Faking it on jobs again

Opinion

Fake President Bush is at it again. He’s starting to seriously worry about unemployment and jobs – the destruction of jobs will likely help defeat him the same way the sagging economy helped defeat his dear old Dad. He doesn’t want to do anything real to create jobs or to stop the destruction of jobs – that would anger his big business boosters.

But he wants to look like he’s doing something, without really doing anything. Voilà: he’s creating a high-level government post in the Commerce Department – an assistant secretary who is supposed to help keep and expand jobs, or at least that’s what we’re supposed to think.

What he actually said, though, was that this assistant secretary would focus “on the needs of manufacturers.”

If anyone hasn’t noticed, Bush’s policies, while couched in language geared to make us think Bush cares about regular folks, are all geared to help big business and big business profits. The tax cuts, the rules and regulations changes, all are directed at boosting the bottom line of corporate accounting sheets and lining the pockets of the already obscenely wealthy few.

There’s absolutely no reason to think that this new position will actually do anything. Doing something about jobs would mean restricting the right of capital to flow overseas. Doing something would mean erecting obstacles to speed-up. Doing something would mean matching French workers’ 35-hour workweek with no cut in pay. Doing something would mean taxing the super-profits of the wealthy and big corporations to fund a massive public works jobs program. Doing something would mean scrapping Bush’s aggressive plans for the FTAA and other “free” trade schemes that drive wages and working conditions down to the lowest common denominator, rather than raising living standards for workers both here and abroad.

The new Bush appointee won’t do any of these things.

He or she will talk endlessly about job creation without creating even one job; talk endlessly about helping workers by helping corporations (who will lay off more workers and intensify speedup to make more money); talk endlessly about how much Bush cares about workers.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, focusing “on the needs of manufacturers” won’t necessarily help even one worker or create even one job. This is another boondoggle masquerading as “compassionate conservatism.”

Bush attributed the job loss (to the tune of three million jobs lost since he came into office) to productivity gains and to jobs flowing to cheaper labor markets overseas. But both of those are the results of Bush’s pro-business, pro-“free” trade policies. The people who are right now contributing millions of dollars to his re-election campaign are the same people exporting jobs, laying off workers, and enforcing longer work weeks and inhuman speedup.

No doubt Bush would like to see workers take wage cuts and work even harder – that would help the manufacturers, but it wouldn’t help the workers who are the victims of this speedup. Nor would it create any new jobs.

What workers need is jobs. What companies want are higher profits. Those are often two diametrically opposed interests. Guess which side Bush always ends up on?

The Bush tax cuts were supposed to create jobs – they haven’t. The trade agreements were supposed to create jobs – they haven’t. Bush’s “defense” policies were supposed to create jobs – instead they just soak up more and more tax dollars and take them away from human services programs.

Poor Bush – no matter how much of a PR shine he puts on his policies, they just don’t do what he says they will – and that means he’s in trouble in 2004. He deserves no less.



Marc Brodine is chair of the Washington State Communist Party. He can be reached at marcbrodine@comcast.net