July 4, 2012

Listening to Smart People Again, or YOU Are a Job Creator

In the post about the healthcare decision, I mentioned in passing that if people aren't spending most of their income on healthcare they can go out and consume more stuff.  That reminded me of a notion that Nick Hanauer puts forth in his talk at last spring's TED Conference.

Actually, that's not fully accurate.  I was first reminded by simultaneous posts on Google+ by two really smart people that I follow.  First, my old pal, music critic Danny Johnson (go encircle him now, especially if you like to read about opera), posted a link to an excellent piece in GQ by one of my favorite journos, Jon Ronson.  It is a great portrait of income disparity in our country.  (Go read it now.  I'll wait.)  Hanauer is one interview subject in the piece and he essentially lays out the skeleton for his TED Talk thesis.  So, his idea was doubly on my radar when Tim O'Reilly (go encircle Tim on Google+ now, especially if you like to read about the notion of government as a platform, a.k.a. Government 2.0) posted Hanauer's TED video.

Nick nicely weaves to together some threads that have been loose in my head for a while now.  The idea that we need to keep taxes low on the rich has always seemed foolish to me.  We are a consumer driven economy now more than ever.  So, if we remove many of the impediments to consumer spending, there will be more consumption and more jobs.  One way to free up more disposable income for the middle class is to remove the burden of healthcare from the millions of uninsured Americans, and a fair way to pay for that investment in job growth is to go back to the Clinton Era tax rates.  Quit whining rich guys, you are only paying capital gains tax anyway...and that is a topic for another post.

Now, I don't think it is very wise to go back to the punitive tax rates of the 60's and 70's either, but when the top earners complain about taxes being too high I want to laugh, or cry, or puke, or all three simultaneously.  That the Elephant-based party is so enamored of the fallacy that low taxes create jobs is just another reason to question their grasp on reality. Wait, no, they have a firm grasp on the very real checkbooks in their wealthy donor's pockets.  The Grover Norquist tax-pledge is doing just as much to raise the national debt as is Medicare.

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