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Banned TED talk on Job Creation


Off-Topic Discussions

Andoran

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Transcript Of Talk
And the visual aid.

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.

This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape.
But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It's not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are "job creators" and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy.

I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That's why I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a "circle of life" like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it's a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it's the other way around.

Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn't just inaccurate, it's disingenuous.

That's why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.
If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.
Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don't buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can't buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can't buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.
Here's an incredible fact. If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?

Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as "job creators" at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from "job creator" to "The Creator". We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a "job creator" is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges.

The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification
We've had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here's an idea worth spreading.
In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

Thank You.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

What's the actual record of this piece being banned? That's the story I was waiting to read from your title.


It was deemed too politically controversial.
I can SORT OF understand TED's position. They're supposed to be a series of talks by the intellectual elite about how to make a better world, and try to remain as apolitical as possible.

However, considering the bizarre fact that climate change is a political hotbutton issue and they're not about to shy away from data there, they shouldn't here either.

I predict, with a little cajoling, that TED would rather find their balls than be met with disdain at this particular juncture.

Andoran

LazarX wrote:
What's the actual record of this piece being banned? That's the story I was waiting to read from your title.

Link.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Now I'm wondering... what makes a talk, a TED talk? I've watched a few of them and none of them have been boring, to say the least.

Andoran

meatrace wrote:

It was deemed too politically controversial.

I can SORT OF understand TED's position. They're supposed to be a series of talks by the intellectual elite about how to make a better world, and try to remain as apolitical as possible.

However, considering the bizarre fact that climate change is a political hotbutton issue and they're not about to shy away from data there, they shouldn't here either.

I predict, with a little cajoling, that TED would rather find their balls than be met with disdain at this particular juncture.

It will likely get more publicity this way. I just wish the video was available, even if not through them.

Shadow Lodge

This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape.

Sucker.

Your mistake is believing that the republicans actually believe this. They don't. (at least the higher up ones) know its bunk. They just say it because it convinces people to do what they want: cut taxes on the rich.

Republican economic policy is like equine medicine. Times are tough? Cut taxes on the rich to keep the jobs here. Times going well? Cut taxes on the rich to reward them for doing so well.


Here you go: TED Finally Posted The Income Inequality Speech You Weren't Supposed To See


LazarX wrote:
Now I'm wondering... what makes a talk, a TED talk? I've watched a few of them and none of them have been boring, to say the least.

TED is a series of conferences. That's it. They invite people to talk about the interesting ideas/studies/data that they have.

They've been adding talks categorized by broad topic on Netflix recently. I think they're mostly all under 20 minutes, 25 at the most.

Paizo Employee Sales Imp

From here:

"And a non-story about a talk not being chosen, because we believed we had better ones, somehow got turned into a scandal about censorship. Which is like saying that if I call the New York Times and they turn down my request to publish an op-ed by me, they're censoring me.

For the record, pretty much everyone at TED, including me, worries a great deal about the issue of rising inequality. We've carried talks on it in the past, like this one from Richard Wilkinson. We'd carry more in the future if someone can find a way of framing the issue that is convincing and avoids being needlessly partisan in tone."

Shadow Lodge

I don't see how it can be made non partisan, since the republicans are claiming specific things that are patently false and saying anything about the matter requires saying "the republicans are wrong".


BigNorseWolf wrote:

I don't see how it can be made non partisan, since the republicans are claiming specific things that are patently false and saying anything about the matter requires saying "the republicans are wrong".

Looking at it under this context, I think he could have easily left the words republican and democrat out. Everyone would have known what he meant, people going to TED aren't dumb, and it wouldn't have seemed like a partisan attack.

I know, I know, call a spade a spade yadda yadda.

Andoran

BigNorseWolf wrote:

I don't see how it can be made non partisan, since the republicans are claiming specific things that are patently false and saying anything about the matter requires saying "the republicans are wrong".

It is amazing how effective they are at messaging.


So, sorry if I missed the link, but how do you know cutting taxes on the rich doesn't effect jobs? Taxes reduce the amount of money both saved and spent. The less money spent, the less things produced. The less things produced, the less jobs. Unless the rich are hording all of their wealth gained from tax cuts like Scruge Macduck, they will be spending it and that will increase production and will increase jobs. Taxing the rich isn't different from taxing everyone else in that respect.

Shadow Lodge

Cranewings wrote:
So, sorry if I missed the link, but how do you know cutting taxes on the rich doesn't effect jobs?

