Jobs: Still the #1 national emergency
We are in an absolute national jobs emergency and everyone outside of Washington, DC understands this. But if you read the DC-oriented press, you would think that the “issue” of jobs has come and gone. You would read that “each side” has “scored points.” You would read that each side has “offered a plan.” You would read that “Congress is deadlocked” and “neither side is willing to compromise.” This is “horse-race” coverage, where they talk about the politics of who is up and who is down, and not coverage of what is important in the lives of regular Americans.
In this kind of coverage the “side” that is the American People and our needs is not even part of this discussion.. This kind of coverage recognizes that much of what happens in Washington is little more than a propaganda game of scoring points and tricking people into thinking things that are not real… Anyway, out in the real world people still need jobs and it is an emergency, and there is a risk of people taking matters into their own hands.
The Horse Race
The President’s jobs plan, called The American Jobs Act, involves actual job creation. Last week Republicans in the Senate filibustered to block the plan from even being discussed. After the vote Republicans lined up for their campaign checks and promises of lucrative lobbying positions in the future, lobbyists lined up for their bonus checks, and Washington reporters moved on to the next horse race.
But the President is still trying to get Congress to act on his plan. Today’s Boston Globe: Obama seeks votes on jobs, piece by piece,
Railing against Republicans, President Barack Obama on Monday pushed for a jobs package that Congress is splintering into pieces, as Senate Democrats planned action first on a longshot plan to help states hire teachers, police and firefighters. In campaign mode on the road, Obama accused Republicans senators of saying no to helping Americans.
Actual Job Plans
The President’s plan, in spite of its tax cuts, has real, actual, solid components that actually will create real jobs. (If anything, the Bush years taught us that tax cuts do not create jobs and just leave behind debt.) The plan does a lot to keep teachers in place (teaching jobs), modernize schools (construction jobs), repair infrastructure (construction jobs plus a more competitive economy) and rehabilitate homes and businesses (construction jobs plus higher property values).
In September, following a summer “jobs” listening tour, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released their own jobs plan, called the Rebuild the American Dream Framework, that would actually create jobs. It begins with:
Persistent mass unemployment constitutes a national emergency and a human calamity that is damaging all facets of the United States economy. Roughly 25 million Americans are in need of full time work, including underemployed Americans and those who have simply given up looking for work. The numbers are stark for everyone, but even more so for minority communities. While unemployment stands at 9.1% nationally, it’s over 11% for Hispanics and almost 17% for African Americans. More and more Americans are facing or living in poverty, desperately in need of a good job at a living wage. While the President’s plan is a good start, we want to offer a more comprehensive plan to put America back to work.
Laura Clawson wrote about the plan at Daily Kos, in Congressional Progressive Caucus releases jobs plan,
Through the summer, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus listened to what people had to say about the need for jobs. Now, the CPC has unveiled a jobs creation framework of its own, providing President Obama with a much-needed left flank on jobs.
“We expect [Republicans] to be opposed,” [Rep. Keith] Ellison said at a press conference. “But we’ve got faith in the American people to rise up and demand that Congress pass a jobs bill. So we’re fundamentally optimistic, but we’re also realistic. … We do expect the American people are going to bring pressure to bear.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus members said it would be wrong to “cut the baby in half” and pass only parts of the Obama jobs plan, even though they do not support every aspect of the bill.
But they’re also pushing for more—and more is desperately needed when it comes to jobs creation and to pressure from the left to counterbalance even a fraction of the Republican party’s extremism.
The CPC’s Rebuild the American Dream Framework “outlines six areas of focus for immediate and long term job creation: Make it in America Again, Rebuild America, Lead the Green Industrial Revolution, Jobs for the Next Generation, Not Just Jobs—Good Jobs, and Fair Taxes—Shared Sacrifice.”
The Solution Is Obvious
The solution to the jobs problem is, of course, obvious. At the same time as millions need work, our infrastructure is crumbling. This makes it harder and harder and more costly for our own, American businesses to operate and to compete internationally. This represents millions of jobs that need to be done! And after these jobs are done the economy will be in much better share and our businesses will be more able to operate and compete. Obviously we need to hire unemployed people to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
Tax cuts on the wealthy starved us of the ability to pay to hire the people to get these jobs done, and the solution to that is also obvious. Tax the rich to pay for this work.
People Fed Up And #Occupying
While the mainstream corporate news sources refuse to inform the people just who is blocking the solutions, the people have figured it out. Wall Street and its billionaires have purchased the government and are blocking progress. People are fed up with the lack of response from our government and are angry. What started weeks ago with a small group of fed-up people “occupying” Wall Street has now turned into a national – and international – wide-scale protest against the lack of action on jobs and against governments captured by the greedy top 1%.
The Republican/Wall Street/billionaire game is to block everything, hoping people blame the problem-solvers. But if government continues to fail to provide jobs, Wall Street and its billionaires might learn that history repeats itself. Mobs in the streets are never as kind of the billionaires as the president’s modest tax increases to pay for infrastructure.
This post originally appeared at the Campaign for America’s Future.Dave Johnson is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future. He also blogs at Seeing the Forest.