There are many ways to describe the current incarnation of Republicans since President Obama was elected, and words like vile racists, obstructionist dolts, and America haters accurately describe the contemporary batch of Republican legislators. Indeed, there is little Congressional Republicans have accomplished to help any Americans unless they were extremely wealthy or owned corporations. For the past nine months, instead of helping the economy or creating jobs, Republicans have assaulted the poor, women, middle class, and the elderly to further the good fortune of the wealthy and corporations.
When President Obama proposed his jobs bill in early September, he coupled job creation with tax breaks and incentives for businesses, and a small tax increase on millionaires to assuage Republican objections that his plan was not funded. As it turns out, Republicans have no interest in any plan to create jobs and instead, are working to help wealthy Americans while they endanger every person in America financially and physically. As far as President Obama’s jobs plan, Republicans killed his proposal before it ever came up for a vote.
It was not news that Eric Cantor refused to allow the House to vote on the jobs plan and even if he had, there is little chance it would have passed the Republican-controlled chamber. In the Senate, the bill failed by a vote of 50-49 because Republicans changed Senate rules to require a super majority (60 votes) for any legislation proposed by Democrats or endorsed by President Obama to pass. In both cases, Republicans demonstrated their resolve to continue killing job creation plans because they want more Americans unemployed and living in poverty to keep the wealthy happy and their campaign contributions coming in. This week, Republicans proposed their grand jobs plan that includes eliminating environmental and financial regulations to help corporations, and giving more tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Both aspects of their plan are proven job killers but it did not stop Republicans from lying to promote their proposal.
John McCain spoke about the Republican proposal and made what is decidedly one of the most moronic statements any Republican has made thus far regarding regulations. McCain said, “We’d love to see, for example, a vote in the United States Senate on a moratorium on federal regulations, which are coming out by the thousands, costing businesses billions and billions of jobs.” Now, the population in America is 311,800,000 in mid-2011 making McCain’s statement an abject lie. The problem is that many Americans really do not comprehend what the number billion means, but it is obvious that McCain does so he was pandering to ignorant Americans he knew would hear the number and automatically assume regulations were the sole reason unemployment was so high. McCain is not the only Republican to make fallacious statements about jobs and the economy to engender opposition to the president’s administration and his jobs plan.
At the Republican presidential debate this past week, the candidates took turns lying about the influence regulations have on jobs. First, it is important to look at facts from Labor Department data to understand the minute influence government regulations really have on jobs and the economy. The data show that only a tiny percentage of companies experiencing large layoffs cite government regulation as the reason, and since President Obama took office, only two-tenths of 1% of layoffs was due to government regulations. The overwhelming reason businesses and economists cite as the reason companies are not expanding and hiring are low consumer demand because people do not have money to spend. However, Republican tendencies for lying and their refusal to listen to business owners and economists compel them to offer their opinions that have no basis in fact.
Former Massachusetts governor Willard M. Romney said that, “All of the Obama regulations, we say no. It costs jobs.” Texas governor and prayer-master extraordinaire Rick Perry said that, “Regulations are strangling the American entrepreneurship out there,” and Rick Santorum echoed John McCain’s sentiment that to unleash job creation it is necessary to “repeal every regulation the Obama administration put in place.” So, just as an example: if the financial and banking regulations Democrats passed to protect Americans from another financial meltdown and unfair charges for using their own money are eliminated, business owners will begin hiring and expanding their businesses? No, not according to business owners who when surveyed by the McClatchy Company cited poor sales and bloated inventories as the reason for not hiring new employees.
Michele Bachmann claimed government regulations were responsible for the mortgage crisis that caused the financial meltdown of 2007-2008. Bachmann said the federal government demanded and pushed banks to lower “platinum-level lending standards to new lows. It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans.” A great deal of subprime loans that inflated the housing bubble were made by mortgage companies that were not regulated by the federal government, and one of the biggest reasons they made loans to people who could never afford to repay them was because they profited by selling them to Wall Street investment banks that profited by packaging them into securities and selling them knowing they would never be repaid. If there had been regulations in place to prevent investors and banks from the shady sub-prime loans, the entire world’s economy may be in much better shape.
Killing regulations is the most horrific idea Republicans continue to push and it is the overriding reason corporations, banks, and Wall Street have ridden roughshod over the economy and eventually killed jobs. This column has repeated ad nauseum that during the Clinton Administration, environmental regulations were increased and strengthened, and the economy experienced its greatest growth in decades while corporations enjoyed record profits. Republicans are promoting the Koch brothers’ libertarian agenda that only unrestricted and unregulated free market capitalism will help businesses. It is important to remember that workplace regulations such as the minimum wage and worker protections are under assault from conservatives and libertarians alike because they give businesses more profits.
It is unclear how far Republicans will go to decimate the economy and job creation to benefit their wealthy corporate donors. Even if every regulation was eliminated today, there would be no immediate benefit to Americans looking for work. Conversely, according to Moody’s Analytics, President Obama’s jobs plan will create 1.9 million jobs in a short amount of time. Republicans claim the president’s plan is stimulus the country cannot afford even though the stimulus would be paid for with a tax increase on millionaires and billionaires. The American people favor increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and the president’s jobs plan, but Republicans serve corporate interests and do not listen to the people, or care that they are suffering in an economy caused by their malfeasance.
At some point, Americans are going to have to send Republicans a stronger message that they are sick and tired of taking a backseat to corporations and the wealthy. The Occupy Wall Street movement is gathering steam and the message to Republicans should be clear that people are approaching a tipping point. Although the protestors are targeting corporations and financial institutions, they know full well that Republicans are responsible for giving banks, big oil, and corporations free reign over the economy and the government. Republicans are not getting the message, and regardless their accusations that the protestors are mobs, they will be the ultimate recipients of the people’s rage.
If Americans have learned one thing, it is that Republicans have contempt for every person in America except the wealthy and they prove it with every tax cut, subsidy, and attempt at deregulation. The American people are hungry, frightened, and looking for some kind of relief and all Republicans can offer is deregulation and more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. At the very least, it is time for Republicans to admit they do not care about Americans or job creation and that they will go to any lengths to help the wealthy. If millions more Americans fall into poverty, go hungry, and end up living on the street, then Republicans should follow John Boehner’s lead and just say, “So be it.” For once, Republicans should be honest and admit the obvious; they detest the American people.