To paraphrase the video, we've been cutting taxes on the rich like crazy for 30 years and it hasn't helped.

In short: empirical evidence.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

There are not enough rich people spending to have that effect on the economy. By virtue of their larger income, their individual spending is larger than a lower income worker's individual spending. However, the millions of lower income workers spend FAR more than any single super rich household. I would not be surprised to hear that the middle class as a whole contributes more to the economy spending-wise than the entire upper class.


cranewings wrote:
So, sorry if I missed the link, but how do you know cutting taxes on the rich doesn't effect jobs? Taxes reduce the amount of money both saved and spent. The less money spent, the less things produced. The less things produced, the less jobs. Unless the rich are hording all of their wealth gained from tax cuts like Scruge Macduck, they will be spending it and that will increase production and will increase jobs. Taxing the rich isn't different from taxing everyone else in that respect.

So...you didn't read the OP before posting? It's laid out fairly clearly.

Not to say cutting taxes doesn't affect jobs, it's just not as important as stimulating demand, which means making sure the people who WANT more than they have have money to spend. The rich DO just hoard all their wealth, or invest it, but it doesn't go directly into the economy the way consumer spending does. Henry Ford used to say he wanted his workers to be able to buy one of his cars. It's like that. If the average joe can't afford to buy anything but the bare essentials, the parts of the economy that aren't those bare essentials are hurt.

Luxury goods don't stimulate the general economy directly, it creates an alternate economy of goods and services ONLY for the rich and ultra rich.

Also, as BNW said, empirical evidence. If we cut taxes on the rich, and create loopholes, again and again and the economy keeps tanking, it's purely an article of faith that THIS time, THIS round of tax cuts will make everything work out great.

The rich don't "create jobs", demand for products creates jobs. Demand for all consumer products (which is 60% of our economy, btw) is increased when more people can afford it. Simple as that.

Shadow Lodge

ciretose wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

I don't see how it can be made non partisan, since the republicans are claiming specific things that are patently false and saying anything about the matter requires saying "the republicans are wrong".

It is amazing how effective they are at messaging.

Repeat a lie often enough, loud enough, and blatantly enough and people will take it for the truth.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Repeat a lie often enough, loud enough, and blatantly enough and people will take it for the truth.

See: Paizo and goblins.


So the solution is to tax more? That is deification of Government. Don't know if that's an improvement.

Qadira

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Repeat a lie often enough, loud enough, and blatantly enough and people will take it for the truth.
See: Paizo and goblins.

Ah, you make me giggle.

Qadira

Oterisk wrote:

So the solution is to tax more? That is deification of Government. Don't know if that's an improvement.

No, actually the solution is an equitable taxation. Not allowing companies to pay in stock and then having those same employees get loans from a bank tax free with the stock as collateral. Therefor paying little to no tax yet being filthy rich. Equitable taxation of the upper class, while not completely fix our national debt it would remove us from this particular economic downturn we are in.


Crimson Jester wrote:
Oterisk wrote:

So the solution is to tax more? That is deification of Government. Don't know if that's an improvement.

No, actually the solution is an equitable taxation. Not allowing companies to pay in stock and then having those same employees get loans from a bank tax free with the stock as collateral. Therefor paying little to no tax yet being filthy rich. Equitable taxation of the upper class, while not completely fix our national debt it would remove us from this particular economic downturn we are in.

Equitable Taxation is good. That's not what he is promoting. He is promoting deified Government intervention to fix the lack of jobs. If he finished his speech with, "Let's tax everyone 15%" instead of "Let's tax the rich." I would have believed his earlier statement of a circle of life between middle class and rich to create jobs.

He says that he is a rich entrepreneur. Then he says that the rich are as important to the economy as squirrels are to evolution. If he is only as important as a squirrel when considering the big question of the origins of life, then how much importance should I put into his speech?

Andoran

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

He did not say the rich were not important to the economy. He said that rich people do not create jobs. I don't know how you made that misinterpretation.


Okay, that last statement was petty. I will admit it.

I just don't think the government is the solution. Taking money from one segment of society to enrich another part of society is the problem. Do we want more of the problem to fix the problem?


You're saying that we're saying the opposite of what we're actually saying. We're saying hey let's look at the empirical evidence of what policies work to improve the economy, you're saying but that's deification of government!! Uh no. It's deification of laissez faire to imagine that there is little that government can do to increase the subjective value of the citizenry.

