Posted by: patenttranslator | January 15, 2013

The Super Rich Are Not Job Creators – But Translators Like You and Me Create a Lot of Jobs

There is an idiotic meme I often hear repeated in the cacophony of American “media channels”, and not infrequently also from the mouths of low-information viewers and listeners on call-in programs on radio and TV. Rich people are job creators, they say. We have to be careful not to tax them too much because otherwise they will stop creating jobs.

But unlike in many other countries, rich people are taxed very lightly in the United States, compared to the heavy tax burden imposed on what is left of the middle class here. How much did Mitt Romney pay in taxes? If I remember correctly, he fully disclosed only one year in which his tax rate 13.9%. He said that during that year he “did not make very, only about 19 million dollars”. Unlike every presidential candidate before him, he refused to disclose how much he paid in taxes in other years. And then he lost the election.

Self-employed translators like myself pay at least twice to three times what the idle super rich pay in taxes because, at least here in the United States, if you are self-employed, your Social Security (or self-employment) tax is often higher than what is called “income tax” in the “tax speak”. The super rich pay virtually nothing in Social Security taxes because this tax is capped for them at about the first 100 thousand dollars.

If it were true that light taxation of the super rich results in an abundance of jobs, the United States would be a paradise for people who are looking for work. Except that the official unemployment rate here (which has been manipulated downward to hide the fact that the realy unemployment is about twice as high) has been close to 10 percent since about 2008, unlike in countries with much higher taxation of the rich such as Germany or Austria where the unemployment rate is around 5 percent. The unemployment is still much better here than in countries like Greece or Spain, but much worse than in countries that some pundits here like to call “socialist Europe” where wealthy people pay much higher taxes than rich Americans, countries such as Austria, Germany, or the Scandinavian counters.

The way I see it, the super rich don’t really create a whole lot of jobs. On the contrary, they have been busy the last three decades destroying millions of jobs here by moving them to countries with cheaper and cheaper labor force, first to Mexico, and later to China. As there are expectations that the labor costs in China will continue to keep growing, they are now looking with interest at other countries where labor is likely to remain dirt cheap, countries like Vietnam and North Korea.

Considering how little money I make, at least compared to people whose effective tax rate is a fraction of what people like me have to pay, I do create jobs in the same country where I am actually living, namely in the United States of America.

Every year come January, I have to start calculating how much I paid to other freelance translators as I have to send the required tax forms first to these translators, and then to the Internal Revenue Service. And then throughout January, February and March I keep receiving the same tax forms from patent law firms, translation agencies and other freelance translators who were employing me just like I employ other translators.

Thousands of tiny but important freelance jobs are thus created by freelance translators and small translation agencies year after year, with taxes that are paid on both ends of the work chain, and I am quite confident that just about every recipient of the tax forms that are mailed in this manner pays a tax rate that is at least three times as high as what the super rich pay here when the term “income tax” is used according to its true meaning – all taxes paid on all income.

The super rich who pay a small fraction of taxes compared to the rest of us have so much money left over that they really have no choice but to sit on it (after they have given some of it to our politicians in return for more tax breaks). You almost have to feel sorry for them.

After all, there are only so many cars, houses, yachts, private jets, and private islands that they can buy – just yesterday I saw on French TV a reportage about how desperate Greece is selling off islands to foreign investors at prices starting as low as two million Euros. And how many people do they need to employ to take care of their many treasured possessions? Well, quite a few, but since there are about 10,000 translators who just like me employ other freelancers year by year per one extremely rich person, the number of jobs created by them must be miniscule compared to the number of jobs created by the remaining 99.9 percent.

And of course all of us employ not only other translators, but also the mechanics who fix our car, the teachers who (hopefully) educate our children, the plumbers who fix our kitchen sink, the hairdressers who cut our hair, the mail and newspaper carriers and dozens of other people who depend on the money that is left in our pocket after we have paid our taxes at a much higher rate than the people who makes hundreds of times more than we do.

And then I turn on the radio and hear another Joe Sixpack state with a Southern drawl and a steely conviction in his voice that we must not tax the rich any more because they are the job creators.

It is amazing to me how well the propaganda works here. At least in communist countries, nobody really believed what the official propaganda was saying.

(If like me you have always wanted to see Pink swinging from a chandelier, don’t forget to click on the Youtube video below).


  1. […] There is an idiotic meme often heard in the cacophony of American “media channels”, and not infrequently also from the mouths of low-information viewers and listeners often heard on cal…  […]


  2. Romney wanted to “lead” this country but couldn’t recall precise details about his taxes. He wanted to right the economy but didn’t suggest idea 1 about how jobs would be created. As for social security, how about the rich collecting none? That wasn’t the purpose.

