extremist should never underestimate the power of myth. Also, in the words of an early mentor—you should never try to teach a pig to sing. You will just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

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10 Comments
  1. I wonder if states with high tax rates get credited with the effect of state tax deductibility as a federal expenditure in their state. I wonder how one would account for a lifetime of FICA taxes paid in a northern state with a retirement of receipts of social security pensions in southern states. These statistics showing tax expenditures by states have very little methodological information. Makes me wonder if they’re anything like Michael Mann’ tree ring stats.

  2. Regarding tax expenditures by state: “This is a stupid study. It doesn’t even come close to showing what the author of this post claims it shows. The top 1% of the countries income earners pay 40% of the taxes in this country. Many of these earners live in the nation’s population centers (which also happen to be “blue states” for a variety of other reasons). By definition, these people will never have voting power anywhere. To say that blue state democrats are voting to send their tax dollars to red states is asinine. It is not the average democrat that is paying the vast amounts of income tax revenue that gets sent to less populated states. It is the super wealthy that live in places surrounded by democratic voters. Many, many of those paying loads of money to the federal government are Republicans.”

  3. I never said Democrats were voting to send their tax dollars to the Federal government. Federal tax rates are the same in every state, to point out the obvious in case it slipped past you.

    However, Federal taxes paid in excess of Federal benefits received is a good measure of comparative income. And Federal benefits received in excess of taxes paid is a good measure of comparative impoverishment.

    There is more income being generated in the Blue (high all-in tax rates) States than in the Red (low all-in tax rates) States. You know, people who make more money pay more taxes. People who make more money subsidize people who make less money. Blue States subsidize Red States.

    Duh.

    So where does that leave the pervasive right wing idea that job creators who pay less taxes actually create jobs? In the realm of myth, that’s where. If you have a case to make, make it. I’ve made my case.

    Lastly, if you cannot keep yourself from using personal invective when you can’t counter an argument, post somewhere else. I will not allow any more of this junior high school stuff on my site.Not every idea you disagree with is stupid.

    Most of us learned better manners before we left home.

  4. not_anonymous permalink

    I was quoting a response (not mine) to a “by state” tax expenditure study. Sorry that I didn’t do the scholarly thing and post a link. But I think that you just huff and puff at me because your arguments are uncompelling and you’re frustrated that I don’t take your posts seriously at all.

    • I am quite indifferent to whether you find my arguments uncompelling, especially when you offer no real evidence or rational analysis to the contrary.

      I object (“huff and puff” in your childish vernacular) to your vapid insults and the reflexive attitude that all who disagree with Your Own Awesome Self are stupid.

      You can be civil on my site or you can post elsewhere. Try StormFront. Those half wits will think you are a genius.

      Sent from my iPad

      >

    • You are refuting an argument that did not make.

      Job creators-more than myth? Make your case. I made mine. Everything else is noise.

      Or a tacit admission that you know I’m right.

      Sent from my iPad

      >

  5. What did my link have to do with any argument that you made? How would I know anything about the arguments you made? I saw that you used red state derisively so I posted a link that was positive about red states. Since when did blog responses have to engage anyone? Is there some algorithm that prevents non-responsive posts? If so it’s not working.

    • This site is not from random right wing bluster. You can use your site for that. Your days of trying to hijack my site are now over.

      You could just as well post something about the Benghazi fantasy, or Obama’s coming impeachment or the High Plains Grifter’s militia boys, for that matter.

      Responding to something that you have not read says more about you than me.

      If you don’t like the way I run my blog, let me remind you, in the words of your Saint Ronald Reagan: “I paid for this microphone.” No one makes you post here.

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