The Only “Jobs Plan” That Matters These Days

Mr. Obama, optimistic to a fault—or as shrewd as Machiavelli—is offering Republicans yet another opportunity (yet another “grand bargain”) to come to the aid of the country, an opportunity right-wingers will, of course, reject.

Why? Why would they reject a deal to cut tax rates on businesses in exchange for “a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs,” as the President offered in Chattanooga today? Because the rejection is not based on the offer, but the offer-er, the Scary Negro in the White’s House. They deal with him at their own political peril.

President Obama, making fun of House Republicans, said today that “wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal ObamaCare is not a jobs plan.” About that he is certainly wrong. Taking all those meaningless votes is a jobs plan for right-wing legislators, as those meaningless votes will help keep them employed in Congress after the 2014 elections. Republican primary voters have a preternatural affection for such meaninglessness and they nearly always reward its champions.

And there’s the problem. A relative handful of extreme and energetic reactionaries, strategically spread across the country in tangled and twisted congressional districts, fed propaganda day after day by well-funded right-wing interest groups, can, by proxy, stand in the way of anything that looks like progress for the country as a whole.

For that we can think the collective genius of our Founders, the Supreme Court, and, most important, the indifference and complacency found among a rather large number of Americans, folks in the 99% who can’t send their spare cash on exotic vacations in the Cayman Islands, but who are willing to sit back, refuse to vote, and allow a tiny fraction of the electorate who can park money in sun-soaked hideaways to control politics in Washington and elsewhere.

[AP Photo]

11 Comments

  1. You have it exactly right, Duane. The mindset of most Congressional Republicans now is like that of Vince Lombardi when he said,

    Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

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  2. It seems to me that the ‘Conservative’ movement isn’t at its core a set clear overall policy principles. It’s a group identity: rural; religious; and afraid of ‘outsiders’. I think 9/11 contributed to this. I think it is unfair to call it purely racist, but I think that’s a part of it too.

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  3. Jane Reaction

     /  July 30, 2013

    The US military complex IS our jobs program.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  July 31, 2013

    The genius of American politics has been (except for the issue of slavery) the ability to govern without revolutions and then counter revolutions. By and large the minority has never been excluded from strong influence on majorities, completely excluded. When such happens, minority views are shut out of the process of governing, well just look at France since say 1789, up to today. I can count THREE major revolutions/counter-revolutions in that country over that span of time along with a total occupation of same during WWII.

    I also suggest that Detroit is a microcosm of majority rule for half a century, the almost total exclusion of conservative politics in that city for that period of time. Look what we have, nationally, on our plate as a result. And God help those 700,000 current residents and their follow-on generations, if some political balance is NOT achieved as that city tries to “restructure” itself.

    Anson

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    • Anonymous

       /  August 4, 2013

      AB, West Texas is a microcosm of a majority party rule as well. But guess what? They needed FEMA to clean up their town after a private company leveled it. They have admitted that they cannot do it alone. They were denied FEMA money at first, but apparently they asked again.

      Kabe

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  August 5, 2013

    FEMA is designed to confront DISASTERS, as I understand it. It is suppose to react apolitically as well and usually does so as far as I can tell. Jasper Country is far more GOP than almost any other county in the country it seems, yet…….. So why not West Texas as well? Did FEMA help the Gulf Coast during the oil spill, one caused by a company, not nature? Should they have done so? Yes, of course such aid should have been rendered, to a degree at least.

    I am not at all anti-FEMA. BUT, when Congress votes $62 BILLION in aid for the recent hurricane, well I get real suspicious. Then when I find some of that aid going to highways in the Virgin Islands, well, does that not bother YOU as well? When big and bad things happen in a given area, federal, state, local government and for sure PRIVATE assistance is called for. How much and how such assistance is used however, well there we can find all sorts of “stuff” to argue about, I suppose. By and large when such huge sums are used for “special interests” well, do we pick our preferred special interest and defend such spending or simply call for stopping all spending, or ignore the fraud, etc. and call for MORE money from government to spend as government sees fit?

    I also bet you are loving the current rife between Rand Paul and the fat governor of NJ!!!! Surprised the EC has not taken that one on recently!!!

