Get used to hearing the phrase “job creation” over the next 14 months. It’s something Republicans want you to believe they are better at than Democrats. And they are—in the short run. They also want you to believe that any type of job is good for the economy. And that’s far from the truth.

As numerous 2nd and 3rd world countries have demonstrated, corporations are willing to hire many more low -wage, non-union workers than unionized workers. While a factory in the U.S. may only be able to afford one skilled worker plus benefits, a similar factory in China could hire that same worker, his spouse and his child for half the price.

I’m not saying that the differences between the U.S. and China are nearly as stark as those between Republicans and Democrats or that Republicans support child labor, (though Bachmann’s recent “Children need jobs” comment may suggest otherwise) but I am saying the same idea applies.

In Rick Perry’s Texas, a combination of oil and deregulation has created more jobs than any other state since the recession began. But those jobs don’t pay living wages. Many South Texan workers (as in people with jobs) depend on food stamps.

Perry’s entry into the 2012 primaries seemed inevitable. He’s the very embodiment of America’s role in the worldwide race to the bottom. Not only is he winning it, but he’s being patted on the back for it.

Meanwhile, America is losing good jobs as Republicans and Democrats alike have turned their attention to deficit reduction without allowing any tax increases. Stable, well-paying government jobs encourage spending. Minimum wage jobs encourage paying down debt. And the CEOs of Visa and MasterCard can’t spend enough money to get the economy back on its feet.

But, if this election continues to be about which party can produce the most private sector jobs, CEOs will have to do all the spending. Well, them and the people who print food stamps.

President Obama and the Democrats need to change the tone of the debate. They need to make it clear that the government should promote the creation of, or create, middle-class jobs and nothing else. Having Americans with spare income will in turn create minimum wage jobs.