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Monday, October 27, 2014

Is It True?

Every once in a while I read some mainstream blurb that I find truly incomprehensible and because it's mainstream, shows me just how out-of-touch I am sitting here in my little bubble.  Here's the latest such blurb from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly. One of the things my husband says when people ask him what he brought to Washington, he says I brought arithmetic.
So do businesses really not create jobs when they decide to hire additional employees?  If so, what would you call the process of hiring additional employees? If there were no businesses, would there be more jobs than there are now? What does trickle-down economics have to do with that anyway? Is it even possible to "try" a theory? For example, would it make sense to "try" the theory of evolution and, if so, how would you do that? When asked what he brought to Washington, does Bill really answer, "My wife brought arithmetic...?" Is that not a nonsensical response to the question?

She's going to be the next President of the United States and leader of the world and I can't figure out what the hell she's talking about.  Help me out here.

34 comments:

Harry Eagar said...

Well, as RtO explained some time ago, the claim that small businesses create jobs is wildly overstated. They churn workers but don't create very many net jobs.

Bret said...

That's not what she's claiming, is it?

Do you think any businesses create jobs, small, medium, large, etc.?

erp said...

People in the private sector like you Bret, churn out jobs because presumably you need a piece of work done and will use your own resources to pay for it, while public sector people like the Clinton's (neither of whom ever worked a day in their lives) create jobs aka bureaucracies out of thin air and expect taxpayers to foot the tab.

I often wonder what Kafka would make of today's world.

Peter said...

Well, one of the boasts of the old Communist regimes (and hangers-on like Cuba) is that they had full employment without private business, and they seemingly did, voluntary or not. Of course, there was that old Russian joke about how "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us".

Harry Eagar said...

Acually, the job creation historically was by the good ol' mixed private-public mewthod. Reagan persuaded everyone that unleashing the power of the private sector would create beaucoup jobs, but he never said permanent jobs, did he?

I have often been ridiculed for repeating Hopkins's remark about eating very day, but it's true, a job that's here today gone to China tomorrow is only a teeny bit better than none at all.

And fugeddabaht asking the private sector for food. That's gummint work.

I wish the boss class would ever thank the docile American workers for making it possible for them to yo-yo workers and their families like, oh, piles of coal that you stockpile during the summer and use up during the winter. But I have never, ever heard that thanks.

If workers held out for steady employment, then we'd see some managing, wouldn't we?

Bret said...

I didn't say that the government couldn't also create jobs.

But do corporations and businesses not create jobs? That's what Hillary is claiming, no?

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "But I have never, ever heard that thanks."

I thank my employees every two weeks with a paycheck.

erp said...

Harry, when was the government and the private sector historically responsible for jobs? Why would anyone think that food came from the government? Who are the boss class?

We have already have seen what happens when workers hold out for steady employment -- it's called union thuggery and what happens is the U.S. jobs went south literally.

Clovis e Adri said...

I can only understand her speech as misspeaking of G.W Bush proportions. She may have meant "don't let anybody tell you that tax cuts for corporations that create jobs", since only this way her reference to trickle-down economics makes sense.

Bret said...

That's plausible. Impressive that the non-native English speaker came up with that. I absolutely couldn't come up with anything plausible on my own.

Well, I can only hope that when elected, she'll be able to speak better than W. Maybe she should start to learn to speak from a teleprompter.

Peter said...

This is another example of how today's right is becoming too attached to simplistic ideological shibboleths. There is no collective entity called "business" that does or does not create jobs. Likewise, "capitalism" is not a top-down system--it's simply a non-too-complimentary euphemism for the freedom to use one's property as one wishes.

Businesses will create jobs if they invest profits in new ventures or expansion and won't if they don't. One of the issues today is the holding of huge cash reserves that are placed offshore or used to buy financial instruments. Here is an lengthy, interesting article illustrating what the beautiful people are fretting about at Davos these days. There's lots to criticize, starting with the title, but there is also enough substance that it shouldn't be blown away with pithy one-liners about all the great things business does or how tax cuts cure everything from unemployment to hemorrhoids. I have to wonder whether conservatives are now facing the kind of conundrum the left faced in the seventies when Keynesianism met stagflation and all their comfortable certainties went topsy-turvy.

I have no idea what the solution is and I certainly don't think it lies in expanded government, but history may show we missed the boat by spending so much time railing against government and "socialism" that we effectively gave a pass to the banking and financial industries, which have way, way too much political power and influence and don't seem to be spending too much time worrying about how to create jobs.

Barry Meislin said...

