Free-market capitalists, which apparently is just about any Republican these days, tell us government is too burdensome to businesses and we need to cut taxes. Their standard message for how to get the economy moving is to cut taxes and get government out of the way. There’s just one problem, the economy, at least as measured by the major stock indexes, finished 2013 with tremendous gains, and that means the personal economy of so-called “job creators” is doing quite well. How’s your personal economy coming along?
• The Dow Jones industrial average finished the year up 26.5%, its best return since 1995. It closed the year out with its 52nd record close of the year, rising 72.37 points to 16,576.66. That pushed the bull market to an even more notable milestone: At Tuesday’s close the Dow is more than 10,000 points above its 2009 bear market low — 10,030 points, to be exact.
• The S&P 500 soared nearly 30%, its best performance since a 31.01% jump in 1997. The large-company index also closed out the year with a fresh record, only the sixth time that has happened in its history, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. It posted 45 record closes, the most in 15 years.
• The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite was the biggest winner in 2013, racking up a gain of 38.3%, its seventh-biggest annual gain ever and its best since 2009 when it rebounded sharply from its bear-market low.
While it is true that many average middle-class Americans are invested in the stock market (usually through retirement plans), it is the super-wealthy who benefit the most when the stock market soars. And these super-wealthy are usually placed in the “job creator” category by those free-market capitalists (and your Republican uncle). And it’s likely someone like your Republican uncle who is complaining about a lousy economy and that it’s all President Obama’s fault because he’s a Kenyan socialist, who hates success, and who wants to punish corporations.
Clearly the economy is doing well (REALLY well actually) for a small elite group of wealthy individuals. If that’s the case, and if they are the job creators, then I just have one question: Where are the fucking jobs?
We have over 30 years of proof that trickle-down, supply-side economics is indeed “voodoo economics” as George H.W. Bush said of Ronald Reagan’s economic plan (during the 1980 Republican primary season). Yet here we are, still listening to some of the same supply-side Republicans espouse the same economic nonsense that created the Great Recession that many Americans are still trying to recover from.
Too many people still choose to believe that if we give further tax breaks, loopholes, and other benefits to people who already have more money than they could ever spend, somehow that will lead to job growth. And people believe this despite the reality (and well, common sense) that tells us the only way you create a job is with demand. You can give rich people even greater tax cuts, but they will pocket that gift if the middle-class continues to lose it’s purchasing power.