Monday, July 04, 2011

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose

In his opening to his weekly speech, PHC* had this to say:
Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.
A number of people have criticized that; Paul Krugman, to cite one example, described it as "the false government-family equivalence, the myth of expansionary austerity, and the confidence fairy, all in just two sentences."

But here's something I haven't seen addressed but which caught my eye: the last phrase, the "give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs" part. Yes, Krugman called it the "confidence fairy," but there's a deeper point here.

Specifically, what is this perpetual crap about having to "give business confidence?" Why are we supposed to spend our energy and our tax money in efforts to "give business confidence?" I thought the genius of our glorious Free Market (pbui) lay in its allowance for the brave entrepreneurs! The bold ones! The risk-takers! The ones who dared! And that profit was the reward, the justified reward, for the risks taken!

So what the hell is this "give business confidence" numbskullery? What is this idiotic notion that we have some sort of obligation to promise business that hey, y'know what? We'll see to it that there really isn't any risk involved, not enough to talk about, anyway. We'll see to it that yep, you can have confidence that you'll make a tidy profit risk-free.

Total barf. Companies are making record profits, sitting on unprecedented amounts of cash, and still not hiring but instead increasingly abandoning the middle class. Yet we are supposed to be worried about their confidence? We are supposed to expend our efforts on making them feel secure and protected? We're supposed to approve, even applaud, policies that locate more money to throw at the rich and corporations who don't need it by stiffing the poor and working class who do?

Give business confidence? How about giving us confidence? Or is that, like higher taxes on the rich and corporations - and I mean a real tax hike, not sniffing around the margins of itemized deductions - something that is "off the table?"

Footnote: Another Obama inanity in that speech was this:
We’ve got to cut the deficit, but we can do that while making investments in education, research, and technology that actually create jobs.
Get this straight: Investments in education do not create jobs. Investments in research do not create jobs. Investments in technology do not create jobs. Not for more than, at most, the tiny handful of additional people actually doing the educating, the researching, and the, um, technology-ing.

Demand creates jobs. And the way to create demand is to put people to work so they have money to spend to create that demand. As businesses are continuing to hoard their cash, continuing to refuse to expand or hire because they selfishly see no short-term gain in it, there is only one practical way to create those jobs to create that demand: a massive government jobs program.

But that, of course, is something else that is off the table. Because, after all, it a)focuses on the unemployed and other workers rather than on the rich and b)makes sense.

Footnote Footnote: A lot of people recorded the song from which the title here comes, but I have to admit that this one is still my favorite. But if you prefer the actual composer, this should satisfy.

*PHC = President Hopey-Changey

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