On it’s way back down, the jobless rate hit a number last week that it hasn’t seen since Obama took office in January 2009. This is a further indication that the economic recovery, albeit slow, is gaining momentum. So naturally the GOP is finding every cause it can to downplay something that has celebratory significance.
I received my routine e-mail from my Congressman the other day, Republican Michael Burgess of the Texas 26th district. It came on the heals of great economic news about the better-than-expected job growth in January. But you got the clear impression that Mr. Burgess wasn’t hopeful about this and in fact started blaming Obama for failing to revive the economy at a much faster pace. This of course is understandable in light of the fact that the Republican/TeaParty has worked so hard to portray all of Obama’s efforts as a failure. For the reality to expose their misrepresentation of the current administration’s economic policies, it makes it difficult for them to speak at all with feet placed firmly in their mouths.
The inference here by Congressman Burgess, and by default the GOP, is that there is a magic bullet “out there” that only they possess which can restore our economy to an earlier time before it started plummeting in late 2007. By his count there has been some 20 bills passed by the GOP-controlled House to effect this silver bullet solution but oddly this magically powerful projectile has been unable to penetrate the Democrat-controlled Senate. Not so oddly however if you scratch the surface of these Orwellian named pieces of legislation where you’ll find that the ammo that Burgess and his Party are shooting rounds with are the same old blanks of trickle down economics, eliminating critical government oversight and tax cuts for the wealthy 1%.
Why these people insist that what didn’t work previously will somehow miraculously work now is Einstein’s definition of insanity that assert’s “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” To suggest also that it is easy to reverse the mess that got us where we are today after decades of mismanagement is both naive and disingenuous of Burgess and his crony capitalist partners.
It’s true that we have not recovered at a faster pace than we could have but this as much a factor of an obstructionist Party who is more focused on “making Obama a one-term president” than finding real, proven solutions to our unemployment issues. Continuing to vote for legislation that sends jobs overseas and subsidizes highly profitable agriculture and fossil fuel businesses while balking on those that help start-up 21st century green technology is not conducive to rapid economic growth. It doesn’t help either to kill millions of public sector jobs and negatively impact spending by opposing an increase for the minimum wage, unemployment benefits and objecting to a continuance of the payroll tax cut.
Likewise, the continued fantasy that pure capitalism is the holy grail and capable of lifting all boats on a rising tide has seen evidence that only the wealthy truly benefit from a system that is supported more and more by a government that carries water for corporate America. The income disparity in this country has accelerated over the last 30 years since the Reagan administration began stripping every federal safeguard to prevent abuses by the private sector.
With unfettered ability, so-called “free-markets” have manipulated the resources of working class people around the world where the wealthiest income earners gained almost exponentially over other income groups.
[T]he Congressional Budget Office found that, from 1979 to 2007, the average real after-tax household income for the 1 percent of the population with the highest incomes rose 275 percent. For the rest of the top 20 percent of earners, it rose 65 percent. But it rose just 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent. SOURCE
Financiers who run those institutions that are “too big to fail”, which conservatives helped create with lax regulations and exploiting policies that were aimed at making homeownership a reality for more people, have shown us what really matters to them. As they loaded the housing market with predatory loans and credit default swaps sold to unsuspecting investors using the pension funds set aside by retiring working class people, the markets crashed under the limited regulation policies supported by all Republicans today. Millions of American wage earners joined the ranks of the unemployed not seen since Reagan was President while millions more were left underwater on their home loans.
Speaking of the patron saint of many contemporary Republicans, their no-compromise, tax-cuts-for-the-rich stances are not only counter productive but not reflective of a Reagan presidency that had to raise taxes four times and who once chastised members of his own Party who thought “Compromise’ was a dirty word”. He became impatient with congressional Republicans who “couldn’t face the fact that they couldn’t get [everything they] wanted … all at once.”
It’s both predictable and lamentable that the messages from our Congressional representatives in the GOP offer nothing new while spending far too much time berating the efforts of the opposition Party who are taking action not favored by the status quo in an attempt to get this economy up and running again. What we get instead from people like Michael Burgess are discouraging and ineffectual cultural war messages that seethe against gays, abortion, prayer in school and so-called traditional marriage.
Both Parties employ their own negative issues about each other to jockey for control but come on Congressman Burgess – give us break. 243,000 new jobs last month is something to be upbeat about. Forget about Party politics, in this case at least. If you can’t hold your criticism until you see this trend not holding then at least how about an “atta boy” for this bit of good news right now that says Good for you America!