Mitt Romney’s massive new ad buy in Iowa begins with a biographical spot that touts his record as a “job creator.” The term “job creator” has been pressed into service by Republicans as a euphemism for verboten phrases like “the rich” and “the highest-earning one percent.” The assumption behind the phrase is that jobs are created by the ingenuity and capital of the rich, and given to everybody else.
There are numerous ways to undermine this assumption. One of them, conveniently enough, is a close examination of Romney’s business career itself.
If you read Ben Wallace-Wells’s profile of Romney’s record at Bain Capital, you can see that Romney created a great deal of wealth, but was also a job destroyer. In Romney’s defense, he demonstrated a great deal of competence and analytical intelligence. And you can persuasively argue that the revolution he helped introduce in American business will improve general living standards over the long run. But the immediate effect was clearly to destroy jobs. It’s a perfect demonstration of the difference between increasing the income of the rich and creating jobs.