President Obama’s stimulus bill – the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – has created or saved 2 million jobs since it was enacted in February 2009. This includes a lot of highway construction and maintenance visible across the country, and tens of thousands of state workers in states crushed by the Great Recession. Republicans, who just got swept back into control of the House of Representatives, and numerous governorships, propose to cancel the remaining stimulus funds, stop any future stimulus, and replace it with extending Bush tax cuts for the rich.
That’s their ONLY idea, so far, for “creating jobs.”
Oh – but they have a great plan for shedding alleged “job killers” in the administration’s agenda. Forget about climate change (it’s a liberal academic conspiracy). And education funding (send them all – except children of the rich, of course – to Sunday School seven days a week, a bit like Pakistan). Energy independence or efficiency (who cares about the Gulf, or reliance on Mideast oil?). Environmental regulation (only fear-mongers worry about cancer or poison or mine disasters). That’s the corporate message, repackaged as “fighting job killers.”
And, of course, repeal health care reform and return to 50 million uninsured, and another 50 million under-insured, with sky-high deductibles and co-pays. The bottom line is: the insurance companies must be paid before you get care. Who needs a death panel when who gets care and who does not will be determined by wealth? Simple. Just remember – any national care solution is “a job killer.” So strange, then, that Japanese, German and Korean car makers put U.S. auto companies nearly out of business while carrying the burden of such a “job killer.”
But let the rich keep their tax cut, and we are told by Boehner and McConnell that a gazillion jobs will magically “trickle down from Jackson Hole,” as New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote sarcastically this week. Never mind that this will carve a $700 million dollar deficit hole. It’s hard not to wander into profane vocabularies when considering the monstrous scale of fraud Republicans, with the help of some “blue dogs,” have perpetrated on the public. They spent $100-plus million gilding this fraud with golden lies, coarse racism, and platinum bull-water (comes out of a bull).
Former President George W. Bush had the most cynical quip of all: “Why work so hard to keep the tax on the rich – they will find a way not to pay it anyway!”
The truth is the tax cut will provide no jobs until consumers’ – that’s workers! – ability to buy returns. Give a business owner a million dollars a day in “incentives” – if no one is coming into the store, the owner will not create a single new job.
The truth is that 14.8 million Americans were officially unemployed in September 2010. Subtract the 2 million stimulus-created jobs, and you get 16.8 million “officially” unemployed. Pass the tax giveaway, and there will still be 16.8 million unemployed. President Obama has offered compromise after compromise seeking to cut the taxes for incomes under $250,000, while ending the cuts for the rich. But the Republicans will have none of it. Their concern about budgets is a complete con job. They want the same situation as exists now, or worse, when 2012 comes around, and they will flirt with fascism to take back the White House.
The truth is that for youth, frankly there is no future at the current time. If the 1960s student movement could be reborn and shut down every campus and high school in the country in protest, tomorrow would not be too soon.
The truth is that older workers who lost billions in private pensions and 401k plans will be desperate to hold on to their jobs against the hordes of new unemployed lining up to take their jobs at minimum wage and lower, if these foolish Republican servants of finance, insurance, energy, defense and agribusiness corporations get their way. Retired workers will be fighting with the young for the crumbs unless solidarity becomes the watchword. Next will be slashing Social Security too.
The truth is that an all out attack on the remaining rights of workers to organize into unions and to defend themselves in politics is coming.
The truth is that these corporations have chosen the path to hell over a more civil, balanced and sustainable future. But though the corporate elite ride in a golden coach, the people CAN rise up and block them. And turn it around. There is not a single democratic institution of our land that is not in jeopardy if we do not ALL get off our butt, organize and prepare to defend ourselves. But, as a wonderful old Bolshevik named Joe Figueiredo, a West Coast longshore worker, once proclaimed: “If the working people even sneeze in unison – the temples of Wall Street will tumble!”
Photo: New Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner has less to offer Americans than that old TV puppet Howdy Doody. (uvw916a CC 2.0)