Kenneth Fisher, chief executive officer of Fisher Investments, has a uniquely CEO view of jobs: “Believe it or not, I’m for fewer jobs, not more.”
Yes, that’s CEO as in Corrupt Egotistical Olilgarch.
In the Christmas Eve, 2012 issue of Forbes, he asserted: “Job Growth is Overrated.”
“Believe it or not, I’m for fewer jobs, not more.
“Throughout 2012 we heard politicians and pundits of all stripes yammering endlessly on the need for job growth—that we don’t have enough jobs. It’s pure rubbish.”
According to Fisher, jobs are actually signs of weakness in the economy. Fewer employees can produce more products–and that’s good for us all.
For Fisher, the template for future economic success is Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer: “With Walmart you get an awe-inspiring company at 13 times my January 2014 earnings estimate, with a 2. 2 % dividend yield.”
Of course, it’s easy for Fisher–a billionaire–to take a “What? Me Worry?” attitude about the unemployment problems facing millions of willing-to-work Americans.
And it’s certainly easier for him to identify with his fellow billionaire boys club members, the Waltons, than with the low-paid employees of Walmart.
In December, 2013, Walmart announced that it would deny health insurance to newly-hired employees who work less than 30 hours a week.
Walmart eliminates healthcare coverage for certain workers if their average work-week falls below 30 hours–which regularly happens at the direction of company managers.
You can be certain that Fisher doesn’t have to worry about getting top-notch nedical care anytime he thinks he needs it.
Another thing that Fisher clearly admires about Walmart: Its gross profit in July, 2014, stood at $128.08 billion.
C. Douglas McMillon, who became the president and CEO of Walmart Stores on Feb. 1 2014, saw his total compensation skyrocket 168% to $25.6 million
On the other hand: Most Walmart workers earn less than $20,000 a year. According to Bloomberg News, the average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 per hour.
But there is probably one thing about Wal-Mart that Fisher doesn’t want to talk about.
Since 2008, Walmart has fired or lost 120,000 American workers, while opening more than 500 new U.S. stores. Many workers quit to find better-paying jobs.
As a result, turnover at Walmart has been correspondingly high.
Recently, Walmart has been forced to launch a massive PR campaign to counteract its notoriety for low pay, employment of illegal aliens, lack of health benefits and union-busting tactics.
In 2011-12, Walmart spent $1.89 billion on self-glorifying ads.
And Fisher conveniently ignores the huge emotional role that being employed plays in the United States.
The majority of Americans–especially men–derive their sense of identity from what they do for a living.
Ask a man, “What do you do?” and he’s almost certain to reply: “I’m a fireman.” Or “I’m a salesman.”
To be unemployed in America is considered by most Americans–including the unemployed–the same as being a bum.
And Republicans are quick to point accusing fingers at those willing-to-work Americans who can’t find willing-to-hire employers.
According to Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Herman Cain: If you can’t find a job, it’s entirely your fault.
And when Republicans are forced–by public pressure or Democratic majorities–to provide benefits to the unemployed, these nearly always come at a price.
Those receiving subsistence monies are, in many states, required to undergo drug-testing, even though there is no evidence of widespread drug-abuse among the unemployed.
But America can put an end to this “I’ve-got-mine-and-the-hell-with-you” job-killing arrogance of people like Kenneth Fisher.
The answer lies in three words: Employers Reponsibility Act (ERA).
If passed by Congress and vigorously enforced by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, an ERA would ensure full-time, permanent and productive employment for millions of capable, job-seeking Americans.
And it would achieve this without raising taxes or creating controversial government “make work” programs.
Such legislation would legally require employers to demonstrate as much initiative for hiring as job-seekers are now expected to show in searching for work.
An Employers Responsibility Act would simultaneously address the following evils for which employers are directly responsible:
- The loss of jobs within the United States owing to companies’ moving their operations abroad—solely to pay substandard wages to their new employees.
- The mass firings of employees which usually accompany corporate mergers or acquisitions.
- The widespread victimization of part-time employees, who are not legally protected against such threats as racial discrimination, sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.
- The refusal of many employers to create better than menial, low-wage jobs.
- The widespread employer practice of extorting “economic incentives” from cities or states in return for moving to or remaining in those areas. Such “incentives” usually absolve employers from complying with laws protecting the environment and/or workers’ rights.
- The refusal of many employers to provide medical and pension benefits—nearly always in the case of part-time employees, and, increasingly, for full-time, permanent ones as well.
- Rising crime rates, due to rising unemployment.