Where are the jobs? At the bottom of the GOP priorities list

Posted on February 16, 2011

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So be it?  SO BE IT?!?!   That is Speaker of the House John Boehner’s response to the potential loss of 200,000 federal jobs for the sake of Republicans gaining another “Look what the Democrats are doing” sound bite.

Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke. It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

Of course, it doesn’t occur to Boehner that laid-off federal employees will be eligible for unemployment assistance, which will only add to the costs that Boehner so self-contradictorily eschews.

And, again, as always, the entire concept of Congress getting serious and cutting their own pie-in-the-sky perks and benefits package is “simply not worth discussing” to Boehner and the rest of the two-faced side-steppers on the Hill.

On September 15th of last year, Boehner unveiled his plan to maintain George W. Bush’s tax rates for two years and return spending to 2008 levels.  Despite his claim that Bush’s economic policies would “create jobs,” analysis by the independent the Economic Policy Institute finds that it would actually kill more than a million of them.

The adverse impact of the spending cuts would overwhelm the limited growth impact associated with the tax cuts, substantially decreasing output on net jobs,” the EPI study finds. “Using a rule of thumb for the impact of government spending on employment, we estimate that this loss of GDP will correspond to a loss of roughly 1.1 million jobs, relative to a fiscal path that maintains spending at the president’s proposed 2011 levels and a tax policy that did not extend tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers.” [Economic Policy Institute, 9/23/10]

The Congressional Budget Office says it is absolutely the worst way to grow America’s economy. The CBO produced the following graphic to show the “cumulative effects of policy options on employment in 2010 and 2011.”

Which brings us to today.

Of the 403 amendments submitted to promote a stopgap budget measure in funding the government through the rest of the current fiscal year, only *ONE* even mentions the word “unemployment.”

Legislation by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) would provide 14 additional weeks of benefits to Americans who have been unemployed for six months or longer. Obviously, since they are jobs bills, the majority of the 400 amendments will be killed before they’re even presented for discussion, but if the House Rules Committee determines that the Lee-Scott item is relevant and/or worthwhile, it will go to the floor. And is there any doubt what the fate of that bill will be once Republicans get their hands on it – especially when they see the bill’s “ludicrous” price tag of $16 Billion?

“We write to express our deep concern for the 13.9 million unemployed workers across the country, and especially the 6.2 million long-term unemployed who are in need of immediate assistance,” Lee and Scott wrote. “While we all recognize the importance of fiscal responsibility, we equally recognize the need to address this state of emergency before millions of people go into poverty.”

During the worst of the recession, while millions of Americans were scrambling to keep food on the table, what did the GOP do?

  • Republicans opposed The Recovery Act, which provided up To 3.3 million American jobs.  Republicans opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, “CBO estimates that ARRA’s policies increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.” [HR 1, Vote #46, 1/28/09; Congressional Budget Office, August 2010]
  • Republicans fought bills to increase America’s investment in clean energy technology and reduce carbon pollution, which would create up to 1.9 Million American jobs.  According to the University of California-Berkeley, “new analysis by the University of California shows conclusively that climate policy will strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs.” [HR 2454, Vote #477, 6/26/09; UC Berkeley, January 2010]
  • Republicans voted en masse against the Affordable Care Act, which projects a net gain of up to 1 to 1.6 million jobs by the end of 2014. According to the Center for American Progress, “Relative to baseline employment forecasts from the Employment Projections Program at the U.S. Department of Labor, we estimate that moderate medical savings from health care modernization as envisioned under [this] legislation now before Congress would lead to an average of 250,000 additional jobs created annually. Under the larger assumption about savings due to health care reform, 400,000 new jobs a year would be created on average.” [HR 3590, Vote #165, 3/21/10; Center for American Progress, New Jobs Through Better Health Care, January 2010]
  • Republicans repeatedly blocked the extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, supports jobs for more than 250,000 parents and youths who are otherwise unemployed.

As Republicans continue to smirk and point fingers and sing-song their familiar “where are the jobs?” refrain, they’re doing  literally everything in their power to block anything and everything that might be potentially be viewed as a success during Obama’s first term come election (and especially re-election) time.

Republicans block job creation bills. Republicans block outsourcing reversal bills. Republicans block unemployment extensions. Republicans block bills to reverse tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas. Republicans block state infrastructure grant programs. Republicans even block discussion about jobs bills. And now the country’s most powerful elected Republican says “So be it” about 200,000 people losing their jobs.

How many examples do you need before you begin to realize that the entire Republican organization is working not just against you as a working-class tax payer, but wholly and unashamedly *FOR* the corporations that have shipped 19.2 Million jobs OUT of America since 2003?

Where are the jobs?  Well, a job is certainly going on in Washington. I just can’t decide whether it’s snow, con or hand.

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