Conservatives and the “Job Creator” Mythology

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Mike Konczal has an amazing post on what the conservative freakout over Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment is really about:

Some political commentators have treated this comment and its reaction either as part of the presidential noise machine or as the dreamscape projections of the conservative id. Will Wilkinson at Democracy in America has written a post, “Taxes and the rich,” addressing this. There are some problematic issues with the post [1] [2], but he describes Rush Limbaugh’s reaction as being bound up in an absurd myth. He says, “Mr Obama’s in-it-together point is mildly offensive in context because it is used to imply that top-earners who resist paying an even larger portion of America’s tab do so only because they are in the grip of an absurd myth of self-reliance.”

I’d argue that instead of self-reliance, the real idea the right is appealing to here is the idea of the “job creator.” It goes beyond the person who gets by on his own without any help from the government or the public at large. It’s the idea that the rich create all the value of the economy. They are, as John Paul Rollert put it in a great post wondering what Adam Smith would think of “job creators,” the visible hand of the economy. The rich are, as people at the Mitt Romney fundraiser put it, “the engine of the economy” who all the other people “rely” on for their survival. (I’m assuming. I would have meant it the other way around, but I wasn’t at that fundraiser.) The economy isn’t something we create together. It is something the rich create for everyone else.

Read the whole thing.

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