Mitt Romney just claimed that businesses are not creating jobs because they “feel like they’re under attack” since, among other things, President Obama has stacked the National Labor Relations Board with “labor stooges.” It’s a variation on a very common GOP talking point on uncertainty — that businesses don’t hire because they are worried the Obama administration is going to tax or regulate them.
“They look at the policies of this administration and they feel they’re under attack,” Romney said. “When you have an administration who tries to raise taxes, and has on businesses, when it puts in place Obamacare that’ll raise the cost of health care for businesses, when they staff the national labor relations board with labor stooges” [Obama is] anti-investment, anti-jobs, anti-business.”
The U.S. economy is, in fact, plagued by uncertainty — but not the variety Romney is pontificating about. It’s consumer uncertainty about the stability of the economy, not business uncertainty about how much of their profit will be taxed or how they’ll be regulated.
According to banking data from Moebs Services, consumers have withdrawn trillions of dollars from longer-term, higher-yielding investments since 2007, dumping the money into short-term checking accounts that pay next to nothing. That shift underscores short-term pressures on families who need to access money now, and are willing to give up longer-term profits for quick, easy access to cash. Families really are uncertain about their future, and that uncertainty deters them from spending money at businesses, who can use that cash to pay workers.
But that isn’t the same uncertainty Romney is talking about — an unwillingness from businesses to seek profits because they’re afraid of regulatory or tax costs. Hordes of small business owners have repeatedly emphasized that tax policy does not play a significant role in their hiring decisions — when they see an opportunity to make a profit, they take it. How much of that total profit ends up going to the government isn’t particularly important to the business decision.
— Zach Carter