To be fair to HRC (Her Royal Clintonness), one could easily make the claim that business de-creates jobs.

Since according to the papers I read, they are always, always, always laying people off.

(And when was the last time you ever heard of the guvmint laying off workers?)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Harry wrote: "But I have never, ever heard that thanks."

Another in the long list of things our dear Mr. Eagar has never heard, yet which happen all the time.

Since I've started working at BigTechCorp, I have honestly gotten sick of all of the "thanks for working here!" cherry messages I get. That many of the speakers seem to honestly believe it just makes it worse. I'm with Bret - the paychecks are thanks enough.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis for the win. Or maybe HRC is reading his posts?

Peter said...

AOG:

I've long felt that when the boss makes a speech that declares that "our employees are our most important resource", it's time to update the old resumé.

erp said...

Clovis, just what were those egregious misspeaks of former president Bush?

Did he mispronounce corps as corpse or say there were 57 states in our union and other risible things or lie through his teeth as the current president has said and done?

Peter, the banking biz wasn't given a pass, it was forced to comply with redistribution of income regulations (CRA) inimical to proper banking practices.

Competition greases the wheels of commerce and it’s lacking in today’s world of crony capitalism which rewards those who get with the program and punishes those who don’t.

Here’s an article about federal meddling in job creation from today’s local liberal rag: Obama pushes manufacturing -- Federal funds to be used for new technologies, apprenticeship programs. More of the same flim flam with the usual suspects on hand for the handouts.

Here’s Fortune Magazine’s take.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

BigTechCorp is based in Silicon Valley, a veritable maelstrom of New Age pretensions, so I suspect that more than old style platitudes. They all do it, so buffing my resume won't help :-).

I have to say, though, one of my favorite people I met out there is this late 30s curmudgeon former Russian submariner / former IDF guy who clearly has to read mental 3x5 cue cards to do the HR stuff that is expected of being a technical manager in Silicon Valley. I found it very endearing. He was my boss for a few weeks while I did some contracting work for his BigTechCorp.

Harry Eagar said...

You get thanked for working split shifts and for being laid off whenever the flow of work is slow? Color me surprised.

I expect Bret's attitude: Ya got yer pay envelope, whad else d'ya want? -- is more in line with the experience of 99% of American workers.

I don't know what Clinton meant, but any opening for me to make fun of American management practices is a good opening.

Bret said...

I used to cringe every time I heard Bush speak, perhaps because I'm an equally poor speaker and he embarrassingly reminds me of me. While no president (in my opinion) mangled as high a percentage of publicly spoken sentences as Bush, I think it was fairly rare when it wasn't obvious what information his utterances meant to convey when the topic was serious (there was a lot of "small talk" that didn't make a lot of sense, but it didn't really need to).

I wasn't aware that Clinton had explained what she meant when I did this post yesterday and kudos to her for taking the time to explain it. Clovis figured it out, so I should've too. I guess I'm just much less attuned to her thought processes than to Bush's.

erp said...

Bret, you're scaring me now. All this talk about Clinton being the next president and how glad you are that she clarified her meaning ... is sarcasm? Yes? You don't mean you are supporting her for president?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Well, as RtO explained some time ago, the claim that small businesses create jobs is wildly overstated. They churn workers but don't create very many net jobs.

Why is it that progressives are so mathematically challenged? (Oh, wait, that question is self answering.)

Fail 1: Not very many net jobs per small business times millions of small businesses equals multiple millions of jobs.

Fail 2: RtO, as is so often the case, ignores every big business that started small. FedEx started with something like a dozen employees, and now has over 160,000.

[Hillary:] You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed.

Hillary, that is because you have a woodpecker's view of the forest.

Nearly everything she touches and uses is the consequence of "trickle down" economics. One example; there are millions more like it: automobile anti-skid brake systems at one time were confined to sports cars only the rich could afford.

Now every car, no matter how plebian, has ABS.

She is proof positive, as if further proof is needed, that Progressives are single dimensional, and I use this term with some trepidation, thinkers. She defines trickle down economics in terms of the rate of dimensionless units over time without for a moment considering how vacuous that is.

Beyond, perhaps, some hypertrophy in the reptilian part of her brain, is their any reason at all not to conclude she is thicker than a plank?

And that progressives are uniquely prone to cults of personality.

[Harry:] Actually, the job creation historically was by the good ol' mixed private-public method.

Really? For about 35 reasons over the last six months alone, I am reluctant to take your word for it. Attribution, please.

If workers held out for steady employment, then we'd see some managing, wouldn't we?

