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Bill Black: Ryan Talks Jobs and Exposes the Lies about the 47%

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By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives.

This Monday, I posted an article entitled:  “Let’s test Romney’s claims about the 47% by offering the unemployed jobs.”

The article explained that Romney, Ryan, and Charles Murray claim that 47% of Americans receive governmental assistance because they are morally defective and shiftless.  It goes through why Romney and Ryan know that they are lying when they use the 47% figure to slander Americans as refusing to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” and as failing to pay taxes.  The article points out the obvious – the vast majority of the 47% cannot work because they are (1) minor children, (2) the profoundly disabled and sick, and (3) the elderly.  The article reminds readers that the disabled (except when they were profoundly disabled even as children) and the elderly had typically borne substantial federal, state, and local taxes, often for over forty years.  Romney and Ryan cannot possibly be claiming that the members of these three groups refuse to take personal responsibility.  (There is also the small fact that the elderly frequently vote for Republicans, so Romney and Ryan are slandering their own voters.)

The article explains the most despicable aspect of Romney and Ryan slander of the American people.

“[H]undreds of thousands of the 47% are ‘dependent upon government’ because they took ‘personal responsibility’ and cared for our lives at the risk of their lives and health. These are the veterans, police officers, and firefighters who were injured protecting the public, and the families of those who died protecting the public.”

The only group of Americans who could possibly fit the category of shiftless, moral defects is made up of the unemployed, underemployed, and those employed at or near the minimum wage – a wage so low that it sometimes makes them and their children eligible for Medicaid and food stamps.  (Again, millions of Americans who fall in this category support Romney.)  This group of people prompted my article’s primary point – we can and should test Romney’s slanderous dismissal of these Americans by adopting a jobs guarantee program.  Romney, Ryan, and Charles Murray will fight desperately to prevent us from offering a jobs guarantee program because it would expose their slanders as baseless and destroy their dogmas.  Millions of the unemployed and marginally employed would eagerly seek those jobs.

The article was posted Monday.  Tuesday, Ryan said that the key answer to Romney and Ryan’s disdain for the 47% was jobs.  As with Romney’s rant against the 47%, Ryan’s comments were in response to a supporter’s question that expressed actual disgust with and mock sympathy for anyone receiving government aid.

“‘Is there any way possible that this 47 percent can pay a nominal fee or something so that they feel that they have small ownership of the government and maybe they don’t take all the handouts?’ the voter asked.”

This insulting question gave Ryan the perfect opportunity to begin to undo the damage done by Romney’s slander about 47% of Americans.  Instead, Ryan gave an answer that indicated how faux a wonk and how unserious he is.  “I have an idea: Let’s help them get jobs so they can get good paychecks and then they’re good taxpayers.”

Ryan could have explained to the questioner why the question was premised on multiple factual errors.  He could have explained that the overwhelming majority of the 47% currently bear the cost of taxes and many have done so for decades.  Businesses may nominally pay a tax but economists have shown that they generally pass on the cost of the tax to the customer.  The concept is known as “tax incidence.”

Ryan could have explained that bearing the cost of taxes has nothing to do with “hav[ing] ownership of government.”  Ryan could have explained that governmental assistance is not a “handout” and that America would not be a better place if single mothers refused to accept food stamps and their children went hungry.

Ryan does not understand how subversive his response was to the questioner.  His response exposed the lie at the heart of Romney’s slander of the 47%.  Recall Romney’s statement:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.

That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.””

There is a reason that Romney did not discuss jobs in his infamous rant against the 47%.  If the 47% who are capable of working are not working because they are unemployed (which means they are looking unsuccessfully for a job) or are only marginally employed at such a low wage that they qualified for governmental assistance, then they (1) do bear the cost of many taxes and (2) they are seeking to take personal responsibility.  Romney implicitly claimed that the 47% were all shiftless types receiving a handout while refusing to work or try to find a job.  Romney describes the problem as having nothing to do with the Great Recession and high unemployment.  He claims that the problem is that the freeloaders are so shiftless that Romney cannot “convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”  Creating more jobs is useless because the problem is the ineradicably immoral defects of the 47%.

