A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 21, 2010
“I never got a job from a poor person”

"I never got a job from a poor man/person” has been a popular conservative saying. The saying means that people who have money are job creators, and that overtaxing them and sharing/spreading their wealth will ultimately hurt job creation.

Speechwriter and comedy writer Robert Orben said in 1977, “When was the last time you were hired by somebody poor?” Texas politician Phil Gramm is often credited with the saying, but there is no documentary evidence to support a coinage claim. The saying was used in the United States Congress in 1991.

[The 1977 citation below was found by the Quote Investigator.]


Wikipedia: Robert Orben
Robert Orben (born March 4, 1927) is best known as an American professional comedy writer, though he also worked as a speechwriter for Gerald R. Ford and as a magician. He has written multiple books on comedy, mostly collections of gags and “one-liners” originally written for his newsletter, Orben’s Current Comedy, and he has also written books for magicians.

Wikipedia: Phil Gramm
William Philip “Phil” Gramm (born July 8, 1942) is a US politician, who has served as a Democratic Congressman (1978–1983), a Republican Congressman (1983–1985) and a Republican Senator from Texas (1985–2002). He was a senior economic adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign from the summer of 2007 until July 18, 2008.

5 June 1977, New York (NY) Times, “Did You Hear the One About the Humor Consultant?” by Lawrence Stessin, pg. F3:
“When was the last time you were hired by somebody poor?”

Google News Archive
23 November 1981, Spartanburg (SC) Herald, ‘The Stroller” by Seymour Rosenberg, pg. 1, col. 1:
Here’s something to think about: Don’t knock the rich. When were you ever hired by a poor person?

Google News Archive
15 November 1985, Bryan (OH) Times, “Thanks a Million” by Percy Ross, pg. 5, col. 6:
I’ve been unemployed for over a year. I’m sick and tired of depending on big companies and their rich owners to get a job.—Mrs. S.R., Cocoa, Fla.
Dear Mr. R.:
Have you ever tried getting a job from a poor person?

Google Books
Rural development issues : hearing before the Subcommittee on Procurement, Tourism, and Rural Development of the Committee on Small Business, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, first session, Clinton, MO, July 15, 1991.
By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Small Business. Subcommittee on Procurement, Tourism, and Rural Development.
Washington, DC: U.S. G.P.O.: For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office
1991
Pg. 21:
I have never gotten a job from a poor person. I have always been employed by people who have some money. At the rate we are going, this idea of “tax fairness,” that is the hot button on that is going around.

15 August 1993, Washington (DC) Post, “Tax Target: Better-Off Baby Boomers” by Paul Farhi, pg. H1:
I’ve heard it said that no one ever got a job from a poor man.

27 August 1993, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), “Trickle-down gives way to sacrifice and better-off baby boomers are target” by Paul Farhi (Washington Post), pg. 13A: 
“I’ve heard it said that no one ever got a job from a poor man,” Clapp said.

14 November 1997, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), Letters:
No one ever got a job from a poor man.

Google Groups: alt.rush-limbaugh
Newsgroups: alt.rush-limbaugh
From: stuey
Date: 2000/07/22
Subject: HAS ANYONE HERE GOTTEN A JOB FROM A POOR PERSON?

If you were a cab driver, and you were hoping for a good tip, would you want to give a ride to the airport to a social worker or Bill Gates?

If you were a construction foreman, would you want to work in a town that had a per capita income of $22,000/yr. or one with a p/cap. income of 55,000/yr.?

If you were a server, would you want to wait tables in a wealthy suburb of N.Y., or a poor town where 1/3 of the pop. is on welfare?

If you were a housekeeper, would you want to clean someone’s house in a typical Russian republic or in Beverly Hills, CA?

8 March 2003, Journal Record Legislative Report (Oklahoma City, OK):
“There is an old saying that says, ‘I don’t know about you, but I have never received a job from a poor man.’”

Google Books
The Political Junkie Handbook:
The definitive reference book on politics

By Michael Crane
New York, NY: S.P.I. Books
2004
Pg. 31:
“I have never gotten a job from a poor man.” — Senator Phil Gramm

Google Books
The Big Con:
The true story of how Washington got hoodwinked and hijacked by crackpot economics

By Jonathan Chait
Boston. MA: Houghton Mifflin
2007
Pg. 126:
Phil Gramm, the conservative former senator, used to say, “No poor man ever gave me a job.” This is a very old conservative sentiment—less Adam Smith than Edmund Burke, and one often verging on outright plutocracy. It has less to do with the Laffer Curve than an almost mystical faith in the centrality and virtue of the upper class.

FOXNews.com
Mike Huckabee on McCain, Obama Trading Jabs Over the Economy
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This is a rush transcript from “Hannity & Colmes,” September 16, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(...)
HANNITY: I never got a job from a poor person. I never got — you know what, when I worked in restaurants as a waiter and a bartender and cleaning dishes when I was 12 years old, and pots and pans, I’m glad a lot of rich people bought — you know, came into the restaurant to eat.

Google Books
Why capitalism works and government doesn’t:
Or, how government is recycling the American workforce to pay its bills and how the rich profit from big government

By E. W. Dedelow
Authorhouse
2009
Pg. 74:
An unknown philosopher once said, “I’ve never been hired by a poor man.” The government’s attempt to distribute wealth actually expands the ranks of the poor and diminishes the middle class.

Freedom Works
“I’ve Never Got a Job From a Poor Man in My Life”
By Nan Swift on Jul 23, 2009
Mrs. Fisher of Vevay, Indiana tells it like it is.  The rich aren’t bottomless gold mines for government - something Marlyand, New York, and California might know a little about.  If laborers are the engine of our economy, the wealthy are surely the gasoline - taking risks, starting businesses, investing, employing.

16 April 2010, Wilmington (DE) News-Journal, “Protesters vent anger over taxes”:
“Some people in Washington think being rich is a bad thing, but I never received a job from a poor man,” Gephart said, quoting a popular conservative slogan.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, July 21, 2010 • Permalink