    Anson

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    • Anonymous

       /  August 5, 2013

      The situation in Texas should be paid by the private company that caused it, especially since they brag in Texas how little restrictions they have. I think the oil companies should have paid for the oil spill as well- all of it. I am not against these folks (TX and Gulf Coast) getting help, but these companies need to be held responsible. (The corrupt Kilpatrick and his cronies in Detroit are in jail, as they should be) FEMA can put them on a payment plan if they don’t have it. Hell Anson, republicans blasted Obama when he got $ 20 Billion out of the oil companies after the spill.
      I guess you are anti -Detroit, if not FEMA. If the pensioners do not get their earned payments, I would guess most will end up on some sort of aid plan. Either way, they will be getting paid by tax payers. If I fail to pay a debt for a car, home, boat, etc,that property will be taken back. So why do the pensioners have no right to their property? Their labor or service was their property. Remember, they were from the pension era, they did not have the financial vehicles such as 401ks as we have today. This is not their fault, but at this point I doubt you will ever change your mind about the people of Detroit.
      I sincerely have avoided politics while I was away, I must have missed the spat you mention. Your “fat governor” comment is out of character for you. I don’t really like the NJ Governor much, but I will look it up.

      Kabe

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    • Anonymous

       /  August 6, 2013

      AB, How would you rationalize Picher OK? Very much like Detroit in that a town relied on one industry that went belly up. In Detroit’s case is has been cut in half. Picher was bailed out big time. Can’t blame democratic policies or the Unions here. Perhaps Detroit should go the Superfund route?

      Kabe

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  August 6, 2013

    Kabe,

    Your questions are appropriate in my view. Should I care about people that have worked in Detroit for decades that get left, maybe, with no old age retirement funds. Of course I should worry about such people, just like I would worry about myself if the federal government renigned on my own militiary retirement funding.

    I used the term “fat governor” because, first I could not remember his name, Chris Christy, when I wrote the comment. But as well the two men are arguing about “bacon” (pork) and who is worse in asking for more and more “pork”!!! It is two GOPers arguing which usually delights the EC!! Of course his solution is to fire both of them and put a skinny democrate in both places, the old lean and mean democratic approach to governing which of course is a joke!!!

    Misused and underfunded pension funds, for unions, public employees, private employees (for those that still exist) are a big problem in America today. The solution in my view is NOT to keep trying to increase retirement benefits. There is not enough money to “keep up” with such demand, anywhere in the future. So what to do becomes the question, for the future is my point. Business as usually seems irrational to me, but not to many progressives for sure.

    We do not have the money to pay for current HC in America today. Yet the solutions proposed by progressives is to keep piling on more HC benefits for more people, by and large. I submit that ACA has done exactly that, pile on more benefits for more people and still not have a real clue as to how to pay for it in a free society. Hell China is NOT a free society and they don’t event TRY to pay for such stuff.

    Before 1965 and maybe sometime in the 1950’s (or so as SS took hold) the American people dealt individually with old age care. Now government deals with such matters, just for old people in an aging population. Just look at the financial problems associated with such old age care in America today, much less dealing with HC for all Americans in the future.

    I don’t know all the problems in Detroit today, financially and with current leadership, for sure. But I read the lack of pension funding, right now, for Detroit is one of several huge problems. I don’t know HOW to fix that mess, right now and neither do you I suspect. The easy way out of the current mess is simply to “bailout” a broken city. That in general seems to be the union and progressive approach as best I can tell for now.

    My concern is not so much the CURRENT problems in Detroit and elsewhere. I will let “politics” resolve such issues, today. But I worry a lot about what must be done to prevent recurrence of such problems in Detroit and elsewhere around America today. Such matters are NOT “stable” for sure, in my view and business as usual is irrational.

    Now read if you might my most recent blog on future “war fighting” challenges. We have National Objectives, long standing American strategic approaches to world problems. I submit that the world has changed so much in say just the last 20 years that our National Objectives are irrational TODAY, much less 20 years from now.

    Our immediate solution in that National Security arena is to “sequester” defense spending but NOT even talk about future National Objectives and how they must change to adapt to a changing world. I submit that changing such mundane things as retirement funding is a similar issue and a BIG one as well.

