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A question that will surely remain unanswered

December 10, 2010

I have a question for Sean Hannity (or Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck, or, well, you get the picture):

How many jobs have you personally created as a direct result of the tax breaks you received during the Bush Administration?

The rally cry of the right seems to be that not extending tax breaks to the very rich would doom the economy by limiting the ability of small businesses to create jobs. But let’s be honest, there’s no indication that the last set of tax breaks created any jobs.

I’d just like someone to give one specific example of a job that was created directly as a result of tax breaks. I won’t hold my breath. You know why? Because customers create jobs, not tax cuts.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    December 10, 2010 3:13 pm

    You’re right. Customers create jobs. People with money become customers. People with income are people with money. And people with jobs have income, which they spend as customers.

    Who owns the business that customers come to to spend their money? Probably someone ‘rich’. I know I make upwards of $100,000, and I don’t create a job, but I sure spend disposable income when I want something. If I’m taxed more, I don’t have as much disposable income. But back to the rich who own the mom&pop store down the street that employs three people. The income from their business is most often taxed as personal income. What you tax less, you put more into your business.

    As Sean says, I’ve never received a job from someone who wasn’t wealthy. By the way, Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity, and let’s include O’Reilly, all have staffs that they hire and pay with revenue they earn from their radio programs.

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    • December 11, 2010 2:08 am

      Hi, David, thanks for the response! Sorry I didn’t get back to you until now, but I had to work until midnight. Your objection to my point of view is a common one. However, I think you’re making a few assumptions that don’t hold up to scrutiny; and, on top of that, there are a few other points to consider that I didn’t make in my abbreviated, off-the-cuff post that I will take the time to make now.

      First, I’m not interested in raising taxes on anyone but the very rich. No offense (and I think you’ll agree with me), but neither you nor I fall into that category. There is a point on the salary scale under which people’s tax breaks will flow immediately and directly back into the economy. Both yours and mine will surely do that, and so will probably almost everyone else’s that we both know. I don’t know where this point exactly is, but it’s certainly not less than $200,000 per year. So yes, anyone making that or below will spend, spend, spend – awesome, let’s keep their taxes as low as we can.

      But let’s move farther up the scale to, say, $500,000. What are these people going to do with a tax break? Buy a boat? If they want one they probably already have one. Go on vacation? Where? Tahiti or the Bahamas? Thanks for nothing, that doesn’t help our economy at all. In any case, my point is that these people aren’t really going to pour much of the money they receive in tax breaks back into the economy.

      You and I will buy more things and thus cause business to need to hire more people. Rich people mostly won’t; because the things they might want to buy, they already can. So indirect job creation- that is, the kind that results from the stimulative effect of putting more money in people’s pockets – is only relevant when you’re talking about people who really will spend the money that gets put into their pockets. Namely, you and me. Fortunately, this happens to be most of the population of the United States; so, in my view, keeping taxes low on the middle and lower classes is a very good idea.

      Second, the idea that rich people will directly create jobs with their tax break is also false. The question I directed to Sean Hannity was, “How many jobs have you personally created as a direct result of the tax breaks you received during the Bush Administration?” Meaning, how many people did you hire specifically because you had more money to hire with? This would require some planning. Sean Hannity would have had to sit down and look at his income and expenses, decide how much new money he would be taking in as a result of tax cuts, and then decide how much of that new money he was going to devote to hiring new people and paying them new salaries. My guess is that neither Sean (nor the people who work for him) ever did anything like this. Do you know why? Because adding staff solely because you have more money laying around is a stupid thing to do if you’re a businessman. No one says, “hey, look guys, there’s an extra $100,000 coming in to our coffers this year; let’s go out and waste it on a new employee that we don’t really need just so we can create a job.” Business aren’t charities, they hire people when there is more work to be done than their current staffing levels can handle. And the only way that happens, as we discussed above, is by giving more money to people who will actually spend it and not to people who will just put it away in a bank because they don’t actually need it.

      I’m not really sure where the idea came from that somehow rich people need our protecting. They’re not an endangered species. And as far as I’m concerned, ALL of their money comes from the fact that they live in a country like this one anyway, so having to bear a bigger share of the burden is just a cost of doing business in the USA. If they don’t like it, they can always move to Europe where tax rates are exponentially higher already. Besides, many of these people don’t even want tax breaks in the first place. Only the greedy one’s like Sean Hannity are concerned that millionaires be able to keep everything for themselves.

      Anyway, thanks again for commenting on my little blog. Hope you enjoyed my response, which oddly turned out to be much longer than the post itself…

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