National Public Radio featured an interview this morning that was truly remarkable. I have never heard such an explicit threat against America’s economy by a Wall Street: To crash America’s economy if taxes the ultra-wealthy are asked to pay even one extra cent to balance the nation’s budget.
The guest was Bill Frezza, a venture capitalist with Adams Capital Management, Inc., which “currently manages $815 million.” Frezza fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, whose biggest funder is Exxon Mobil.
Frezza begins by saying raising taxes very slightly on the very wealthy to hire lots of unemployed people to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure is no way to get the economy going:
Well, it puts the cart before the horse. It’s actually the other way around. Growth causes employment. Employment doesn’t cause growth.
So far, it’s the standard defense of trickle-down economics – both right-wing & top-down.
But host Lynn Neary nudges Frezza to go deeper, and that’s when Frezza begins to reveal Wall Street’s destructive fury:
Let’s think about job creators. What are those people’s lives like right now? Well, they’re all making more than $250,000 a year, whether they’re running a small business or they’re an executive in the company, and they’ve been declared public enemy number one.
They’ve been told their taxes have to go up. They’re the ones that bear the brunt of the regulatory compliance costs. So they’ve been whipping boy, now, for a couple years, lumped in, by the way, with the hedge fund moguls and the criminals on Wall Street. All have been put in one big pie and told that they’re the problem. Why would those people run out and try to risk their businesses by hiring more?
Note that Frezza is conflating actual things that might affect hiring (cost) with personal feelings (perceived persecution). To Wall Street,
Frezza’s line implying small business job creators all make more than $250,000 is an outright lie – even salaries for people who’ve been running a small business for more than 10 years typically start around $105,757.
NEARY: You really think of business owners as whipping boys, and even those who are making big profits, as whipping boys?
FREZZA: Yeah, I would absolutely say that businessmen in the culture today have become whipping boys. We’ve seen this before. It happened during the Great Depression, and we had the same result last time.
NEARY: Well, let me ask you this, because in his speech promoting his job plan, President Obama said 14 months is too long to wait to help people get off of unemployment, to create more jobs. But in your piece you say it’s not too long for businesses to hunker down and hope for change. I mean, is that really what business should be doing right now, just waiting?
FREZZA: That’s exactly what they’re doing, and that’s what they’re going to continue to do, until they see what happens in the next election.
NEARY: But is that good for the country? Is that good for business even?
FREZZA: You know, each business is run for the benefit of its owners, its shareholders, its customers, and its employees. It’s not run for the benefit of the country. That’s not why people run businesses.