    Whatever the case, let’s not make fun of people with Southern accents, unless “they” are Lindsay Graham.


  3. Steve – you are so right. Well said. If these job creators create jobs, they are mostly overseas, and not going to American citizens. They created Faux News and AM hate radio to fool the masses and redirect their anger (at their falling living standards, which they cannot understand) away from the super-rich and re-direct it at poor minorities and illegal aliens (“lazy, welfare scammers, etc.”).

    And it’s working! It’s just amazing how well they’ve divided us and dumbed us down. 100 years ago, people rioted, demanding better pay and working conditions. Today, people are clueless, burdened with health issues (overweight, depression and brain fog caused by a poisoned food supply), distracted (entertainment, video games, internet), and badly misinformed (thanks to our corporate media). Even the so-called “leftist” news media like the New York Times (constantly vilified on Faux News) are really only centrist at best. They do cover this information, but they don’t connect the dots for you – you have to do that yourself.

    The enormity of the scandal is really hard to comprehend – you feel like you must be crazy to imagine such conspiracies, but it’s actually true. If you want to know what really caused the housing bubble and financial crisis, I can recommend “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis – very entertaining as well as informative (and shocking). I highly suspect also that these same people deliberately caused the euro sovereign debt crisis… what ties these two things together is the time bomb derivatives based on predatory subprime mortgages that were sold to many European banks, pension funds, governments, etc.

    But back to the tax topic – few Americans realize today that top marginal tax rates on the super-rich used to be 70% or even 91%. This was during the 1940s through 1970s, America’s golden age, when our industry was top of the world, American products were best in the world, and we had a healthy, prosperous middle class society that was the envy of the world. Also, our national debt, which was at its peak just after WW II, was falling sharply during those decades. Then we started slashing taxes on the super-rich and their big corporations, and everything has been downhill since. Inequality has gone through the roof, unemployment is up (especially long-term unemployment, which isn’t even included in the unemployment statistics). Our national debt has exploded, because they replaced tax & spend with borrow & spend. Now, instead of reversing the massive tax cuts, they want to slash spending on health care and pensions for people who worked and paid into the system all their lives. There is no “trickle-down” – that was a lie from the start. Instead there has been a vacuuming-up of wealth out of the middle class into the hands of the already super-rich.


  4. Hi Alex:

    Thanks for commenting,

    I wish somebody would offer a cogent counter-argument to what your are saying in your comment, but I don’t see it happening.

    It would take a highly paid propagandist from the American Enterprise Institute skilled in pulling the wool over our eyes.

    And people like that don’t read my blog.


  5. […] The Super Rich Are Not Job Creators – But Translators Like You and Me Create a Lot of Jobs Reducing Disruptive Behaviors: The Furniture Polish Solution for Trial Interpreting ETAOIN SRHLDCU, or: What are the most common words and letters in English? This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: Passings, words of the year, foreign words Crowdsourcing, outsourcing, community outsourcing…finally explained Plagiarism in the freelance translation business – What to do? Open Document vs. New Project in SDL Trados Studio 2011 Reports of Translation’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated The stigma of “signer” upon ASL-English interpreters The Medical Translator’s Dilemma: Shall I, Shan’t I? Qualified or not? What makes a translator qualified? Have Your Ever Dreamed in a Different Language? Think out of the box (or the CAT?) -PART ONE- When Your Certified Colleague is Unprofessional The “ProZ” and cons of the translation workplace The Body and Soul of Your Translation Business Interview with a Dutch Translator: Dennis Seine Open Standards Can Improve Your Translations If I had a dollar for every translator… oh wait My favourite OpenExchange apps in 2012… Xbench 3.0 – Making good on my promise Devious Uses of Foreign Language Skills Best of Word Soup 2012: TV Word Love Scams Aimed at Portuguese Translators Use of apostrophes in scientific writing Thoughts about working on weekends Our favorite tweets of the year (2012) The importance of being accurate Great Places to Learn Languages Interview with Kostas Valeontis Don’t just practice–engage! The Origin of Language Grown-up color names Working in pajamas… Translation Scams […]


  6. Wow – surprised and disappointed that this topic didn’t get more comments. I guess most of your readers are not American, but even so, this trend is occurring in all countries, it is only being led by the Anglo countries.


  7. Hi Alex:

    I too am a little disappointed but not surprised.

    And yes, most of my readers are abroad, although the one country where I have the most readers is the United States.

    One reason for that is that China blocks access to blogs like mine.

    But I think that the main reason why there were so few comments so far is that people are afraid.

    Translators in particular get scared easily, and for good reason.


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