About Job Creators

Everyone talks about big corporations being too big to fail. Maybe the question should be asked about the nation when the fabric that holds society together is being so frayed.

Years ago I worked as a creative director in the NYC advertising world. My boss in this instance I write about was a mentor and almost a friend. One day we were talking about his plans for me, which involved taking some of his responsibilities. This drew in salary. “Look,” he said, “every dollar in your pocket is a dollar out of mine.” It was so sobering and abrupt that neither of us said anything for a minute or so.

For this young man (then), it brought home that in business there are no relationships that transcend money, none, absolutely none.

Sticking with the private sector now at the forefront with discussions about jobs, for anyone who runs an organization, two things are paramount above all else, particularly in small business. They are to pay the very least in taxes as possible (the reason for the complicated tax laws that allow infinite maneuver) and to employ as few as is viable. In today’s scenario, the temp worker industry is going through the roof, even for executives, because it releases employers from any employee responsibilities while also making benefits a non-issue.

Once upon a time, a person was lucky to have a job. Now it has changed to being lucky to have a temporary job. This is a part of job creation, that is a day-to-day guess for the employee as to whether he or she is on the team. This policy is thriving, but no one talks about it.

The last and best example of what is going on with job creation is what is happening currently with the Caterpillar Corporation, located in Joliet, Illinois, a city of 147,000. Caterpillar posted a second quarter profit gain of 67%. In 2011, earnings were $4.9 billion. The word “billion” gets tossed around so much, people may lose track that each billion translates to a thousand million. Thus this figure could just as well read 4.9 thousand million dollars. Because of this success, executive pay, as one might cynically and realistically expect, has been handsomely rewarded.

Putting aside the tax concessions the city had to give Caterpillar to stay in Joliet and notwithstanding the continuing yearly profits that preceded 2011, 780 workers of the machinist’s union have been on strike for 13 weeks because Caterpillar wants a six-year wage and pension freeze. All the while these workers, members of what used to be defined as the middle class, have had to watch scabs, as they were called in the 20s and 30s, or temps as they are termed now, cross the picket line. Imagine being in the place of one of these striking workers—most typically I would guess family men with children to feed and plan futures for!

You oftentimes hear that these are business and not personal decisions. When employed, the striking workers pay taxes that pay for basic stuff like police, firemen, education, the mortgage and the like—the essentials that sustain city and community life. It is surprising that the media has left what is happening in Joliet largely untouched. Most cities across the nation are on the verge of bankruptcy because of this ruthless policy; extracting tax concessions from city officials and treating employees like dogs, only worse than. Meanwhile if there is no tax base left in Joliet, despite whatever concessions have already been wrung Caterpillar will leave. Ever profitable Wal-Mart is a prime example where vital places have been left as ghost towns.

Yet there is always money for defense. When comparing the ratio of those young people in the armed forces who serve and protect this nation, which do you think would have the higher ratio: children of Caterpillar’s executives or those of the striking union workers?

But to define government service of any kind as job creation... goes against regulations.



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Garry Kanter July 27, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The day will come when the behaviors you describe - including closing profitable plants or offices just to send the work overseas, will be recognized as the treasonous and dehumanizing acts that they are. That day can't come soon enough for me.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! July 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Nice post. Thank you.
Lisa Regula Meyer July 27, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Well said.
David Reith July 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM
A very minor correction to a nice article: Caterpillar is based in Peoria, Illinois, though they may well have operations in Joliet as well. The professional baseball team in Joliet is the Joliet Slammers and their mascot is J.L. Bird
David Reith July 28, 2012 at 03:46 PM
The strike is in Joliet: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/26/157400864/caterpillar-inc-strike-continues-amid-record-profits


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