The consummate candidate, Tim Pawlenty’s Twitter feed lit up during last night’s (hilarious) first Republican primary debate, with gems like this:
You can’t be pro-job and anti-business.
Ah, truisms packed with assumptions and oversimplifications: it really is campaign season again! Pawlenty’s zinger is technically true because businesses create jobs, you see. But is any mainstream political ideology actually anti-business, as in, for limiting businesses as the engines of profit generation and job creation?
Certainly not. What Democrats actually oppose, and Republicans like Pawlenty actually favor, is the notion that businesses should be entitled to even illegitimate profits that come at the expense of consumers and the larger market. Slowing Dodd-Frank, for example, isn’t about jobs. It’s about giving sophisticated players a freer hand to profit at the expense of others.
Maybe this translates into fewer jobs (presumably companies bloated by fraud have to spend the money somewhere); but it also translates into minimizing small-scale customer exploitation, and helping to avoid the kind of systemic risk that, over the past three years, simply murdered the jobs market. Antifraud regulation is something we’re generally comfortable with, as not anti-business, but pro-consumer, and pro-corporate responsibility. Maybe Tim wants to have a debate about the proper role of regulation; but don’t for a moment let him convince you it’s actually about jobs.