Americans are some of the hardest working people in the world, and it is not just their work ethic that drives them to toil for a decent life, it is the conditions conservatives have imposed on them that make it difficult to survive from paycheck to paycheck. In the western world, Americans work longer hours for less pay and less time off than their counterparts in Europe and it leads to shorter lifespans and less contentment. The economic situation has made finding a job nearly impossible because businesses are less inclined to hire new employees when the public can ill-afford to buy their goods much less daily rations of food and even shelter. The Republican candidates seeking the nomination for president in 2012 have assailed President Obama for failing to provide jobs for Americans, but their assertions that they have the answers to put Americans back to work are fallacious at best and at worst, outright lies.
First, it is worth noting that President Obama and Democrats created more jobs in 2010 than George W. Bush did in his eight year reign of economic malfeasance. From Bush’s first month in office until December of 2009, the economy added 1 million jobs, but in 2010 alone the economy added at least 1.1 million jobs and though the numbers show improvement, there is still a long way to go to get 14.5 million more Americans gainfully employed. It is unfortunate, but if Republicans were not so bent on obstructing President Obama’s economic agenda the unemployment numbers would be much lower and the economy would be on a more solid foundation. Economists have outlined what measures to take to improve job creation, but because Republicans are ill-equipped to take advice from experts they are resorting to their tired canards of tax breaks for the wealthy’s corporations and deregulation of environmental protections.
When Republicans won the House in 2010, they promised to make jobs their highest priority but instead of job creation, they focused on procreation and assaulting women’s right to choose their own reproductive health. After 8 months, Republicans have still not made any effort to help create jobs and instead have obstructed the president and the Democratic determination to create an environment that is conducive to job creators. When Democrats attempted to eliminate tax breaks and incentives for corporations that outsource Americans’ jobs, Republicans obstructed and eventually blocked the job-creating legislation. Their job-killing agenda served two purposes; to protect their wealthy corporate donors and to portray the Obama Administration as ineffective. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce president made the rounds on news talk-shows to tout the benefits to corporations of moving American jobs to India, Korea, and China, and although near-slave labor may be good for big business, it is devastating Americans’ lives as well as the country for the lost tax revenue from working Americans and corporations that avoid paying taxes on foreign earnings.
The Republican meme that regulations and the corporate tax rate are hurting job creation plays well to conservatives and cognitively challenged Republican supporters, but they are outright lies that have been around since the Republicans’ man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan, was president. It is an oft-repeated statistic, but it bears repeating again that during the Clinton Administration, the tax rate for the richest 2% of Americans was 3% higher than it is now and funding for regulatory agencies like the EPA was increased leading to millions of jobs being created and an environment that was considerably less toxic. When President Clinton’s term was finished, he left a budget surplus that the Bush-Republicans promptly turned over to the wealthy and the economy began a devastating slide that continued until President Obama’s initiated a stimulus program that started the painfully slow economic recovery.
Economists have said that the stimulus was good for the economy, but that it was too little to make the kind of impact that would lift the country out of the economic slump that remains today. Republicans objected to the stimulus the Democratically-controlled Congress passed, and continue the spiel that it did nothing to create jobs or help the economy. Republicans being the innate hypocrites they are decried the stimulus but took credit in their districts for the jobs it created and the infrastructure improvements it funded. The newest entrant in the Republican field for president, Rick Perry, is one of the stimulus hypocrites who condemned the stimulus as a waste, but took the money and used it to “plug nearly 97% of Texas’ budget shortfall for fiscal 2010.”
The Republicans who criticized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) that helped the nation’s economy and put Americans back to work did not have a big problem with the Bush stimulus (TARP) to prop up banks and Wall Street that caused the mortgage crisis that decimated the world’s economy. It is a continuing narrative that Republicans hate spending on the American people but love enriching corporations, banks, and the wealthy. All the while, Americans are suffering from high unemployment and loss of programs that primarily help the poor, children, and elderly as the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans enjoy record earnings and low tax rates.
Republicans fighting for the party’s nomination have echoed the Heritage Foundation and Koch Industries talking points that the deficit and out-of-control spending are responsible for the sluggish economy and slow job growth, but spending cuts and deficit reduction have nothing to do with job creation. Michele Bachmann has called for the elimination of the minimum wage and Rick Perry’s state boasts the most workers at or below the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. They echo the Chamber of Commerce president’s contention that without a minimum wage, Americans can compete with slave-labor wage levels in places like China and India. Obviously big business is looking for Americans who will work for $1 dollar-an-hour and if that happens, they will consider moving manufacturing back to America but only if the EPA is eliminated and America adopts the dirty-air standards China and India tolerate. Michele Bachmann has promised that her first task as president will be to cut the power and lock the doors of the EPA to restrict them from hurting corporations.
The overwhelming theme of the Republican candidates is helping big business and not the American people. It is nothing new though because it has been the goal of Republicans for decades. In the spending-cut frenzy in February, Republicans’ proposed cuts would cost over one million jobs at the same time they blocked attempts to extend unemployment benefits. Nearly every credible economist that does not work for the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute has said that spending cuts kills jobs and they have advised much larger stimulus programs and infrastructure improvements that are guaranteed to create millions of jobs. Earlier this year, the CBO said the government needed to hire tens-of-thousands of inspectors and regulators for food safety programs and to collect delinquent income taxes, but Republicans ignored those recommendations and promptly cut spending to those programs killing even more jobs to cause the most damage to the economy as possible. At some point, the economy will not recover and the fault is squarely with Republicans and their job-killing measures.
There is ample proof that President Obama and economic experts know what works to get Americans working again, but with recalcitrant Republicans and cowardly Democrats balking at bold measures like public work programs funded by a large stimulus, the economic picture is not rosy and job growth will remain slow. However, if the President and Democrats continue telling the population what has worked and what is necessary to create jobs, sooner or later they will catch on. Republicans running for president will keep repeating the meme that cutting regulations and taxes for the wealthy is the only path to job creation, but they are running out of morons who believe them. The public should be aware that Bush-era tax cuts have been in effect for ten years, and that corporations and oil companies pay little or no taxes whatsoever and no jobs were created; but an investment in America by President Obama created over 1.1 million jobs in 2010 alone. The Democrats need to keep those figures in the public’s conscience to have success in 2012.
The religious malcontents who support any Republican who wraps themselves in the flag, with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other are a lost cause and there is no reasoning with them; Democrats should not waste their time trying. However, for unemployed Americans who yearn for a decent job and place to live and who want this country to thrive and succeed, it may take reminding that the country can return to the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies, or remain with Democratic job growth and infrastructure improvements. The choice is simple for decent, hardworking, and intelligent Americans, but for ignorant conservatives looking the next white bible-thumping gunslinger, the field is crowded.