It is effective in its simplicity, as good memes and talking points should be.
It takes so much for granted that it appears to be impossible to counter – it is in fact an accurate statement – so there is no equally simple one-liner that can refute it. Each and everyone of the underlying concepts that it relies on are false, and so to show the irrelevance of the statement to the issue at hand requires actually delving into and dissecting the assumptions it makes.
That is generally not practical in casual conversation, nor on a heavily time restricted televised debate.
Above them is the middle class. They include not only 9-5 workers, but most of the self-employed, and a large percentage of those who own small businesses.
Above them is the “rich” – the much talked about “1%” – who have 6-digit incomes, and a couple million in assets. Some small businesses are also owned by the rich.
Above them is the super rich. They do not belong in the same category as the merely “rich”. These are the billionaires. They have so much wealth in existing assets that they could go the rest of their lives without earning another dollar, live lavishly with limos, butlers, yachts, and private security, and still leave trust funds large enough that their children never need to work a day in their lives either. These people are not the 1%. They are the 0.01%. There are only a few hundred of them. As an interesting side-note, while a fairly large chunk of the rich actually got rich by working hard, living cheap, saving their excess income and investing it wisely, nearly half of the super rich got their money by inheriting it.
What form those jobs take can vary. A century ago the vast majority of those jobs would have been in the form of individual family businesses, mostly with just one location, which grew bigger than the family could handle, so they began hiring a workforce. Whether you have a mom & pop corner store, a family restaurant, and an independent coffee shop, or you have a WalMart, a McDonald’s, and a Starbucks, either way the exact same jobs exist. The corporations didn’t “create” any of those jobs, nor did they “give” them to their employees. They simply took over for the small businesses that existed before they arrived. As times has gone on, more and more small businesses have closed as they have been unable to compete with (or bought out by) larger companies.
In other words, not only are major corporations not creating new jobs, they aren’t even hosting ½ the jobs that do exist.
There are three main forces that cause the need for American labor to shrink - and all three have become so common that they rarely get talked about any more, even though all three were recognized as problems for the American worker while they first began to develop. They have become so wide-spread and common that we just take them for granted now, but they are bigger problems now than they used to be, and they are the root cause of our current unemployment.
There is one more important thing they have in common – they all require significant capital to undertake. Building a brand new factory overseas is not something a one location family owned business with a handful of employees has the resources to do. Buying state-of-the-art robots to run a factory in the US requires too much spare cash for a small business to make the switch. Buying out all of ones competition, even if its at a loss, can be a very expensive undertaking. There are obviously going to be individual exceptions, but in general these are all things which large companies are likely to do, and which small business is not likely to do.
So while big business is hosting ½ the jobs purely because of their massive overwhelming size and influence, and having run most of the independents out of business, they are simultaneously responsible for eliminating all of the positions which used to exist, and would still if they weren’t around.
All to help out the very people in society who need the least help – the handful of incomprehensibly wealthy people who between them hold enough wealth to pay down the entire US debt – not just the deficit, the entire debt – while still leaving all of them millionaires.
Hopefully as our economy collapses around us it will shake the middle class to their senses, and we can start to build a new with a focus on benefiting US citizens as a people instead of profit for profits’ sake when we finally emerge from the rubble.