Ryan, however, admits that creating jobs with “good paychecks” is the key.  The unemployed and marginally employed receive governmental assistance because they lack “good paychecks.”  If the 47% had good jobs available to them they would become “good taxpayers.”  By stressing the need to create more “good” jobs to reduce unemployment and marginal employment and take families out of poverty Ryan has inadvertently exposed the lies that lie at the core of Romney’s slander of 150 million Americans.

Ryan’s job response also exposes the insanity of Romney and Ryan’s economic policies.  Why did Ryan vote to kill the revenue sharing portion of the stimulus bill that would have allowed hundreds of thousands of workers to keep their good jobs which made them “good taxpayers”?  Why did Ryan vote to block the pending Jobs bill?  Why do Romney and Ryan favor the Berlin-style austerity programs that have thrown the Eurozone back into recession and cost millions of Europeans their jobs?  (Recall that Romney has twice admitted that austerity would force the U.S. back into recession.)

Ryan’s response requires us to ask: why do Romney and Ryan (and Obama) refuse to support the immediate creation of a jobs guarantee program so that everyone who wishes to work and is able to do so can work and pay additional taxes?  Such a program would allow everyone capable of taking “personal responsibility” through employment to do so.

Romney and Ryan can never permit a federal jobs guarantee program to be adopted precisely because it would work so spectacularly well that it would discredit their core dogmas which hold that the poor and working class are poorer than the wealthy because they are their moral inferiors.  This dogma of ineradicable inferiority explains Romney’s infamous dismissal of the 47%.

“[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

A jobs guarantee program would test the truth of Romney, Ryan, and Charles Murray’s claim that jobs are not the problem; the problem is that the lower classes are shiftless and need to be denounced as immoral by the elites.  We know why Romney, Ryan and Murray can never allow that test, but why has Obama failed to support such a test?  Obama has the perfect opportunity to demand that Romney put up or shut up on his demonization of 150 million Americans.  All he has to do is point out Ryan’s response about the need to create jobs for the 47% with “good paychecks” and call Romney out on whether he is willing to support providing jobs to all those who are willing and able to work.

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61 comments

  1. Westcoastliberal

    Romney & Ryan also seem blind to the fact that the Federal government is largely responsible for the lack of jobs by failing to protect the jobs of American workers. Over the past 30 years, on a bipartisan basis, Congress has promoted both the offshoring of American jobs as well as allowing the consolidation of companies to the monopoly level.
    One example is how Bain capital has virtually destroyed the Radio broadcasting industry. Their sage “advice” (and majority ownership) of Clear Channel has wiped out thousands of jobs across the nation and is in large part responsible for the destruction of an entire medium as Radio listening continues to erode. These two are exactly what this nation DOESN’T need at this juncture. And I hope Obama if re-elected uses his 2nd term to become the populist President we had high hopes for back in 2008.

    1. pws

      “Romney & Ryan also seem blind to the fact that the Federal government is largely responsible for the lack of jobs by failing to protect the jobs of American workers. ”

      I think Romney can’t be blind to it, considering he made his fortune doing just that. Not just failing to protect them, but actively destroying them.

      He just doesn’t care about those people. If they were favored by God they’d have been born rich like he was.

  2. pathman

    Mr. Black is a gem. This is the most thorough take down of the 47% bullshit I’ve seen. Bravo!

  3. Lambert Strether

    “Why has Obama failed to support such a test?”

    Because permanently high DISemployment is policy goal of the 1% that Obama has successfully achieved. “Only Nixon can go to China.”

  4. David Lentini

    “‘Is there any way possible that this 47 percent can pay a nominal fee or something so that they feel that they have small ownership of the government and maybe they don’t take all the handouts?’ the voter asked.”

    Amazing! Government as a shareholder institution, those who pay more, own more, and presumably can dictate more. So much for “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

    1. Ms G

      Oh for Chrissake. The “stakeholder” citizenry. Ok, here’s my answer to “voter”: “Only if paying the fee turns me into a (1) counterparty, (2) TBTF citizen, (3) bondholder, (4) holding bank with access to the Fed 0% window.”