(Also, if you think it's equitable to tax everyone the same percentage, then we're not even having the same conversation. You need a certain amount to live. A certain amount over that to be happy and healthy. And then everything over that is just gravy. You'd really tax the necessary for life the same as what it takes to be happy and healthy, and then that the same as the gravy?!)

In public life, there are negative externalities (like environmental pollution and bad pharmaceuticals) that it takes a government to reduce, because the individual rational self-interest is to increase them for personal gain. And, there are positive externalities (like good roads and a reliable civil court system for enforcing contracts) that it takes a government to provide, because free riders deny an incentive to the free market.

That's Econ 101 -- and I became a liberal Democrat precisely because I've studied economics all the way to the college junior level in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, the economic history of the U.S., and the history of economic thought. (All for fun! That wasn't even my degree.) The more I studied and pondered, the more I realized that the things I thought as a conservative Republican just weren't so.

And so I changed my mind to fit the facts, instead of the other way around.


I'm using the argument that he is using. If one group of people is deified through being perceived to have the power to create jobs, then it only follows that any other group to have the power to create jobs is also deified.

Also, I never said there is little the government can do to increase the subjective value of the citizenry. My phrase "I don't think the government is the solution" is meant in the context of my other statements in the same line which talk about jobs. I don't believe that government has no purpose. I just think it would suit itself better if it stuck to things like infrastructure and enforcing contracts and preventing monopolies and punishing criminals and defending our borders instead of taking people's money away from them and giving it to other people and saying that it has helped.


Government is what we as a society decide is important. So if we decide that guns to defend our borders are important, we spend money as a society on them. We can use empirical evidence to make those decisions.

Corporations benefit from roads and public education. They get a more highly trained workforce and a means of transporting both that workforce and whatever goods or services that are part of their businesses.

Government is not some nameless, shapeless entity that controls our lives. It is a manifestation of what we decide is important. We can push the economy forward by having the government take a large role during a downturn, by deciding that the economy should have a bare minimum. Something to remember is that the government doesn't sit on money, they spend it. Reducing government during a period like this is a decision to reduce the bottom size of the economy, by laying more people off.

Similarly, people in the lower classes are less likely to sit on their money. Lower and middle class families will save a smaller portion of any increase in wealth than rich people. If you want to stimulate the economy, giving a million people $100 dollars is better than giving one person $100 million.

Lastly, it might be the alcohol talking, but people is a really funny looking word right now.


Oterisk wrote:
I'm using the argument that he is using. If one group of people is deified through being perceived to have the power to create jobs, then it only follows that any other group to have the power to create jobs is also deified.

This is gibberish. If A=/=X then B=/=X. It's a nonsensical statement. "One group of people", the uber rich, shouldn't be deified for creating jobs because THEY EMPIRICALLY DO NOT. Another group of people, the middle class, shouldn't be deified but should be correctly credited for creating jobs, because their aggregate market demand EMPIRICALLY DOES.

If the government only sticks to things like you say above, we will have a worse and worse economy. Lower taxes on the rich and faith in the free market won't work, we're saying, because it hasn't as of yet.

Shadow Lodge

Oterisk wrote:

So the solution is to tax more? That is deification of Government. Don't know if that's an improvement.

We could tax the same amount, but with a different method 15% for the middle class, 30% for the uber rich.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Now I'm wondering... what makes a talk, a TED talk? I've watched a few of them and none of them have been boring, to say the least.

TED is a series of conferences. That's it. They invite people to talk about the interesting ideas/studies/data that they have.

They've been adding talks categorized by broad topic on Netflix recently. I think they're mostly all under 20 minutes, 25 at the most.

They're also in the freebie Video Podcast section on iTunes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Cosmo wrote:

From here:

"And a non-story about a talk not being chosen, because we believed we had better ones, somehow got turned into a scandal about censorship. Which is like saying that if I call the New York Times and they turn down my request to publish an op-ed by me, they're censoring me.

For the record, pretty much everyone at TED, including me, worries a great deal about the issue of rising inequality. We've carried talks on it in the past, like this one from Richard Wilkinson. We'd carry more in the future if someone can find a way of framing the issue that is convincing and avoids being needlessly partisan in tone."

You work at TED? Hopefully with better success than the Fairy Godparent thing. :) Then again that might explain why my access to TED Talks is so scattered I can only find small selections of them available at the various places I look, whether it's YouTube, NetFlix, or iTunes. Where is a good place to get the TED library?


TED

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