As the weak job numbers came in this morning, I thought about just how successful Republicans have been in preventing the economy from increasing employment.
Economists know what would increase job growth in the short term, most Republican legislators know it, almost all Democrats know it, and President Obama is certain of it.
But yet we are still treading water, and almost 13 million folks who want jobs don’t have them, and millions more are working only part-time, against their wishes. And worst of all, millions are in the dreaded category of the long-term unemployed.
Mitt Romney, basking in the partisan glow of anemic job growth—only 84,000 private sector jobs added in June, for a running total of 4.4 million over the last 28 months—said this morning:
American families are struggling. There is a lot of misery in America today.
Indeed there is. And, to the extent Republican politicians can summon a whit’s worth of concern about that misery, the solutions they offer are, as President Obama said yesterday (and again this morning) just the same old trickle-down economics, which he called a “coherent theory”:
You can see it on their websites. They don’t make a secret about what they’re planning to do. The only problem is we tried it — we tried it for about 10 years right before I was elected as President of the United States, and it didn’t work. It didn’t make the middle class stronger. Job growth was sluggish. Your wages and your incomes did not go up. It didn’t grow our economy the way it needed to. And it culminated in the worst financial crisis we’ve had since the Great Depression. So their theory was tried.
Well, Mr. Obama may give the other side too much credit for having a theory of middle-class-aiding economics, coherent or otherwise. His opponents’ twin operating theories alternate between a strategy that can deliver an electoral knockout punch to what they perceive to be the economic glass jaw of the President, and the need to protect the moneyed class that supports their lamentable lust for power.
If the poor, the children, the elderly, the working and middle classes, and the country in general suffer because of these alternating theories, then so be it.
Other than Mitt Romney, who has traded what political decency he may have had for a mess of pottage cooked up by contemptuous and contemptible conservatives, the person who to me most represents the right’s unseemly appetite for power and unreserved advocacy for the wealthiest Americans, is Mitch McConnell.
On Fox “News” Sunday, Chris Wallace tried to pin down the electorally lustful McConnell several times on just how he and the Republican Party, after killing the Affordable Care Act, would “extend insurance access to 30 million people who are now uninsured.”
Obviously stunned by a Fox host practicing real journalism, McConnell finally managed to say:
That’s not the issue…
WALLACE: You don’t think the 30 million people that are uninsured is an issue?
MCCONNELL: Let me tell you what we’re not gonna do: we’re not gonna turn the American health care system into a Western European system. That’s exactly what is at the heart of ObamaCare. They want to have the federal government take over all of American health care…
So, the short answer is, nope, Mitch McConnell doesn’t think that a tenth of the country going without health insurance is an issue, at least an issue more important than the country going another election cycle without him as the Senate Majority Leader.
All of which leads me to a story on Politico.
President Obama was speaking Thursday in Sandusky, Ohio, when he met a woman named Stephanie Miller, who was crying when they talked. Here are a couple of photos of the moment:
Here is the account from Politico:
“I thanked him for the getting the Affordable Health Act passed,” Miller said, referring to the health care overhaul the Supreme Court upheld last week.
Miller said her sister passed away from colon cancer four years ago — partly because she could not purchase health insurance.
“Even after she was diagnosed with cancer, she was told her income was too high for Medicaid,” Miller said.
I don’t know why the Republican Party has devolved into a shelter for repugnant reactionaries, who by their politics and selfish political theories suggest that Stephanie Miller’s sister isn’t worth discussing with a host on Fox “News,” or, more important, with the American people.
But I do know if more Americans are forced to confront the harsh reality lived by people like Stephanie Miller’s late sister, if they are obliged to acknowledge that millions upon millions of folks are not enjoying the bliss of American exceptionalism, and if they find out that Republicans offer nothing to change that reality other than a Randian economics that has previously shipwrecked the economy, then Mitt Romney will never hold the office he has corrupted himself to get.
And Mitch McConnell will remain a tiny titmouse of a man whining his crestfallen song before an increasingly irrelevant minority in the United States Senate.