      My other answer to “voter”: “Go away.”

  5. Bert_S

    I just had an epiphany. Instead of having a Federal Jobs program and putting DC real estate prices under further upward stress, why not make it a private sector jobs program and require larger companies, say the Russell 3000 – since Ben has done such a great job pumping up their stock prices and that must mean something – to hire and train a certain percent of payroll?

    There could be something unconstitutional about that, but epiphanies don’t come with a lot of detail.

  6. Mary Bess

    Black’s article is good as far as it goes, but, by focusing on Romney’s revulsion for the poor, it leaves unmentioned those who benefit most from government largesse, people like Romney. Their agents are busy writing the tax codes that stack the deck in favor of the .1%. Anyone who has ever applied for benefits designed to aid the poor knows that being poor is the hardest work there is.
    And the most demeaning by design.

    The last thing Romney wants is full employment here in the U.S. Consider all those Chinese people working for $1/hour it would put out of work.

      1. ZygmuntFraud

        What intrigues me is why Wall Street was recently giving more money to the GOP than the Dem party …

        If they (the parties) are so alike, why would Wall Street care? Why give more to GOP, from a rational banker CEO’s perspective? beats me !

        1. Mary Bess

          Obama and Romney are on the same trajectory but traveling at different velocities. Wall Street assumes Romney will wage a Blitzkrieg against what’s left of the safety net, while Obama will move incrementally. Obama is better for Wall Street because there is less resistance to him, but Mitt is their kind of guy.

  7. jake chase

    Yes, Romney and Ryan are beneath contempt. But this post twists Romney’s remarks in fifty ways to suggest he “meant” things he never said. Is Stoller the reincarnation of Sigmund Freud? How does he know what Romney “implicitly” meant? All you outraged readers are being conned by this manufactured outrage into support of the Democratic wing of the plutocracy. Why not ask yourselves what Obama has done for this 47%? IMHO a vote for either wing is just wasted effort.

      1. Darren Kenworthy

        Towards the end of the piece Black writes “We know why Romney, Ryan and Murray can never allow that test, but why has Obama failed to support such a test?”. The “test” being a jobs program.

  8. Tom

    Ryan had once said something to the effect that there are takers and creators – If examined the takers are the speculators that hold no interest in a company except to bury them in debt to pay themselves and the investors in the scheme – see Bain -. thereby rendering the company unsustainable under the debt payment burden foisted upon them. That ain’t the creation of wealth but the taking of money that might better be directed to improved business operations and profitability. Romney shows his true colors as the man with a whip – the eliminations of the safety net designed to make people work in survival mode or face destitution and starvation – seems this program has been tried throughout history and has always failed.
    Taxes serve as a brake on things we find outside or detrimental to public interest – for simplicity – leash laws and their fines/taxes – were designed to protect the public from animals that had demonstrated there propensity to maul children.
    Knowing what economic harm and social destruction the Financial services companies put us through I don’t understand why those practices – (like hedging, where actual product is not taken delivery or derivatives which, for the most part, are pure speculation and gambling) are not taxed to the point of deterring it from happening.
    In spite of the ingenious methods devised by statesmen and financiers to get more revenue from large fortunes, and regardless of whether the maximum sur tax remains at 25% or is raised or lowered, it is still true that it would be better to stop the speculative incomes at the source, rather than attempt to recover them after they have passed into the hands of profiteers.
    If a man earns his income by producing wealth, nothing should be done to hamper him. For has he not given employment to labor, and has he not produced goods for our consumption? To cripple or burden such a man means that he is necessarily forced to employ fewer men, and to make less goods, which tends to decrease wages, unemployment, and increased cost of living.
    If, however, a man’s income is not made in producing wealth and employing labor, but is due to speculation, the case is altogether different. The speculator as a speculator, whether his holdings be mineral lands, forests, power sites, agricultural lands, or city lots, employs no labor and produces no wealth. He adds nothing to the riches of the country, but merely takes toll from those who do employ labor and produce wealth.
    If part of the speculator’s income – no matter how large a part – be taken in taxation, it will not decrease employment or lessen the production of wealth. Whereas, if the producer’s income be taxed it will tend to limit employment and stop the production of wealth.
    Our lawmakers will do well, therefore, to pay less attention to the rate on incomes, and more to the source from whence they are drawn.

