American Jobs Act: Obama Cares

by George Kennedy on October 6, 2011



Republicans today are singing the praises of the “job creators” and defending the wealthy in our current economic situation. They refuse to admit that their formula for economic growth and recovery, namely outsourcing, deregulation and privatization, was tried before and was not all that successful. In fact, David Stockman, the former economic wunderkind of Reaganomics, says the GOP “destroyed the U.S. economy.” Trickle-Down economic policy just did not work.

When Bush left office in January 2009, the unemployment rate was accelerating fast from 5.2% to 7.6% and the nation was losing over 700,000 jobs a month approaching a rate of 9.5% by June. The Obama administration’s efforts helped to arrest the job decline and began to add jobs slowly at a monthly average rate slightly faster than the eight years of the Bush administration. Yet the Republicans maintain that their economic recipe is the proper one to heal America. They chant we must protect the job creators.

The Republican mantra is to want us to believe that these so-called “job creators” provide jobs when we lower their taxes, eliminate regulations that maintain competition, reduce workers’ protections from unfair labor practices, remove environmental protections of clean air and water, good health and safety, and cut vital services to those most in need.

These wealthy people who want so much at the expense of others dare to call themselves “Compassionate Conservatives.” Indeed, the richest 20% of households own 85% of the nation’s wealth. But where is the compassion and where are the jobs? Where is their investment now in the American people whose labor helped make them wealthy?

When the wealthy get tax breaks they do mostly one of two things with their money: they save it or invest it abroad. Saving it does little to create jobs except to accrue more interest in the bank; and investing overseas vacuums jobs out of the United States and promotes pollution, sweatshops and a working under-class with poor working conditions and an unsafe working environment. Since the 1990’s, over 4 million jobs have been shipped overseas.

When one looks at the “job creators”, they can be seen as job killers not providers. Unregulated businesses can become monopolies that restrain trade, raise prices, damage quality and eliminate competition.
De-regulations can foster mergers that reduce jobs through reductions in force, and assets being sold. Look at the Romney so-called job creation record with Bain Capital with leverage buyouts, layoffs and a few bankruptcies. The Perry report card fares no better. The Texas miracle is a result of rising oil prices in a state that has a large, energy-laden economy, but ranks high in school drop-outs, high in citizens without high school diplomas, and high in minimum wage earners.

The many jobs in Texas are also the result of Obama’s stimulus money that helped maintain and expand government employment in that state. Without federal money, Perry would not have been able to balance the state’s current budget this year, but Texas still has a carryover debt of $37.8 billion in 2010, rising from $13.4 billion in 2001.

President Obama’s American Jobs Act offers real help to create jobs and business investment opportunities. The United States has a sick economy, and it needs some medicine. The Republican’s elixir will not improve conditions. It has been tried before and has not worked. In fact, it helped to create the mess we are in. Republicans’ selective amnesia was an important tool in crafting the hollow mantra they now advance as the solution to a depressed economy.

The American Jobs Act will produce transportation jobs, road and bridge repairs, school refurbishing, educator and first responder jobs. The $447 billion package, which includes many of the spending details and tax cuts the Republicans favor, will have a distinct multiplier effect on the economy.

The payroll received by workers and spent in the market for goods and services will put others to work by creating demand. As I noted earlier, the Trickle-Down theory of catering to the rich has been tried many times before and failed. The American Jobs Act, on the other hand, offers a real solution to help the United States. It shows that Obama cares.

George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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