Employment characteristics in countries with strong labor protection laws. Compare and contrast, for example, France and India, with the US.

History is fascinating, Harry. Perhaps you should avail yourself of it.

[Clovis:] I can only understand her speech as misspeaking of G.W Bush proportions.

You are truly a generous soul.

[erp:] Clovis, just what were those egregious misspeaks of former president Bush?

I can remember people taking him to task for saying "nucular". I'll bet every one of them says "jewlry".

Bret said...

erp,

I don't want Clinton to be the next President, but the writing's on the wall as far as I can tell. Your gender and the rest of the left will support her overwhelmingly. I don't see how she can lose.

Howard said...

I have to wonder whether conservatives are now facing the kind of conundrum the left faced in the seventies when Keynesianism met stagflation and all their comfortable certainties went topsy-turvy.

Yes, for the mindless robotic ones. Those who worked hard at developing real understanding have ideas about things that are worth a try. I'll see if I can do a relevant post soon.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "Businesses will create jobs if they invest profits in new ventures or expansion and won't if they don't."

Simply an untrue statement. I guess even Peter gets sloppy once in a while.

What if they had spare capacity that they bring online by hiring employees to meet increased demand? What if the borrow money for an expansion? What if they sell stock to finance an expansion? What if they dig into cash assets for growth? What if growth requires no new capital at all? What if the principals go without salary/draw (or reduced salary/draw) to finance new growth? What if they're able to trade in old capital for new more efficient capital equipment? What if existing labor becomes cheaper? What if regulations are reduced and that enables growth and hiring new employees? What if ... and on and on and on ...

I guess I spend a fair amount of time actually thinking about such things to keep my business going.

Peter wrote: "We ... don't seem to be spending too much time worrying about how to create jobs."

Who is this "we" you refer to? You're worried about creating jobs? Then why not go start a business and create some?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, just what were those egregious misspeaks of former president Bush?
---

Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing? It is full of people out there taking their time to register amusing things like this, or this, and with great care.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Clovis figured it out, so I should've too. I guess I'm just much less attuned to her thought processes than to Bush's.
---
I've spelt out the logical step I used, and it required no attuning to her thought processes. (Or lack thereof, since that was very probably written by a speechwriter and misread by her)

I believe the difference is not on interpretation skills (surely I am on the losing in your native language), but on disposition to think in more impartial terms. I don't get as carried away as you guys by your politics, for obvious reasons too.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
I can remember people taking him to task for saying "nucular". I'll bet every one of them says "jewlry".
---
I'll bet my ear would hardly notice the difference in both cases.

There are differences between pronunciation errors and logical missteps. Bush, and now Mrs. Clinton, were prone to the last case.

Other than humour, I don't think people should make much of that. Anyone with experience on speaking in public knows it can be a tough place.

erp said...

Clovis, I actually clicked on your links, scrolled down the pages and found nothing remarkable. Making the pie higher may be a Texas expression, new to me, but no more unusual than other regional expressions.

Bush is a very unpretentious totally at peace with himself guy. Effete media types may find him amusing, I find him refreshing and would rather put the future of my country into his hands than anyone else on the national stage right now.

Harry Eagar said...

Really, Skipper, you don't know about the public-private economic development in the 3 most expansive periods of American economics? Well, my contention is hardly radical. But I'll tell a little anecdote that explains it, for those who are willing to look:

Some years ago, I was invited to a talk by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who was going to tell us on Maui how we, too, could become tech millionaires. I had expected he would talk about the latest electronics, but it turned out he was a specialist in automated warehouses. He gave us a bunch of rules for becoming a high-tech hub. You will never guess what #1 was, so I'll tell you:

1. Be next to an Interstate on-ramp.

erp said...

Harry, I dare say Skipper, like the rest of us here, would guess #1 first shot out. You'll never guess why, so I'll tell you. We live in reality.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, I actually clicked on your links, scrolled down the pages and found nothing remarkable.
---
The remarkable thing here is how humourless you are then.

---
I find him refreshing and would rather put the future of my country into his hands
---
And I thought you believed the future should be in the hands of individuals, as opposed to faith in the Dear Leader. Silly me.

Harry Eagar said...

http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2014/nov/03/republican-party-wisconsin/state-republican-party-25000-new-businesses-under-/

erp said...

Obviously a typo as numbers don't have four places after the comma. As for what constitutes a business, it's unlikely a lefty organization has the foggiest idea of what that might be.

Don't fret though Harry, with a month to get the election numbers right, come Wednesday morning, I predict the status quo back in place.

Bret said...

Harry,

I'm not sure what your point is.