    There is a bright side, after watching great minds combat the recession you should be rid of your inferiority complex.

    1. Mark P.

      ‘Knowing what economic harm and social destruction the Financial services companies put us through I don’t understand why those practices – (like hedging, where actual product is not taken delivery or derivatives which, for the most part, are pure speculation and gambling) are not taxed to the point of deterring it from happening.’

      Um. Could it be because the financial services industry pays almost every single Washington pol — both when they are office and then later when they seek even more remunerate jobs in the lobbying industry — not to do so? Cheap at the price, clearly.

      1. Tim Owen

        Nicely said Tom. The distinction is between rentiers – in the classical sense – and productive citizens. Starts gray-on-gray in the 70s ends up in day-glo colours in our current predicament.

        Just a thought: I swear one could write the whole post-war history of the US as the story of how the dollar standard undid it. That is, including the latest bubble particularly.

        How is it that the champions of austerity in the US are “enjoying” insanely low rates for public borrowing – despite their claims of disaster – and predicting imminent implosion (without any irony) while the practicing austerians of Europe are bringing the house down on their heads in an entirely ironical / slapstick but cruel way?

        Dollar standard.

        It’s the one thing that no-one seems willing to examine.

    2. Darren Kenworthy

      The three paragraphs following “If a man earns his income by producing wealth, nothing should be done to hamper him.” are an unattributed quotation. You have quoted the same text more than once without indicating that it was other than your words. I have wondered each time I read it if it might be Adam Smith you were plagerizining, but in fact it is Reoyre P. Hampton, “late Manager of the Farmers’ National Council”, quoted in a periodical published in 1924 called “Tax Facts”. This is an interesting text, and I thank you for bringing it to our attention. Please consider attributing such quotations in the future.

  9. Tom

    “The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present, and will be for long years,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison on March 15, 1789. “That of the executive will come in its turn, but it will be at a remote period.”
    “We, the People, are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who have perverted it.” – Abraham Lincoln

    “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” – Abraham Lincoln

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be … The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln
    “A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang.” -Benjamin Franklin
    “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” -Alexis de Tocqueville
    . “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” -George Orwell
    “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.” -George Orwell
    “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” -James Madison

    So many similarities – it should be frightening to us. And, now, we have a plutocracy at the controls!!!

    1. Capo Regime

      So, if we convert SUPPLY-SIDE SOYABEAN FUTURES into HIGH-YIELD T-BILL
      INDICATORS, the PRE-INFLATIONARY risks will DWINDLE to a rate of 2
      SHOPPING SPREES per EGGPLANT!!

      Zippy the Pinhead.

    2. Rob

      Yes,great quotes….and even more evidence that what is happening now,really was foreseen.detracters say ,hindsight is easy….but for those with eyes to see ,and ears to hear……the enemy is within

  10. Gerard Pierce

    jake: So why do you twist Stollers remarks to suggest things that HE didn’t say. We know what Romney believes from listening to what he said.

    I would make a reasoned guess that Stoller doesn’t have a lot of use for most of the Democratic Party – and I’d be stunned if he advocated voting a straight Dem ticket except sarcastically or as an expression of the “Lesser Evil” theory of politics currently being used to justify reelecting Obama.

    At least you correctly observed that Romney and Ryan are beneath contempt.

    1. jake chase

      He believes his success as a candidate depends upon telling potential backers exactly what they want to hear and shaking them loose from their money. Please explain how his opponent is different.

  11. avg John

    I formed my own political party recently. My platform consists of the sole theme of “throw the bums out”, and my political strategy was to vote for anyone who was not the incumbent.

    But I can’t in all good conscience vote for this Governor Romney, regardless of how disappointed I am in President Obama. I have voted for Green candidates and Ralph Nader in the past and no one joined me, rather not enough to make a difference. Perhaps I’ll just set this election out.

