Jobs Efforts Crushed Again

by: DaveJ

Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 17:45

On the wire: Unemployment bill dealt Senate defeat,

Republicans and a dozen Democratic defectors in the Senate dealt a defeat to President Barack Obama Wednesday, just days after he pressed Congress to renew pieces of last year's economic stimulus bill.

This bill included an extension of unemployment benefits, and aid to states to help keep teachers, firefights and police employed.  The bill also would have raised taxes on hedge fund managers and other wealthy investors who pay far lower rates than others on their income.  And it would boost taxes a bit on oil companies.  God forbid!

This comes after previous attempts to help the jobless failed over spending concerns (and never mind efforts to create jobs),

Democrats had already scaled back the bill after colleagues complained a previous draft would have cost almost $200 billion. House Democratic leaders last month dropped plans to extend subsidies to help the jobless buy health insurance and send another $24 billion to states before forwarding the measure to the Senate.

From a Bloomberg story,

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said lawmakers want to begin paring the extended unemployment benefits created in response to the recession because "this is not something that can go on indefinitely."

McCaskill said that "if you don't start having those discussions then it begins to look like a brand-new level of entitlement program, which is something that we really can't afford to do right now in this country."

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says the Senate will now present a "less costly" plan" that will cost the states, the poor and the unemployes a lot more.

Bush left us with a $1.4 trillion deficit, and the unemployed and poor are paying for that.  Part of the problem is that conservatives have been successful at misleading the public into thinking this huge deficit was the result of Obama's stimulus when it wasn't.  (The public also conflates the stimulus with the Bush banker bailouts.)

DaveJ :: Jobs Efforts Crushed Again
With the election looming this misperception puts the heat on Democrats who didn't get the Cheney message that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."  They are putting themselves in the role of taking the candy away -- and hurting the unemployed and poor, while risking tipping the economy back into recession.  They think this will help them in the election.  Republicans are barely able to keep their snickering to themselves.

Outside of the DC bubble it is clear that the Republican strategy is to cause economic pain, and then run against Democrats for causing economic pain.  And this is exactly what they are doing.  (Similar to the strategy of blocking everything the Congress does, and then running a campaign of "Democrats aren't getting anything done so vote for us.")

At Campaign for America's Future, Isaiah Poole writes,

Oh, the irony. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates was on Capitol Hill today telling a Senate appropriations subcommittee that Congress has to approve a $33 billion supplemental war funding request by July 4 or else "we begin to have to do stupid things," the Senate did an incredibly stupid thing itself: By a vote of 45 to 52, it blocked a spending and tax measure that if enacted would prevent the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide and would begin to close a particularly egregious tax loophole.

Once again, a majority of the Senate has placed trying to use whipped-up fear of growing deficits to protect their own jobs over aggressive action to create and protect jobs for the American people.

Later he really makes the point, writing,

Critics say that the measure would add $80 billion to the federal deficit. But what do we lose when 900,000 people who are teaching our children, protecting our lives and property, maintaining our public spaces and serving us in innumerable other ways are unemployed?

As for the failure to extend the COBRA subsidies, almost half of the long-term unemployed are older workers, likely shed from companies because of their age, which means they have higher health care costs and are paid more because of their experience.  Now they are losing their COBRA subsidies which means almost all lose health care.  The very people who need government the most, the unemployed and older people, and the very ones the Congress is taking things out on.

This is a travesty and the Democrats are falling into a trap.  The public is going to take it out on them, not reward them, if they don't start watching out for working people.

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Republicans invite Dems to commit suicide. (4.00 / 5)
Dems jump at the opportunity. Film at 11 (same film we've seen many, many times before.)

Be nice if McCaskill would join the ranks of the (4.00 / 6)
unemployed in 2012. A lame excuse for a Dem if I ever saw one. Worked to get her elected and can work to defeat her.

As costly as our wars? (4.00 / 4)
"Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said lawmakers want to begin paring the extended unemployment benefits created in response to the recession because "this is not something that can go on indefinitely."

Unlike the waaay more costly war in Afghanistan?

That's different (4.00 / 2)
That's not helping the poor or the states or the unemployed.  Those are things government shouldn't do, according to these 12 Dems.


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

[ Parent ]
/snark (0.00 / 0)


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

[ Parent ]
Can't even blame the Filibuster (4.00 / 3)
Nor can you blame the Bird rule, or any super-majority Senate problem.  What a lame group of Democrats.  If they don't have compassion, someone should at least talk to them about macroeconomics and link between the economy and incumbent voting.  Idiots.

well, change is *hard* (4.00 / 1)
incremental change blah blah despair blah blah

[ Parent ]
And (4.00 / 7)
there is no way to lower the deficit and pay down the debt without bringing the economy back.  And there is no way to bring the economy back with so many people out of work or underemployed.

Just cutting off the unemployed and older people and telling them to just die isn't going to do it.  As they get desperate bad things will start happening -- the least of which will be forcing everyone else's wages down.  The worst of it will be tea party-style anger taking over the Congress.  If you think Bush was bad, wait till after the next election.  THAT Congress won't be any fun at all.


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

[ Parent ]
Long run (4.00 / 1)
Yep.  Over the long run, this kind of stimulus pays for itself, deficit-wise, since the spending is short term but the effect lasts longer, like pouring water down a well to prime the pump.

In this case, though, it looks like it was directly payed for (at least partially).

[ Parent ]
I suppose it's technically a defeat for Obama (4.00 / 4)
but he's spent that last year validating conservative lies about the threat of the deficit, so there's some justice here.  

Yes (0.00 / 0)
Who wrote the great post somewhere about Obama replaying the politics of the 90s?


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

[ Parent ]
And Obama is out campaigning for them. (4.00 / 5)
They shit on him, and he supports them.  Progressives/unions support Obama, he shits on them.   What is wrong with this picture, and who elected this guy?

Lincoln was embraced by her colleagues on the Senate floor as a conquering general returning from war. Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), in charge of the Senate Democrats' campaign effort, gave her a hug and a kiss and said, "Now we just have to raise money." Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) held up two fists and said of her primary campaign: "Fighting Wall Street with one hand, unions with the other."

Who elected this guy? (4.00 / 6)
I for one. Shame on me. But I won't make the same mistake again. He's repeatedly told progressives to fuck off, and I know how to take a hint.

[ Parent ]
Me too and I'm right behind ya. n.t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Damn! (4.00 / 9)
If we only controlled the Senate. Er, I mean, if only we had 60 Democratic Senators. Wait, I mean, if only we had 72 Senators. Well, maybe, if only there were no GOPers in the Senate, why then we could really get stuff done! We'd show everybody.

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?


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