Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
We are just two months away from the anniversary of the mid-term election of 2010, the oft-celebrated “Tea Party Revolt” by the Right. Tea Party Republicans swept into the 2010 mid-terms, riding mountains of cash from a select few special interests, funding a few dozen astroturf citizen movements like the Club for Growth and a few dozen more foundations and other political money laundering schemes. 
Corporations kept their tax loopholes. The uber-rich continue to siphon the Treasury with their 3% tax break. After trillions in proposed cuts in government spending, the slashing of civil rights, the destruction of the right of labor to organize and the slashing of the social safety net, we all have a question for representatives Boehner and Cantor:
Where, in all of this, are the “jobs, jobs, jobs?
A Republican talking point, ” It’s jobs, jobs, jobs, they’re concerned about their jobs…” has been a mantra of the GOP. Their promised change was to get our fiscal house in order. Balance our checkbook. Just like you would do at home.
Except, as I pointed out to you in U.S. Economy 101 (in Plain English, with Humor!): How the GOP and the Media Are Shucking You, the government is not you or me. Our $14.6T economy provides us with the time and the resources to think our way reasonably out of even the most disastrous leadership, which George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have both resurfaced to remind us about just before our next election cycle. Thanks, guys. That may be your first and only real service to America.
We were not downgraded by S&P for our lack of resources. We were downgraded for our lack of political will to do what is necessary to move the country forward.
America does not need Dr. Paul. Mr. Cantor, or the other Teahadis to sit there scolding us for our profligate spending ways. It requires reasonable people to find enough ways to grow the economy, keep good jobs here, and retain our college-educated workforce creating the intellectual capital that makes America the powerhouse that it is today.
Lectures on fiscal discipline by the Republicans are a bit like lectures on sobriety from raging unrepentent alcoholics. Republicans spent us into the massive deficits, both under Ronald Wilson Reagan and George “The Decider” Bush. They offer nothing new or different. They just hope that their continuing appeal to the fearful, the long-term memory-challenged, and scared white America will form enough mass to push their political toxic sludge through the ballot boxes one more time in 2012.
The public is tired of the empty rhetoric. Rick Perry launched his campaign boasting of job creation that was more a factor of jobs sucked out of other regions to a cheaper non-union labor pool adjacent to even more jobs being off-shored to Mexico. Management at any level doesn’t apparently like living near their plants overseas. That being said, Texas was the number two state in the nation as Perry made the comment in rising unemployment:
“The largest over-the-month increase in unemployment occurred in New York (+29,400), followed by Texas (+29,300)” 
Last August, in Washington state, where the unemployment rate is a soaring 9.3%, one of the highest in the nation, the Huffington Post reports that “more than 200 protesters impeded traffic in Washington state as they gathered near the offices of GOP Rep. Dave Reichert, chanting, “We need jobs. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” The Mercer Island Patch reports:
“I think we’re all tired of the distractions,” Working Washington spokesperson Anne Martens said. “People have been talking about the debt ceiling and the deficit. The truth is there’s a jobs deficit.”
The HuffPo article goes on to cite numerous other incidents of Republican congressmen getting an earful from their constituents on their debt ceiling blackmail and the lack of any meaningful jobs legislation since being ushered into the Congress last year.
Trying to find that center is what Mr. Obama has been doing since he took office. He has a part of the blame for this mess, but it is not what most Americans spouting off about him after absorbing hundreds of hours of propaganda from the Right, will tell you.
Mr. Obama creates many of the problems simply by his lack of polarity in a polarized system. In reaching across the aisle, as he promised to do, and bring some civility back to politics, he is forcing the Republican Party, which already has Bushel loads of problems from their last eight-year reign over our economy, to find even more extreme political ground to call their own.
The Obama Administration does not have anything meaty for the GOP to chew on. Their ship doesn’t leak like those of every president since Nixon. His cabinet members are not all household names because there is, for the most part, little scandal, and little incompetence of the level of a President and a FEMA director failing a city after a hurricane.