    I wonder if it will now be fashionable to speak “of” the people and “by” the people, and leave out that “for” the people nonsense, with “by” the people soon headed for the chopping block.That will leave us with “of” the people. A government that watches and manages us.

    1. Capo Regime

      Has any sane person voted in good conscience in the U.S. since maybe 1960? You vote in a funk, with a sense of humor, disgust and ideally not at all….

      Believing voting matters and then asking to be able to practice this ritual “in good conscience” is quite funny actually. Historians 500 years from now will be really amused at how stupid we were! So should I support Caligula or Commudus? Well caligula is good on sex issues and seems more fun and so he is the lesser of two evils….

    2. citizendave

      The last sentence of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address ends with “…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Only “by the people” implies that “We, The People” govern ourselves. Government “of the people” sets government apart from the people. Government “for the people” offers a hint of dedication to the cause of the People, but it still implies a government set apart from the people.

      President Reagan said that government is not the solution, government is the problem. That frame drives a bigger wedge between the government and the people. And now it’s quite clear that Romney and Ryan, and Grover Norquist, and their ilk, would dismantle the government that We, The People, have constructed, among other things, to protect ourselves from the excesses of the oligarchy, who treat their customers as victims even when regulated.

      In the worldview of current conservative ideology, we are not a nation, indivisible. We are mere individuals, like atoms, proximate in space and time, responsible only for ourselves, but not for each other. The natural constituency of the Democrats is those people, many of them among that 47%, who cannot, or will not, fend for themselves, and who would benefit greatly from the combined efforts of the commonwealth of all the people of the nation who can generate more wealth than they require for their own needs.

      In many ways, our government, detached as it is from We, The People, has begun to resemble the government of King George III of England in 1776 — remote, aloof, out of touch with the people. Taxation without representation. (Paul Ryan is my Representative in Congress, but he certainly does not represent me.) But just because our government has been usurped by the oligarchy does not mean that we do not still govern ourselves. We could still find ways to bail ourselves out, to unburden ourselves of our debts — even if this Congress won’t entertain the notion. Like the candidates for President, I offer no specifics, except to offer this reminder, that we do govern ourselves, despite appearances to the contrary.

  12. Hugh

    Propaganda is not about consistency. It is about what keeps the rubes quiet, confused, or at each others’ throats, whatever it takes to keep the looting going. This is as true for Romney and Ryan as it is for Obama and Biden, as true for Democrats as it is for Republicans.

  13. Tom

    Query: As normal, sane human beings, where should we lay the heavier taxes, on industry or speculation?.

    No financial wizard would look so much like a wizard if all the suckers didn’t look so much like suckers.

  14. Gil Gamesh

    There will never be a federal jobs guarantee here, nor universal healthcare insurance, single payer style. Imagine Labor having bargaining power: our elites will never permit it.

    Capitalism, in addition to the tactics Klein called the “Shock Doctrine”, uses more pedestrian, every-day effects. U6 rates near 20% insure a docile work force that will concede again and again. Like “slave labor” as a Caterpillar employee put it. How is this practice different from terrorism?

  15. sam

    I’m no Romney fan, but I do know several educated, white-collar, fully capable people who, after being laid off, chose to stay on unemployment even when another job offer was in hand. The comment, made directly to my face, was why should I work if I can stay at home and collect a check.

    There certainly aren’t 47% of Americans doing this, but there are people who will take a handout rather than do the work. And these people will never vote for Romney.

    1. pws

      The great thing about the comments section of a blog is… it’s easy to make stuff up. Just create lies out of thin air.

      Now, why am I replying to your comment with this statement?

      Any guesses?

      1. Darren Kenworthy

        Here is a similar anecdote for your reading pleasure. I remember an argument I had with my wife’s friend’s husband about whether unemployment benefits should be extended during the aftermath of the finacial crisis, as many who had been unable to find jobs were losing their benefits. He argued that it would be wrong to punish deadbeats; where would it end. He called himself a libertarian, pointed out the excellence of the point of view propounded in “Atlas Shrugged”, and endorsed the republican party platform as the cure formour nation’s ills. A year later, when the tech factory where he worked as a manager was shut down, he was given the option of moving to a different facility or taking a very generous severance package. He took the severance. Though he made no effort to find work for at least six months, he nevertheless applied for, and recieved unemployment compensation. He will be voting for Romney in this election. Sorry for the long story. It’s just so perfect, and happens to be entirely true.

