Psychological Warfare in the Political Debate ~ Who’s Brainwashing Whom?

Disgusted with the current state of affairs in this country? You’re not alone.

August 15, 2001 — Have you noticed the recent terminology change in the public debate? Conservative politicians are referring to the rich as “job creators?” Republicans vying for their party’s nod to run against President Obama in 2012 are using the term over and over. Why? Psychology — they are brainwashing their constituents into believing that lower marginal tax rates, special deductions and government subsidies available only to the rich and hugely profitable industries will ultimately benefit the economy and them with more employment opportunities. It’s an extension of the old “trickle-down” theory of economics.

This is not unlike the terminology change from “inheritance tax” — another straightforward, value-neutral descriptor — to the emotionally charged term, “death tax.”

Subtle word changes like this impact the public debate by purposely replacing straightforward terms with emotionally charged words that are intended to skew the dialogue in favor of a tiny minority in this economy, the rich — excuse me, “job creators”. It’s part of the class warfare that Warren Buffett recently referred to, the warfare that he said was started by his class and which they are currently winning.

Business investments, which often do come from the wealthy, do not lead economic recovery. Business investments only follow it to take advantage of improving economic conditions. Corporations and job creators are sitting on trillions of dollars rather than investing these dollars to expand production capacity. Why? Well, Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce are saying that it’s uncertainty in the marketplace, fear of how new regulations and provisions of the new health care law will affect business. Okay, that may be partly true. But what’s more true is that businesses do not expand production and services where there is no growth in demand. Instead, businesses cut pack on domestic labor and look for new customers. In the current environment, this means expanding businesses overseas, in China and India for example, where populations are becoming more affluent even as our population is becoming less so

Disgusted with the current state of affairs in this country, and especially the weather here in Texas lately, a good friend recently said to me that his new idea of the American Dream is to learn German and move to Bavaria.

Please feel free to post a comment whether you agree or not.

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 8:45 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Opa,

    Well put. I keep up with your blog and read most of your posts and appreciate them. But, I’ve heard this “job creator” mantra tossed around by conservatives here in the South for a few years now. There are a couple of ignorant clowns on a syndicated radio talk show out of Birmingham, AL, Rick and Bubba, who talk about this from time to time. They even had the audacity to say that they and their listeners, most of whom are poor or working class individuals in the rural South, should go out and hug a rich guy for giving them a job. Yes, it’s pretty sickening.

    Now, I’m a scientist, not an economist, but this “rich guys are job creators” rhetoric seems to be a drastic oversimplification of a much more complicated process. Of course, I have found much of the cliches bantered around by modern conservatives to be lacking in true substance or not based on any meaningful sense of truth or reality. Within my own field, I’m all too aware of the lack of understanding regarding the science behind climate change. I hear the most outrageous claims by “skeptics” who know nothing about climate science. Anyway, not to get off topic here. But, as one who understands economic theory much better than me, would it be incorrect to say that the creation of jobs is much more complicated than rich guys doling them out? It seems to me that in a market-driven economy like ours, the creation of demand as a primary driving component of that economy, is more efficient when the population spends a relatively large percentage of its income on diverse goods and services. It also seems that this is done more efficiently when wealth is more evenly spread out amongst the populace. Therefore, we are all job creators, and a healthy and stable middle class are perhaps the most important job creators in that economy. This is essentially what I say to conservative friends/contacts when I get into discussions about such matters. Anyway, I want to make sure I’m not making incorrect claims…any further information about the process of job creation would be appreciated. Thanks and take care Opa.


  2. No, I don’t think you’re off base at all about the creation of jobs, Kris. Read what Warren Buffett has said recently about his years of experience in business activities and financing

    Never, he has said, has he known tax rates to deter anyone from making a business or investment decision. Tax deductions can and often do sweeten the deal, but tax rates do not. It is illogical for tax payers to give the rich money and expect them to hire new workers with it in the absence of demand for products and services. Our biggest worry now, I fear, is that corporations aren’t much concerned about the lack of demand from domestic consumers. They’re doing just fine selling stuff made overseas to people overseas, the Chinese and Indians who are growing more and more affluent even as we grow less so.


  3. Thanks for your reply Opa. Yes, it’s interesting to read the words of one of the wealthiest men in the world, essentially saying…tax me more and the middle class less. Yet, there appear to be some in our society who have become so brainwashed in the mantra of “don’t tax the wealthy” and who regard Reagonomics as the creme de la creme of economic policy that they won’t even listen. What is so amazing to me are the poor and middle class who look out more for the interests of the wealthy than they do their own. Now, I’m not trying to demonize the wealthy here, I’m really not, but at least they should pay their fair share. The cliches tossed around by the right are forcing us down a dangerous path of widening economic disparity.

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