The way that the game was played, and make no mistake about it, it is a game, was that the Democrats came up with their wildly optimistic world-saving liberal agenda, and the Republicans came up with their pessimistic draconian, miserly moralizing mandates bought by billionaires.
They clashed, met somewhere in the middle, getting and giving a bit, and we moved forward.
When President Obama adopts a position that the more moderate Republicans would have no problem accepting, their wholesale repudiation of him, both on race and their rabid need to destroy all things liberal, forces the party further rightward.
So here is the problem for Mr. Boehner, who, after the debt ceiling debacle, is clearly not in control of his party.
He and the Teahadis came into office last year promising jobs, jobs, jobs. They have maintained the tax loopholes that allow corporations to offshore billions of dollars that are not subject to U.S. taxes. They have dug in trenches worthy of a battle on the Marne and are laying barbed wire around the 3% tax cuts for the rich.
Over the last twelve months, then, we have had:
What we have not seen are the jobs, jobs, jobs.
Republican presidential candidates on the stump and Mr. Boehner, when pressed on this obvious fly in the GOP electoral soup, tell us that it is because we lack “certainty.”
How much more “certainty” does corporate America need? We know that they would like to shut down federal regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and any other arm of the government that keeps the public interest balanced with unfettered capitalism.
Trickle-down has been an abject failure. Ask multi-billionaire Warrant Buffett. Talking Points Memo showcases an exclusive ABC interview with This Week’s Christine Amanpour where the Oracle of Omaha agrees that a tax increase on the richest Americans is necessary and right.
“The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on,” Buffett said in the clip.
The only time in the last forty years where we had prosperity without the excess of Wall Street was during the Clinton years, where the stock market soared, millions of individuals began saving by investing in our country’s corporations large and small, and, by the way, millionaires and billionaires paid the 3% tax and made more than enough to take care of it.
The truth about why the private sector has not lead the charge into job creation is something that Republicans don’t want to talk about: No one private company wants to make the first move.
No company wants to be the one with the excess inventory because they geared up too early. No one wants to hire the consultants and the sub-contractors. This is the ugly secret Republican talking heads don’t like to admit. Historically, hiring numbers after a major financial correction really only right themselves when the government starts stimulating the economy.
The New Deal put people to work doing all kinds of public projects. Reagan’s version of the new deal was to put billions into defense spending that kick started the economy. Our last stimulus under Mr. Obama worked.
Even though the Republicans have mined the media road with IPDs (Improvised Propaganda Devices), we need another round of stimulus. Mr. Obama’s targets, American infrastructure, were right on.
The last round stabilized the economy. The next round will kick start it.
We have earthquake damage. Hurricane damage. Get Americans back to work fixing America. Start that process off and the housing supply manufacturers, and the concrete suppliers, and the steel companies have a reason to gear up. In turn, all of the consumer companies that service those workers benefit.
There is a road block though. Mr. Boehner and the Teahadis will put their feet down about stimulus. No more of it, they say. Balance our checkbook! Eric Cantor had the gaul to tell his own constituents that earthquake aid and storm aid would only come on the back of tax cuts that balanced it all out. As if we have to pinch every last penny.
This is the greatest, most financially powerful country on Earth. It may not be, one day, but that day has not arrived, even if the Republicans like to go around telling you that it has. They will get us there faster if we continue to listen to them. Look at the damage to our economy that they have already done. We will pay millions more in interest on our debt which will wipe out any ‘gains’ they make from slashing spending because of their intransigence.
In the long run, if you look at the history of our country, we can make meaningful strides towards paying down debt over time as we did after WWII and the New Deal. As we did when under Bill Clinton. As we will do again under Barack Obama.
The only change that we can all believe in is running the Tea Party and their rear-view-mirror-looking safety-net slashing snake oil salesmen out on a rail.
The President is about to call out the children of the Congress on September 8th. He will push for the jobs that have been mired in Republican stonewalling.
Support Obama. Support anyone who opposes the Tea Party and their Teahadis. Time to get adults, even conservative adults with a bit more common sense, back in the Congress.
My shiny two.