    To bring such thoughts closer to home, I have discussed such matters, how to retire comfortably, with my own middle aged kids today. Their solution, with no politics involved, is they are planning on working until they are at least 75 years of age and creating a financial foundation based on such planning, right now. To me that is rational thinking on their part though I “wish” things could be better for them when the time comes for THEM to get old and frail.

    I will also note that when I was in my 40’s I created a financial plan to retire and assumed NO reliance on SS when I did so. But for sure I did rely on military retirement in creating that plan. The Great Recession took care of my older planning efforts and now I rely on both SS and military retirement funding in my older age. If I lost just one of those sources, now, I would have to “move in with my kids”. If I lost both of them, well hello streets.

    “Detroit”, the people in and around that area have seen this one coming for a few decades and denied such would ever happen. How to prevent future “Detroits” is my primary concern right now but I still care about how to help those folks today to the extent possible as well.

    Anson

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    • Anonymous

       /  August 6, 2013

      AB, I appreciate your response and your honesty of your own retirement. I do not know the answer to Detroit or the other cities that are close to the same situation. I do think we are in a time that is between vanishing pensions plans and turning to more self reliance of 401ks. (Although many companies are getting rid of those also.) It seems those that have no clue what a pension is think they are some sort of unearned benefit, which I disagree. It would be just like someone proposing to cut your earned military retirement. I would be just as vocal in opposition to any such plan.
      Due to my prior examples of conservative areas getting bailouts, I have to disagree that bailouts are the approach of progressives and unions.
      I am sure we will be visiting this subject in the future. I will be following the story daily and I am encouraged by some of the ideas I read about. It will be interesting to see which ones pan out. There is nowhere to go but up at this point!

      Kabe

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  7. ansonburlingame

     /  August 11, 2013

    Kabe,

    I KNOW we disagree on some matters, important matters. But at least we seem to be able to “discuss” such issues without all the crap against conservative thoughts on this blog.

    There is no one in America that has THE comprehesive solution to what ails Detriot right now. As well exactly why such problems are so profound for that city, right now, is subject to disagreement as well. But what NO ONE can disagree with now is the condition in which the former fourth largest city in America has “come to” today. It is a nightmare by anyone’s defintion.

    Simple math and “humanity” would suggest this, at least to me as far as pension funding goes for Detroit. Add up the total amount in the current fund and subtract the money needed to sustain the promises already made to those currently receiving benefits. Then PAY IT, the benefits promised.

    After doing so then find out what is left in the fund. Then start adjusting FUTURE benefit payments to take such available money into account. Add in what will “come in” in those intervening years as well. Not enought money for future retirees is the obvious result of such “math”. OK, put a price tag on the deficiency and THEN decide either where to get more money or leave benefits in the future at lower levels (and older ages as well).

    IF a “bailout” is needed and the math reflects such truth, there being not enough money anywhere to pay current benefits, well there is your argument for a bailout. But “bailouts” for future retirees, not a chance in my vote for sure. As for repayment of such a current bailout, well that should go into the budget books, to repay that debt, for future Detroit budgets, after they “recover”, as well.

    The moral to the story, or lessons to be learned from Detroit, is that big pots of money “waiting to be spent” for legal purposes are NOT pots of money for current politicians to use today. A “trust fund” demands “trust that the money will be there when it is needed and promised”. If we the people cannot trust government to honor such committments, well there we find revolution coming to the fore if history tells us much at all.

    Before any liberal leaps on what I just wrote, be careful. “Granma” (a little ole lady, alone, and just getting by on her pension) is one thing, someone desperately needing TODAY that pension. It was PROMISED to her so pay it, no questions asked.

    Someone that drinks and drugs his current paycheck away today but demands food stamps as well, for himself and his family, is a whole different matter. NO KIDS should starve in the streets of America. But the no loads that live on the “cuff of society”, well if they chose to drink and drug instead of eat and work, that becomes their choice. I have plenty of “blood in my heart”, blood enough to “bleed” for those in real trouble. But when real trouble is because of their poor choices, well ……….

    Anson

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