Why Demand, Not Business, Creates Jobs

To the Editor:
We’ve been hearing it for thirty years, and as the 2012 elections rev up, we’ll be hearing it more: If we reduce taxes, government spending and regulations, the private sector will create jobs.

The argument is clear, logical and compelling. Unfortunately, it is not English.

This must be remembered at all times — when conservatives say “jobs” what they mean is “big business profits.” By extension, the incessantly repeated phrase “job-killing” translates to “profit-reducing.”

The measures they demand surely would increase business profits. According to conservative dogma, business profits lead directly to employment. The rationalization is that the more assets a business has, the better able it is to create jobs.

The flaw in that argument is that businesses do not hire when they are able to, they hire when they have to. The last thing any business wants do to is reduce the bottom line by increasing payroll costs. They can amass Fort Knox, but nobody will get a job until a business can no longer service their accounts with the staff on hand.

The one thing that can make hiring happen is customers. It is market demand, not big business, that creates employment. Business only fills out the forms and decides whether a paycheck will go to a worker in the United States or overseas. Business creates jobs like a windmill creates wind.

The conservatives know this, of course, but their only real agenda is increasing business profits. That’s something they cannot say in our language and win elections. So they’ll keep saying “jobs, jobs, jobs”. But they’ll mean something else.

Jeff S.
Boynton Beach, FL

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