Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be

In the Shadow of the Tea Party Revolt: Where are the Jobs, Jobs Jobs?

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. [1]

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)” [2]

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:

  • All of the corporate  tax breaks
  • The personal breaks for the uber-wealthy.
  • The economy has had a mini-boom with the Dow Jones average soaring over 12,000 again.
  • Trillions of dollars fill up the coffers of banks and major corporations.
  • The Republicans have attacked the only financially well organized part of the left’s political system, unions.
  • GOP measures have been enacted to make it harder for minorities, the elderly and new voters, all which heavily favor Democrats, to vote
  • They have gone into the regulatory stripping business to set back as many public checks of private enterprise as possible
  • The “get the government off of your backs” guys obviously don’t feel that way about issues that their self-righteous moral base cares about, pulling all kinds of legal maneuvers to limit a woman’s right to choose.
  • Brinksmanship with the world economy that lead to the first downgrade of our nation’s credit in its history

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.[3]

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.

About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian and short filmmaker who blogs for Truth2Power, the Huffington Post, and the Daily KOS, among others.

7 comments on “In the Shadow of the Tea Party Revolt: Where are the Jobs, Jobs Jobs?

  1. thedrpete
    September 10, 2011

    Obviously, Mr. Ross has never started a business, never understood human nature, and never had a nanowit of a clue vis-a-vis either micro- or macroeconomics. Obviously, Mr. Ross has no appreciation or respect for either the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution.

    Clearly Mr. Ross hasn’t a clue as to how, if you could control the federal government, you’d either kill jobs or cause them to be created. If he did, he’d know that everything — and I mean everything — that President Obama has done domestically is perfect formula for the former. It was his intention, and it has been his success.

  2. Calvin B Grub
    January 8, 2012

    This is so scary wrong that it’s dangerous. History is important; and history shows that Democratic “ideas” don’t work in practice. Nor does it show that Democratic ideas are intended to be productive.

    Is Mr Ross completely oblivious to the fact that the Obama Administration is crushing the economy in the “background”; crushing the real energy economy with regulation, suppressing the banking industry with regulation; those who demonize the engines of wealth creation are not for helping the poor; they’re helping them to remain poor forever. Because only in a strong economy do people with no skills have full employment. And we can’t have a strong economy with banking and energy.

    The Canadians can afford their socialist society because they’re diligently developing their energy resources; oil and gas are wealth that belong to the people, and that wealth can be translated into greater societal advantages. The American “left” is backwards; they fight the development of wealth creating industries in favor of things that damage the growth potential of our nation: unions, environmentalism, “green” energy. The entire agenda makes the nation weaker and poorer; and then they claim to support “the poor”. The truth is, if you really want the truth, that the poor are poor because of the left wing agenda which is to make them so poor that they ultimately revolt. The welfare state was defeated, so now Obama is systematically dismantling the wealth generation engine of the country through Banking regulations and anti energy regulations.

    Clinton was successful because he was able to triangulate his move to the center as his idea; where it was really Newt’s republicans that forced him into making the moves that ultimately resulted in balanced budgets. The truth is that his agenda was a disaster until republican ideas of cutting spending and capital gains and welfare reform were implemented; welfare reform had to be sent to Clinton’s desk 3 times before he caved in. Clinton ultimately understood that it was in the country’s best interest; Obama will never come to that conclusion because unlike Clinton, he truly believes the kind of nonsense that fueled this article.

    People need to smarten up: the only reason that there is freedom in the world is because of America. Without America the entire world would be enslaved; the way it was before there was an America. A weaker America is in nobody’s best interests. Without America Europe would not be free; South Korea would not be free. Nobody would be free.

    Corporations are owned by people; people like you and me. Instead of whining about America, why not buy some stock and participate in America.

    There’s one thing for certain; if Obama wins again the poor will continue to be poor and the rich will continue to be rich. The separation in society is not because of ideology; it’s because 30% of people have no skills. If you’re 40 years old and you have no skills; it’s not the Republican’s fault. It’s yours.

    • Calvin B Grub
      January 8, 2012

      That would be “without Banking and Energy” ?)

    • Brian Ross
      January 8, 2012


      I source my op-eds. Let’s see how you can do with some of this specious stuff:

      “crushing the real energy economy with regulation” – What regulation would that be?

      Waiting to see if there is a better route for Keystone to avoid contaminating the drinking water of millions of Americans?

      Oh! I know. Let’s make sure that they can deep water drill with fewer government impediments. That worked out SO well for the few million folks who live on the Gulf Coast and rely on the ocean that the BP folks devastated. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush (Sr.) put the regulations in place, not Obama. “Offshore drilling for oil and natural gas near the coasts of the United States was banned by Congress in 1981 after outcries caused by pollution from accidents and spills. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush issued executive orders supporting the ban.

      “On March 31, 2010, President Obama proposed to open vast expanses of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, in an apparent bid to win political support for energy and climate legislation. But that idea — which prompted distress among environmentalists and tepid support from Republicans — was sharply set back by the massive oil slick created in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 after a drilling rig exploded and sank off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and leaving four others critically injured.” New York Times, Nov. 9, 2011

      Obama hasn’t added regulation. He restored the Reagan/Bush levels of regulation before W.’s wholesale breakdown of the regulatory process.

      Ooops. GOP dogma wrong again. Go figure.

    • Brian Ross
      January 8, 2012

      Nobody, liberal or conservative, opposes American “freedom.” That’s another shopworn phrase that the Radical Right has tried to brand as their own for too long. Whose freedom, it seems, is at issue.

      Should billionaires be free to do as they will, with minimal taxes and no government? The roads, schools, etc. privatized so citizens have to pay for every service to private for-profit enterprises that have proven incredibly inept at things like tollways and charter schools? No intrusion into exploitation of resources without consequence to the welfare of the people around the area’s drinking water or air quality? Rivers like the Cuyahoga catching on fire for months at a time?

      You’ve tried for years to make everyone believe in demon government. That somehow, government is an agent of evil forced upon the people. Government IS THE PEOPLE. We pay for the roads, the schools, the bridges, the dams to better the common good, and to facilitate commerce and provide more jobs and better, faster means of communicating. Government is not inherently evil.

      It should be efficient. Like every organization, corporations included, no system is perfect, and every effort should be made to wring out the waste. Just as corporations do stupid and duplicative things, government agencies run by similar bureaucrats do the same thing. To say that somehow having agencies that look out for the greater public interest are worthless, though, is purely to play into the hands of those whose opposition to clean air, good public education for minorities and the poor, and curbing their wanton exploitation of the land, sea and air to keep the rest of us on the planet alive and healthy is based on nothing more than short-term greed and short-sightedness.

      Having money is a great thing. Do well for yourself. Never forget, though, that you are your brother’s keeper as much as they are yours, you put your pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, and no matter how wealthy you are, your shit still stinks.

  3. Pingback: An Elephant May Never Forget, but the GOP and a Greedy Media Sure Hope Like Hell That You Will « truth-2-Power

  4. Pingback: MISSING: The Heel-Dragging Republicans of Congress – Why President Obama Won’t Take Them Down « truth-2-Power

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