In this era of unemployment running rampant, the GOP has come up with a new political buzzword: “job creator”. A political masterstroke, the term embodies the very optimism that the unemployed or underemployed crave, while at the same time assuaging the guilt of the wealthy in this bad economy by allowing them to view themselves as the caped superheroes the world has been waiting for. The perfect juxtaposition to the “soak the rich” demagoguery the Democrats routinely use to rouse their populist base, it has the added benefit of being true. After all, any term is true if you control its definition.
So how have they defined “job creator”? Very simply, they have defined job creator as any person who is responsible for employing others. Or anyone whose profession relies on ancillary support. Or anyone who has the potential of perhaps hiring others. After all, if someone has the potential of hiring others, the only thing keeping them from realizing that potential is their crippling tax burden, correct?
Using this heroic language, the GOP has been able to match the populist rhetoric of the Democrats, and convince large swathes of the American people that their saviors are close at hand, if only the government would get out of the way, and let these noble titans help. I am here to tell you that that is not true.
Under the GOP definition, I am a job creator. As a physician, my work depends heavily on ancillary support personnel. Additionally, our small business employees twelve people. In a very real sense, my professional existence creates jobs, and those salaries are paid directly through my income. I am a truer job creator than most people to whom the GOP talking heads refer.
And yes, I do believe my taxes are too high. When I see the beaureaucracy inherent in the governmental systems, I cringe that I have to contribute to such inefficiency which would never be allowed to exist if the invisible hand of the market were allowed to work on protected federal systems. My taxes are too high because the government could get along with much less, if it could work smarter.
I will not, however, claim my nonexistent intent to hire more people if my taxes were to drop. Running a business is about maximizing profit, and minimizing costs. Yes, even a medical practice is bound by those concerns. I have sat in countless strategy planning meetings with partners, colleagues, and other concerns. And I have yet to hear the question “how can we afford to hire more people?” The question is most often “how can we do more with the people we have?” Or sometimes “Can we afford to let anyone go?” This has nothing to do with the tax rate at the time, it has everything to do with the underlying goal of any business: maximizing profits by minimizing overhead.
Even when the opportunity for growth arises, the first question is “Will we NEED to hire more people?” Hiring someone when running a business is not considered a positive outcome. Employees and their benefits are the largest contributor to overhead by far. A positive outcome is growth of the business through efficient use of existing human resources, or leveraging technology to allow growth without human resources.
So when the GOP claims that cutting taxes on “job creators” will lead to these altruistic citizens spending their newfound extra wealth on employing your out of work family member and saving the economy, they are selling a pipe dream. Those new found profits will be spent on maximizing income for the owner (the whole point of a business), be it a corporation, a person, a board, or a group of shareholders. If doing so requires actually hiring someone, well, that’s just a risk they’ll have to take.