        1. Darren Kenworthy

          That should have read “wrong to reward deadbeats”. I should also have mentioned that I don’t know exactly how long he continued to collect benefits.

      1. EconCCX

        Another sample at @2:16. Advertises himself as “avg John”. Dude, you’re not supposed to be reading us the stage directions, you’re supposed to be playing the role. I’m deeply concerned that you’re ripping off your candidate.

        1. avg John

          I have to be honest. I haven’t the slightest notion of what you are talking about. I admit it, I guess I’m too dumb to know.

          The only thing I can think of is,

          “All the world’s a stage,
          And all the men and women merely players:
          They have their exits and their entrances;
          And one man in his time plays many parts,
          His acts being seven ages.” – Shakespeare

          and,

          “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
          That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
          And then is heard no more: it is a tale
          Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
          Signifying nothing.” – Shakespeare

          Anyway, It’s why I come here. So folks like you can enlighten me. Mind if I ask who you are you voting for or your political persuasion? Perhaps you could refer me to your selected candidate’s site.

    2. Thorstein

      “…and these people will never vote for Romney.”

      I beg to differ. My wife comes from a large family–half Dems and half Repubs. Of the four Repubs, *all* are able-bodied but gleefully taking disability and/or boasting about how they “pay no taxes”. They are *all* going to vote for Romney. Predators are pack animals.

    3. richard in norway

      Deadbeats don’t vote, a few might do but only for hardline anti immigrant platforms, this I know from hanging around Deadbeats for years

  16. EconCCX

    >>I’m no Romney fan, but I do know<<

    Anybody who beings a post "I'm no X fan, but" will not offer a persuasive syllable against X. Ah, but you know people who. The cheapest and most amateurish evidence-free electioneering imaginable. More verisimilitude next time, Mr. Robot.

    1. pws

      I’m wondering if he even knows what a white collar job is. No one working in a white collar job relies on unemployment, that’s what severance packages are for.

      If they did rely on unemployment, unless they’ve been living in remarkably reduced circumstances, they’d find themselves out of their home or apartment, and likely with repo-men after their cars.

      Now, some people do choose to take time off or even early retirement with a good severance package (note, private money offered by their former companies as part of their compensation), but if they are collecting unemployment as well they have to report in with the jobs they’ve been applying for. It’s not as if unemployment is just free money given out with no questions asked (the only people who get that in America are people like Kellogg, Brown & Root).

    2. Sufferin' Succotash

      It’s in the same league with “as a lifelong Democrat, I…”.
      You know what’s coming next.

  17. Punkyclown

    A 50 – 50 Jobs program works for me, the Government pays 50%
    of a salary of up to $16.00 Per Hr. Which means the Government pays $8.00 Per Hr. This also means the worker receives higher than a living wage. This would mean workers could be hired into a training program with the business paying $8.00 Per Hr. When the person is fully trained he moves into the company workforce at full pay an off the govenment subsidy. I just saw on the news yesterday that there are 600,000 manufacturing jobs which can not be filled, HELLO!

  18. LAS

    When Romney said 47% he expressed that he actually despises us all 99%, if not for one thing then another. There is no way he’s interested in learning the virtues of the American people. We had better breathe breath on a zombie.

    Clearly, Romney is selling self-loathing to the American people so that we’ll hate ourselves and participate in our own dismemberment. We either have to over-compensate for our sinful selves or else we’re a bunch of good-for-nothing deadbeats. But either way we’ll get no appreciation from this guy.

    Usually leaders who have marshalled sacrifices from people have praised them to the hills and thanked them for their endeavors, their achievements and service, so there are unusual odds to the Romney/Ryan ticket.

