Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Presidents Job Plan

So far the President has been ineffective doing anything to create jobs despite the fact that it is one of the most important things to be done to get this country back on the road to recovery. One in five Americans are on unemployment, have stopped looking for work or are underemployed (working part time for minimum wages even though they are skilled in better paying professions). Let’s face it, we need jobs. It is easy, when we focus on unemployment data or economic policies, to forget that jobs are about more than stock market signals or political platforms. Jobs are about putting food the table, sending kids to school with clothes on their backs and having a little left in your pocket to spend. A job is more than just a line on some company’s balance sheet or a turn of phrase in a politician’s speech. A job is what sustains us and our entire economy.

For several decades now our government, controlled by special interests, has put its thumb on the scale, giving political favors and billion dollar subsidies to big business while stifling entrepreneurship and small business in America. The result has been an economy in which worker productivity has gone up, corporate profits and CEO bonuses have gone up, but the wages for most Americans has been stagnate or declined.

Our government, under both President Obama and his predecessors, has been correctly accused of picking winners and losers in the marketplace. In fact, for decades now we’ve essentially structured our economy so that oil companies and Wall Street win while millions of hardworking Americans lose. Government helped create this corrupt economy -- and it has the ability (and should be made) to fix it.

The other night, the president outlined a plan that will, in his words, “put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” One of the biggest problems is that big business is sitting on record profits and cash reserves and still not hiring --- despite the fact they’re paying the lowest corporate taxes in a half century. And business leaders have said it’s not that regulations are stifling their business. What gives companies confidence, according to the president, is that “if they invest and hire, will there be customers for their products and services?” In other words, when the so-called “job creators” aren’t creating jobs, it’s time to put more money in the hands of middle class Americans who will spend it and spur hiring.

The president pointed out that there are thousands of roads and bridges and school buildings across the country that need repair. And there are thousands of construction workers who need jobs. The last “stimulus” package was supposedly meant to target those jobs but the money was hijacked for other purposes (some very corrupt) and had almost no effect. The question now becomes, “can the government, with all it’s political influences, get it right this time?” I don’t know, but since jobs are the key to recovery, we simply have to try. We need to put American dollars to work employing Americans all across the country to rebuild our infrastructure, not subsidizing big oil companies and Wall Street. We do not need to create tax incentives for bloated CEO pay packages, we need tax incentives for hiring new workers. 

There is no question the policies put forth by the President will create jobs, put money in the hands of consumers and strengthen America’s readiness for the 21st century. –If we can keep the politicians (Democrat and Republican) from doing what they have become expert at doing, protecting special interests and spending money on pet projects.

What I found both interesting and telling about the jobs speech was that, although the president clearly incorporated ideas from Republicans and highlighted those ideas in his remarks, Republicans repeatedly refused to even clap for their own ideas. John Boehner looked like he was glued to his chair as he sat almost stoic behind the President during the speech. Some Republican leaders didn’t even show up for the speech. I hope the Republicans are not more interested in keeping America jobless just to hurt the president’s political prospects. It is going to take both parties working together to get us out of this recession.

Now everyone, especially the pundits, will start examining and picking apart the president’s proposal. Conservatives will no doubt balk at the idea of those who are doing exceptionally well in this economy shouldering a bit more of the burden to help their nation. They are found of saying that about half of Americans pay no taxes and that a handful of the wealthiest Americans pay the vast majority of taxes already. What they forget to say is that the reason many Americans do not pay taxes is because they are not making enough money to be in even the lowest tax brackets. And many more have enough money to take advantage of all the deductions and loop holes in our bloated tax laws. What they also fail to point out is the simple fact that those same people who are actually paying the majority of the taxes are also the people who are making the majority of the money and control the majority of the wealth in this country.

It’s time to move beyond partisan bickering and take bold action together. Yes, even if it means liberals promoting conservative policy ideas and conservatives supporting some liberal ideas. If it means helping Obama’s approval numbers, well, so be it. The employment numbers are what we all, as patriotic Americans, should be worried about.

As you probably know by now, I hate extremists, religious or political. Part of what has gotten us into this fix has been a polarization of political ideology to the point that our two major political parties hate each other so much they refuse to compromise for fear of crucifixion by the extremists on their own sides. This simply has to stop –and stop right now. Let’s look seriously at the President’s plan and let’s not stop there, let’s look seriously at the Republican plan. Some things are actually in both plans –so let’s get those things out of debate and into action –now, right now! 

On a lighter note, here is a short clip of one of my all time favorite comedians, Johnathan Winters:

Live Long and Prosper....

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