Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production with the goal of making a profit, but central to making a profit is a consumer base with the means to buy the private business’s goods and services. Republicans and their corporate masters are wont to trumpet free market capitalism as the be all, end all of a vibrant economy, but the GOP’s primary economic agenda is restricting consumers’ purchasing power effectively creating an environment that is slowly destroying business; and capitalism. There are no winners in the Republican economy who are not the extremely wealthy, banks, and corporations, but in due time at the rate Republicans are going, even America’s elite will feel the death of American capitalism.
It has been nearly two-and-a-half years since Republicans took control of the House with promises to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, but they have not created one job despite their claims of passing over thirty jobs bills. American businesses have suffered, and complained loudly that they do not need deregulation, lower taxes, or interest-free loans to prosper and start hiring new employees despite what Republicans claim; they need consumers with money to spend.
Economists and business experts alike agree that a strong recovery and thriving economy requires more than a population with barely enough money to purchase the basic necessities for survival, and yet that is precisely what Republican economic policy since the Great Recession has entailed. In fact, their job-killing policies are driving more Americans into poverty that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) said plagues the entire world as they noted that ending poverty and growing the world economy is dependent on policies that encourage job creation Republicans are loathe to even consider.
Over the past year House Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor have complained they have passed more than thirty jobs bills that economic experts claim will not create jobs because eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, and removing “onerous federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation” will not create jobs. Last February, another study confirmed that regulations and taxes are not holding back businesses from hiring despite the perpetual claims from Republicans, and in fact, a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) last year again found that regulations, especially EPA regulations, actually creates a substantial number of jobs. According to the EPI report, just one new regulation will create approximately 170,000 jobs by 2015.
Boehner is still pushing real job creators like the Keystone XL pipeline slated to create between 35-50 jobs by 2015 if it garners presidential approval, and combined with the Republican sequester’s nearly 750,000 jobs destroyed by early 2014, the Republicans will have killed a net 749,950 jobs and taken three-quarters of a million consumers out of commission that businesses complain is preventing them from hiring, and surviving if Republicans continue killing jobs at the rate they are going.
Republicans are not satisfied either. Eric Cantor is proposing legislation to end overtime pay and there is a serious movement afoot among conservatives panting to eliminate the federal minimum wage that will not only create deeper poverty, it will make it nearly impossible for consumers to afford food and shelter much less patronize businesses to buy durable goods and services that corporate and small businesses depend on for survival. In February, retail giant WalMart complained their profits were falling behind and led them to ask; “where are our customers, and where is their money?” Their customers’ money is being held by big businesses like Wal-Mart who pay minimum wages and restrict the lion’s share of their employees to part-time work they know are poverty creators as they counsel workers to sign up for food stamps and Medicaid that Republicans are slashing to cut the deficit as they hand more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and their corporations.
As economic stewards, Republicans have shown themselves to be abject failures on every front whether it is driving millions of Americans into poverty or creating hardship for businesses with their incessant claim that taxes and regulations make small and large employers reluctant to expand and hire more workers. Another study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that the lack of job creation is a direct result of a lack of demand for their products because if consumers do not have money to spend, businesses have no reason to expand or hire and at some point they will have no reason to stay in business. The only period in the past four and a half years of business expansion and decent job growth was after President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) that created at least 4 million jobs and saved the automobile industry that is the only real success story this country has experienced. There has been tepid job growth, but the jobs are primarily in the service sector and pay minimum wages for part time work that will not even afford an apartment in any state of the Union.
In states Republicans are destroying unions and public sector jobs that are typically low to middle income jobs that pay living wages that are the drivers of a vibrant economy the GOP is desperate to destroy according to their version of laissez faire capitalism. The American Legislative Exchange Council is providing Republicans with Draconian right to work laws that are a consumer-driven economy’s death knell, and combined with the push to eliminate overtime pay and the federal minimum wage, the GOP’s push to increase poverty will be the undoing of the business community Republicans claim to champion. Capitalism can only exist, and succeed, if there are profits for business borne of consumer spending, and as the GOP eliminates jobs and consumers’ ability to spend, not only will they destroy profits, they will destroy more jobs, and eventually businesses that are the lifeblood of a capitalist-driven economy.