    1. JTFaraday

      “There is no way he’s interested in learning the virtues of the American people.”

      Americans are overworked already. Their “virtues” are killing them.

      Of course, overwork is not a “virtue” if it’s forced, so all and sundry universally suck it up and sacrifice their rights for the sake of their “virtues” amidst a chorus of collective silence–if not shouts for more. It’s the American way.

      Romney may not win the election. But it’s not like he doesn’t know what works.

  19. Tom

    We have had such a long time where a bunch of con artists, fraud engineers, thieves and scam artists convinced the rest of us that they were smarter than the rest, icons, hard hitters, intelligent, idols of the world. We thought that they were hard nosed get business done types and, were convinced of it by their advertisements, publications and propaganda. They convinced people that they were capable of doing what had to be done without emotion – that somehow it made them tougher than the rest. They spent fortunes bidding up artwork to show us how in tune they were with their emotional side, their caring, their value system – surely they were psychopathic narcissists creating justification and cover for themselves.
    They convinced us that buying some real estate was a sure fire way to enrich yourself so that you could emulate their perfection. Of course, it was a con game. They convinced you, among many other things like financial innovation, that you could buy a home and do nothing with it except charge the next guy more money for a place to live. It was a way to get one over on the next guy – survival of the fittest. They never told you that by playing the zero sum game of musical chairs that, you selling a property to the next guy would mean the next guy had less to spend on services or things companies produced through labor and capital – never told you that you were shafting the next guy and yourself because, the financial services guys didn’t care about price – they wanted to skim the money stream – more money in the stream means more skim. They absolutely knew they were backed by you, if all went bad. That is what they call a free market – no thanks.

    The great sore spot in our modern commercial life is found on the speculative side. Under present laws, which foster and encourage speculation, business life is largely a gamble, and to “get something for nothing” is too often considered the keynote to “success”. The great fortunes of today are nearly all speculative fortunes; and the ambitious young man just starting out in life thinks far less of producing or rendering service than he does of “putting it over” on the other fellow. This may seem a broad statement to some: but thirty years of business life in the heart of American commercial activity convinces me that it is absolutely true.
    If, however, the speculative incentive in modern commercial life were eliminated, and no man could become rich or successful unless he gave “value received” and rendered service for service, then indeed a profound change would have been brought in our whole commercial system, and it would be a change which no honest man would regret.- John Moody, Wall Street Publisher, and President of Moody’s Investors’ Service. Dated 1924

    1. mac

      Romney was speaking to a group that he hoped would “send money”, I think he was saying that there was a group of folks who would never vote for him and to spend money on trying to woo them was foolish.
      The mistake he has made and continues to make is to try to defend these remarks as what the Opposition has declared them to be.
      Message to Romney don’t let the opposition define you speech!!

    2. jake chase

      You ought to read Veblen’s Theory of Business Enterprise. He correctly distinguishes industry, the organization of natural forces to satisfy human needs, from business, the sabotage of industry for invidious pecuniary gain. The essence of business is speculation conducted on bank credit. What happened in the great mortgage crisis was that people lacking any understanding of business obtained speculative opportunities despite lacking either knowledge of what they were doing or any ability to service the debts they were allowed to incur, simply because there was a market into which the loans could be immediately resold at a profit.

      And the greatest victims of the crisis and its aftermath are neither the unemployed nor the defaulting homeowners. The greatest victims are the prudent nonspeculating savers, whose incomes have been reduced to zero for the past four years and will likely remain at this level for the next ten. They are being systematically robbed by Bernanke and his banker pals while the looters continue to cash in as if nothing had ever happened.

      1. Norcal_Steve

        @Jake, great way to not look for any solidarity among the 99%. Like the people who lost their nest eggs buying into homes at the top of the artificially inflated market and the 50 year old former white collar workers and the current generation of those newly entering the workforce and will see their lifetime earnings greatly suppressed are not victims of the mortgage securitization scam. You sound like one of those people blaming ‘the neighbor who bought too much house’. The last thing we need is to divide the 1% into those who are getting screwed and those who aren’t.

