Businessman and investor, Kevin O'Leary, mostly known for starring in Shark Tank in America and Dragon's Den in his home country of Canada, was interviewed on CNN by Erin Burnett's Out Front. This appearance took place towards the end of February but this video clip of Kevin advocating for less government regulation and against the minimum wage increase has experienced a resurgence on the Internet lately.
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. I was going to let this pass without a comment but it just kept popping up. There are many faults with Kevin's logic here. I'm surprised Erin Burnett didn't push back a bit harder, especially on misleading ideas like the 1% paying taxes at a 38% tax rate while the middle class only pay 12% on average. Most of us who were paying attention during all the presidential campaigning for the 2008 and 2012 elections are familiar with this misleading bit of lip service. More than likely those reading this pay a higher tax percentage than Mr. Wonderful does; ask Mr. Warren "There's only three people on the planet richer than me" Buffet and Politifact. So there's no need to go into that.
What’s come under barrages of scrutiny is now being defended in the soundest way we have ever seen. The argument against the “1%” has always been a major issue every since the exposure of activists years ago. Rarely has a person of the “1%” ever gone to great lengths to defend their side and what they believe. - conservativepost.com After His Response, CNN Immediately Regretted Asking Kevin O’Leary The ‘1%’ QuestionYup, it sure does sound good at times. Kevin speaks well and he's confident in what he delivers, which is why some people believe these cons. It's how politicians get us to vote for them even though they continue to show us that they will lie during the campaign just to get in office. "Confidence" is where "con" comes from in this sense; a "con man" is literally a "confidence man". I'm not suggesting that the grinning Canadian is a pulling a con, I think he actually believes what he's saying. It's how you get a better deal.
A few things bug me though that people like O'Leary keep trying to push on people. He remarks early on about the "vilification of the 1%"; that misnomer really grinds my gears. People using this line of talk are trying to further this idea of a war on the rich for being rich. Kevin O'Leary is an entrepreneur investor who worked his way up to the about $300 million net worth he has today. I don't demonize him for that achievement, nor do I think most American's hate him or other monetarily successful people for their net worth specifically. It's not necessarily the fact that the 1% have astronomical bank accounts that have people calling them out, it's what they are doing with it, how they are taking advantage of others and the system, and how they are stepping on people to increase that wealth. This is America, we love people to be successful. Being successful is apart of our tagline. "Live the American Dream" is right up there with "I'm Lovin' It", "Built Ford Tough", and "Just Do It" for most influential slogans. The 1% aren't being vilified for being successful they are being criticized for being dicks. The wealth gap has always been here, sure, but it's never been this wide. It's not just a massive disparity by accident either, it's taken a constant sustained effort of an impressive amount of greed and entitlement to get it to these levels. We're talking about super human levels of douchebaggery here. It's hard work.
The Job Creators. These guys love this. It's like their preferred weapon. Again though, it's misleading. And again, we heard a crap ton about this during the debates about extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They needed those cuts to create jobs even though they had those cuts all along yet hadn't created them. The problem with O'Leary's attempt at putting the job creation ideology in a solitary box is that it tries to make people believe that a job alone is the cure-all. He doesn't say "living wage job creators". Just jobs. I can be a job creator right now if I offered 100 people $1 a month to do something for me. Boom, I just created one hundred jobs. But, those workers can't live on that, they can't even buy a candy bar these days from that wage in America. I just created jobs though, so you're logic means nothing here peasant!
The response will be, "The market won't allow it because someone will pay them higher for the same thing and take your workers." That would always be true if there were more jobs than people and those jobs paid living wages. The number of people far exceed the number of available jobs the Kevin O'Leary's of the world create. So in terms that O'Leary would understand, supply is less than demand. This will never change so the market correction idea is bogus and they know it. Supply is always going to be a premium commodity when the product is jobs. So in my extremely ludicrous $1 a month wage scenario the market won't step in to force my price higher because even if every single job available was filled, there would still be people looking for work. If someone gets desperate enough they will take that price. And I could sit there knowing I could pay $2 a month and it wouldn't affect me at all but never you mind, I need all the extra I can get; I don't have enough cars yet.
People don't get a job just for the sake of having a job. People get jobs to make an income, to provide for themselves and their families. I'm sure I can come up with any number of jobs to be done around the house but no one will want them if I'm not paying. This steadfast delivery of the talking point "we can create more jobs" also carries with it an unsaid "and you should be happy to get what we give you" with it. Listen again when people start saying it. The idea sounds great on the surface and the defenders pit the middle class, small business owners, liberals, conservatives, and everyone against one another while they laugh all the way to the bank.
Now I'm not saying a minimum wage increase will solve all the problems either; even though as Burnett pointed out it will raise many out of poverty. I'm also not diminishing the importance of business or the jobs they create. I am challenging the ideas that O'Leary and those that think like him put forth in regards to how they use "job creator" as a multi-pass as a reason to allow them to operate with impunity. I suspect that business will just pass along the minimum wage increase to the customers and eventually the spread will be the same as it is now prompting a need for another increase. It's like how the cost of living keeps going up. Or they'll see it as the customers now having more income so they can increase their prices to get that extra 1ooth percent of profit they missed, because business operates like it's never seen a bell curve or taken a basic economics class. O'Leary said we have a "growth" problem. We aren't growing as fast as we should. Should is a wishful term. Nothing grows forever except maybe stupidity. Limited resources, limited currency, limited customers does not equal unlimited growth. Sustainability is what lasts forever. Look "sustain" is right there in the word. You can fake continued growth by cutting costs, shipping jobs overseas, reducing benefits, streamlining production, or firing workers which will allow you to operate at the same high profit margin and pay out those inflated large salaries and bonuses but you can't get infinity out of the finite.
It isn't robbing the rich to give to the poor when you are correcting injustices that you've been committing just because you have been committing them so long it feels like it's normal and how it's supposed to be. But it is robbing the poor to use your power, money, and influence to make sure the poor stay poor. You're company looks after a handful of people, while the government has to look after the welfare of hundreds of millions. You alone are not before them. Let's not forget that the reason regulations came about in the first place is because the industries were taking advantage of the workers. The abuses of power, control, and influence is what put the yolk on the necks of business. Ironically, it's the abuses committed by the 1% that brought about the regulations that make it more difficult for the small business that the 1% keep trying to stand behind as a reason to have regulatory rules loosened. And people are buying it lock, stock, and barrel. Of course, too much regulation can make it impossible for those wishing for a fair share to do anything but too little makes it possible for those wishing for everyone's share to do everything.
Shhh, use your inside voice Kevin.
Crossposted from: IndiePundit.com http://www.indiepundit.com/...