Posted: 02/19/14 12:46
by Dave Mindeman
It is interesting to see how concerned about jobs Republicans and business interests get when taxes and wages are involved.
They are not concerned about unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. In fact, Congressional Republicans have blocked benefits as often as they can. They block stimulus packages that can help create new jobs. They vote against infrastructure investments and whittle down bonding bills that could boost the construction industry.
But their ears perk up when anyone talks about taxes and wages - because suddenly they are very concerned about protecting jobs.
The Medical Device Industry has been working and lobbying around the clock to get rid of the excise tax on Medical Devices. Medtronic blamed the tax for a profit reduction (except all indications are that a write off on a failed research project was the actual reason). And a device association came out with a report which blamed the tax for 14,000 job losses across the industry.
The real story on that report is that it was a sampling of 38 firms and then the data was extrapolated across the entire industry. Too small a sampling to realistically make that claim legitimate.
There are surveys which dispute this report:
Not everyone agrees with the industry that the tax will have ugly effects. A survey of 3,800 managers of medical device companies worldwide by the consulting firm Emergo Group, for example, concluded that the device tax's impact was "not as severe as predicted." Half of those responding said they "did not make significant changes" in response to the medical device tax.
In addition, the Medtronic report, trying to be critical of the excise tax, noted that their tax payments were much higher than last year's quarter -- failing to note that this obviously meant a much higher increase in sales.
But let's also look at the CBO report on minimum wage and its effect on jobs.
Business wants no change in the minimum wage, even though wages are rapidly losing purchasing power compared to a few decades ago...and even though business profits are skyrocketing.
Because business and the Republicans want to maintain the status quo of the poverty ridden minimum wage, they point directly to the CBO estimate of losing 500,000 jobs (if increased to $10.10) over the course of 2 1/2 years. They do not mention the side note that over 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty due to that wage change.
Yes, Republicans are suddenly very concerned about those jobs. They want to protect them. Which seems a little disingenuous based upon their continued opposition to extended unemployment benefits for workers who have already lost their jobs. And given the fact that they opposed the auto industry bailout that saved thousands of jobs in that industry.
Republicans and business are concerned about jobs only when it coincides with their own best interests. It's not about the people - the individuals - that hold those jobs. They don't concern themselves as to whether those minimum wage jobholders can survive or raise a family or stay out of poverty.
That is not their concern. Their only concern is how much that job will cost the employer. They want to look at the bigger picture - numbers and percentages. Can't be concerned about Joe or Jim or Sally or Jane.
That's the perspective we are dealing with.