The Rich Do Not Create Jobs: Consumers Do

Try convincing Republicans and many Democrats of this. It’s an article of faith that raising taxes on the rich — even on the super-rich — will kill jobs. It’s not true. Conservatives love to characterize this idea that tax cuts for the rich create jobs as something “everyone knows,” and anyone who disagrees is an economic illiterate who doesn’t understand Basic Economics 101. Not even Nobel Prize-winning economists can disabuse them of this notion. But presumably if some extremely wealthy businessperson said publicly that wealth is created from the bottom up, not the top down, conservatives would find the concept more credible.

And here he is:

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)

Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

 Read the entire article. Nothing many of us don’t already know, but if we don’t challenge these harmful myths, we’ll never get anywhere.
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