There she goes again
People are still debating the old riddle: “Does it make a sound if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it?”
To settle that question, why not just put some dynamite at the base of a large tree, set up a recording device and then check back after the blast to see if there’s a loud thud on the recording after the explosion, with no one around to hear it?
To apply that riddle to a current occurrence, what if Hillary Clinton reveals herself to be excessively nonsensical by declaring that businesses don’t create jobs and then the top three Sunday political shows — NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” — don’t even mention her inane statement. Does that mean Hillary didn’t make a sound?
“Don’t let anybody tell you that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary proclaimed to loud applause at a recent political rally in Boston.
“You know that old theory — trickle-down economics,” she continued. “That has been tried. That has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”
Those anti-business, anti-market comments are reminiscent of Mrs. Clinton’s haughty reply in 1993 when she was told her Rube Goldberg health plan could bankrupt small businesses in America. “I can’t be responsible,” she declared, “for every undercapitalized small business in America” — even if her proposed mandates and fines are the source of the undercapitalization.
There are multiple levels of fundamental misinformation contained in Hillary’s aforesaid economic analyses.
First, during President Reagan’s so-called “trickle-down” economics, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.1 percent in 1980 to 5.5 percent in 1988. Similarly, the inflation rate dropped from 10.4 percent in 1980 to 4.2 percent in 1988. Overall, double-digit misery turned into job growth and across-the-board gains in inflation-adjusted income.
Second, the vast majority of U.S. workers are employed in jobs that were created in the private sector, as reported in a March 2014 publication, “Selected Characteristics of the Private and Public Sector Workers,” by the Congressional Research Service: “In 2013, public sector jobs accounted for 16.0 percent of total employment.”
The remaining 84 percent proportion of total jobs that are in the private sector supply the bulk of funds that pay the salaries and benefits of the public sector workforce.
Maggie Haberman, a senior political reporter at Politico, reported that “some Democrats who back Clinton said privately she appeared to be trying too hard to … adjust to the modern economic progressive language, much in the way President Barack Obama did during a campaign rally in 2012, when he said, ‘You didn’t build that.’ ” Obama’s message to those who built businesses and created jobs: “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
In point of fact, the top 10 percent of U.S. income earners in 2011 paid 68 percent of all federal income taxes while earning 45 percent of all income. Those earners can say, correctly, that they not only built something but also picked up a disproportionate share of the tab for the roads, bridges and America’s C-5M transport planes.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur (firstname.lastname@example.org).