The Big Lie that the Left Is Anti-Business
If there’s one smear that Republicans and Libertarians are fond of repeating over and over again, it’s the idea that Democrats are “anti-business.”
Sometimes they even take it as far as saying that Democrats are actually “anti-business.”
Either way, it’s a smear based on a big giant lie, the latest example of which comes from the former Charles Koch Foundation, now known as the libertarian Cato Institute's Michael Taner.
In a new piece for the National Review’s website, Taner argues that despite their outward differences on many issues, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton share one thing in common: a deep hatred for business and business-owners.
This hatred, he says, has resulted in the “most anti-business election campaigns of any major party in modern history.”
That’s right, the “most anti-business election campaigns of any major party in modern history”!
So what Taner’s evidence for this shocking claim?
His evidence is the fact that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton want to double or almost double the minimum wage, institute some kind of paid family leave program, and continue president Obama’s push to expand overtime pay for certain types of workers.
Yep, that’s it.
Oh yeah, and the fact that both Sanders and Clinton might raise some taxes, put in place some new regulations, and that Sanders wants to expand Medicare to all Americans.
All of these policies, Taner argues, will make owning and operating a business more “costly” and thus hurt “job-creators” and the economy.
There are a couple of gaping flaws in the argument presented here, but the first and most obvious is the fact that it’s based on one gigantic lie.
To make his point about how dangerous Democratic policies are, Taner cites Greg Mankiw, who says that “the wage a worker earns, measured in units of output, equals the amount of output the worker can produce.”
As Taner explains, “In non-economist speak, [this means] you can’t pay more for a worker than the value that worker provides. Pay, in this case, means the full cost of employing that worker: wages, insurance, training, retirement benefits, and so on.”
What Taner is basically saying here is that we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage or expand family leave because doing so would be giving workers more than they actually deserve according to what they produce and therefore artificially raise the cost of doing business and kill lots of jobs.
This isn’t just morally wrong, it’s economically dishonest.
Since the 1980s and the Reagan Revolution, wages have stagnated even as productivity has skyrocketed.
In other words, raising the minimum wage to $12 or $15 an hour and giving workers paid family leave would do the exact opposite of what Michael Taner says it would.
It would actually give workers a fair share of what they’re producing.
And to be honest, it probably doesn’t go far enough. If we really wanted to adequately compensate workers for all they make, we’d raise the minimum wage to about $20 an hour.
There’s a bigger flaw in Michael Taner’s argument, though, that poses even larger problems for his idea that Democrats are “anti-business”
And that’s the fact that countries that have put in place the kind “anti-business” policies that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders support are actually quite business-friendly and most of their businesses - particularly small and mid-sized ones - are doing better than are ours.
You won’t hear this on Fox So-Called News, but democratic socialist Denmark, democratic socialist Sweden, democratic socialist Norway, and democratic socialist Sweden are all in the top 10 of Forbes Magazine’s ranking of the best countries to do business in.
Denmark is number 1, Norway is number 3, Sweden is number 5, and Finland is number 6.
If the kind of pro-worker policies that Michael Taner slams Hillary and Bernie for supporting really were that bad for business, you’d expect all of these democratic socialist countries to have floundering economies.
But they don’t, and that should pretty much end any discussion about whether not our Democratic candidates' policies are bad for business
You see, Democrats aren’t anti-business; they’re pro-business. They just want workers and employers to both prosper.
What Democrats are against is exploitation, monopoly, and the union-busting, practices that have all expanded during the era of Reaganomics.
What Democrats want is to return the economy to the way it used to work, the way it was before Reagan when yes, taxes were high, but regulations were strong, unions were powerful, and the middle class was booming.
Ignore the libertarian lies; it’s really that simple.