Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Open Letter

"When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it At a time when the American people are still asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?' why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?"
Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) Speaker of the House of Representatives
Supporters Say Minimum Wage Hike Gaining Support
Well, Speaker Boehner, if you really want to know where the jobs are, look no further than wealth inequality in the United States. Not that the whole country needs to be "share and share alike" or any other radical plan, but when people who have money aren't really spending it, and the people who want to buy things don't have money to spend, then the velocity of money slows and economic activity slows down. It's not rocket science. As long as there's such a disparity between "the haves and the have nots," it's really going to be hard to get things moving. I get the concern that small business owners will have a harder time hiring new people. But that's not really what people are looking at. They're concerned that the people who own stock in WalMart or McDonald's are making a killing from passive income (money that they derive from investments and other sources that don't require direct labor) while "the little guy" does all the work, and sees nothing for it.

And you know what, Speaker Boehner? For all the complaining that you do about people acting on that perception, you sure haven't done jack squat to change it.

As long as people are a) feeling strapped and b) seeing "the 1%" living large - seemingly at their expense, they're going to feel that that the current system doesn't work for them. And as long as they don't see a path to success within the system, they're going to want to change it. And right now, that change entails what seems to people like voting for massive, faceless megacorporations to give up some of the wealth that they've been hoarding, and spread it around to everyone else. People are looking for a rising tide that, if it doesn't lift all boats, at least has a decent chance of lifting theirs. And if doesn't come along on the timeframe they want, they're going to create it themselves. You can either be a part of that tide, or be swamped by it. King Knut understood that the sea didn't answer to his commands. It's a useful piece of wisdom, Mr. Speaker. If you want people to do things differently, a nice start would be to quit with the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and tell people: "here is a realistic plan that get you what you want, and aligns with our principles - here are the costs, and here are the benefits." I know - it's not the way that politics is played. Because some TEA Party Republican, Democrat or other opportunistic would-be politician is going to see an opening. They're going play up the costs and potential problems with your plan, and people are going to become nervous. It's human nature. People are going to focus more on the potential losses, especially if they're immediate, than the potential gains, especially if they're in the future.

The jobs, Speaker Boehner, are locked up in all of the money that's not circulating. Like it or not. Release the money, and the jobs will follow it. That's going to be a problem. The people who are holding it want to keep it, understandably, and it's going to be hard to convince them that they should part with it. But there seems to be a habit of defining "leadership" as: Getting people to do things that they'd rather not do. And if you're convinced than leadership is required, and it's not being shown, then I think that you know what you need to do...

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