So Where Are All Those Jobs Being Created?
One quote that's pretty much helped form the way I look at politics is this one from conservative humorist P.J. O'Rourke:
"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then get elected and prove it."
And boy, have they proven it lately.
See, the Republicans sort of painted themselves into a corner. Their electoral strategy for taking back Congress was built around hammering President Obama and the Democrats for the high unemployment rate and promising that if they got in, there'd be jobs, jobs and more jobs.
What they momentarily forgot is that another pillar they claim as part of their philosophy is that "government can't do anything, especially create jobs."
For a while they've managed to obscure that contradiction by spinning everything they want to get rid of as being about jobs. They cast the Affordable Care Act as "the job-killing health care bill" - which, after the tragic shootings in Tucson they amended to "job-crushing" or "job-destroying" health care bill.
Whatever the name, they vowed to repeal it, in the name of Almighty Jobs, even though the Congressional Budget Office predicted a small effect on employment - a half a percent - with most of that coming from people voluntarily working less because, for instance, they could retire earlier or take less demanding work due to the availability of insurance outside their jobs.
But as always, who needs facts when fear-mongering will do? If jobs are all people are thinking about, the GOP decided, then everything we don't like will be "job-crushing" or "job-destroying." And there's nothing they hated more than the health care bill.
Problem was, they knew going in that they weren't going to repeal the health care bill. They didn't have the votes in the Senate, and they knew they didn't have enough votes anywhere to override the inevitable presidential veto.
So the House Republicans huffed and strutted and voted on a repeal bill - and it died in the Senate, just as everyone knew it would. Total jobs created: zero.
Meanwhile, Darrell Issa (R-Gone in 60 Seconds), chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee, sent letters to more than 150 corporations and trade organizations, asking them to tell him which regulations they didn't like - oh, sorry, which regulations are, in their sole opinion, "harming job growth."
Republicans have also opposed greater regulation of food safety, mining and deep-water drilling.
I suppose you could make a case that that kind of deregulation is aimed at creating jobs. After all, the more miners or oil rig workers who die in preventable accidents, the more job openings there'll be. And those who don't qualify for the jobs can help clean up the dead wildlife after spills.
Another "job-creating" measure the Republicans want to undertake is cutting $100 billion of government spending, which will somehow create jobs by throwing an estimated 994,000 government employees out of work, to say nothing of the independent contractors who hire people to work on government-sponsored projects.
Speaker Boehner's response? "So be it." After all, government workers or people on government contracts aren't actually real people with real jobs to Boehner and the GOP. As far as they're concerned, the only people who have real jobs are the corporate CEOs who employ the lobbyists. You know, the people who have paid for 180 golf junkets and other corporate-sponsored trips for Boehner over the past six years.
I guess as long as he's in power, caddies, waitresses and bartenders in his vicinity can rest easy at night knowing their jobs are secure. The rest of you can go whistle.
Meanwhile, back on the House floor, the Republicans seem less concerned with job creation than they are with using the budget battles to push a radical anti-abortion agenda.
They introduced a bill that would redefine "rape" in such a way that it excludes statutory rape or date rape, and threw in a provision that would allow hospitals to let a women die rather than perform an emergency abortion that might save her life.
Both measures failed. Total jobs created: again, zero.
Looks like the only jobs these mooks really care about are their own. Whoever they're working for, it sure ain't us.
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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