        1. jake chase

          The simple truth is that most businesses are scams; most of those white collar jobs aren’t worth doing and are built upon victimizing somebody; most of those home buyers were depending upon the other id iot theory and now, conveniently, claim to have been misled. Our economy has been built upon waste, fraud and misrepresentation. People need to stop being fools, stop making excuses, stop looking around for Daddy and take responsibility for decisions made for adult reasons, and in consideration of their likely consequences

          Any sensible person tries to make himself independent of the fraudulent political system, which isn’t likely to improve in our lifetimes. Consider the entire history of the Twentieth Century, in which bone heads prattled incessantly about ‘progress’ and events produced a cascade of corpses, an avalanche of greed, the sabatoge of every generous human impulse, an utterly disgusting stampede of engorged vermin corrupting every public office, the whole thing culminating in the blind worship of a priapic doubletalking car salesman straight out of Look Homeward, Angel, who is still revered by the unthinking despite being principally responsible for much of the financial collapse now commanding all this anguished analysis. Solidarity hasn’t achieved anything since 1789, and its most spectacular achievements back then were carnage, looting and consolidation of bourgeois power over a nation of downtrodden workers and impecunious peasants.

          1. avg John

            jake, so what are you suggesting we do? What sort of system do you propose to put in place and what is the time frame? Is there a current successful model in place now or in the past that you can point to as example of the changes we need to adopt? I’m not defending the status quo, just wondering what you propose as a solution. Bear in mind I think you are going to have to tone down your rhetoric if you wish to be a little more persuasive (not meant to be offensive, just constructive criticism).

            You may have all the answers to eliminate poverty, greed, hunger, envy, war, hate and all the other vices that have plagued mankind over his/her history, I don’t know. But what are they? I’m willing to listen.

  20. Andrae

    “We know why Romney, Ryan and Murray can never allow that test, but why has Obama failed to support such a test?”

    Why would he? He is winning this campaign, and introducing any new policies at this stage could unset the status-quo. Right now all a major new policy initiative like a Jobs Guarantee could do is lose Obama the election.

    Asking Obama to take a risk right now is unreasonable. The people you should be challenging here are those democrat senatorial and gubernatorial candidates who are going to lose if they don’t find a way to fundamentally change their race.

    1. jake chase

      This is my reply to AvgJohn:

      You want another system? I offer only an anti-system: reject the pecuniary culture, ignore the politicians, work diligently, live decently, cooperate with well chosen others, expect all problems to become worse as technology is harnessed ever more effectively to the pecuniary, predatory system of life. It may not be over till it’s over, but it’s damn near over.

      Blogging is great fun but should not be taken so seriously.

      1. avg John

        jake, thanks for sharing your opinion.

        The world would probably be a much better place if it was populated by people that thought and lived their lives like you.

        I hope you are wrong about our inevitable doom (did I get that right?). Don’t forget the “swan” event. Maybe life will give us a “red” swan instead instead of a “black” swan”. I hope so, for the sake of our children and grand children. Take heart and keep speaking out for what you believe in.

  21. abelenkpe

    “Right now all a major new policy initiative like a Jobs Guarantee could do is lose Obama the election.”

    I’m pretty sure that those who have seen their job off shored over the past 12 years would be happy to hear any candidate support a jobs guarantee. Didn’t the original stimulus propose tax breaks for companies that hired US workers?

  22. YouDon'tSay?

    Once again, I simply don’t see the point to this post. OF COURSE neither Romney nor Obama want a jobs program! Why would they? Labor is the PROBLEM, not the solution for they’re corporate masters. Is somebody simply deluded as to whose side BOTH of these guys are on?

    Just now, Romney “I love the military.” Why not? Cheap labor willing to be exterminated for rich white men’s profits. What’s not to love? Cheap “patriotism.” It’s “what’s for dinner.”

  23. fresno dan

    I didn’t see it mentioned, but the lack of Federal taxes paid by a substantial number of wage earners is due to the EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT: a plan championed by Milton Friedman, implemented by Reagan, and added to, I believe, every republican president since.
    Question for Mitty: Was Reagan a communist? Is the Repubican party communist?

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