Opinion: GOP More Concerned with Winning than Fixing Economy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:16 PM

Remember that time Democrats stood in the way of the Republican plan for creating jobs for the American people? When a Democratic minority slowed the already sluggish pace of Washington, killed every proposal that bore a different party affiliation and offered none of their own?

Neither do I.

I do remember when John Boehner took the gavel as Speaker of the House of Representatives, promising to get Americans back to work, and immediately focused on Planned Parenthood and PBS funding. I do remember when the House dedicated its time to pushing the federal government to the bring of a shutdown, the edge of default and a standstill over disaster relief.

But I don't remember Boehner's jobs plan.

I also remember when the Senate Republicans - with a couple of Democrats - formed a minority strong enough to stop the Senate from further discussion of the American Jobs Act, the only plan actually being discussed right now.

But I don't seem to remember Mitch McConnell's alternative.

The fact is, after months of talk, the GOP has offered no ideas. They've put forward no bills. They've offered no steps to create jobs.

They've spent time on the budget, debt, taxation - all of which are pieces of an economic discussion - but they have not prioritized putting Americans to work.

When President Obama kept promising a plan, I critically called for more actual plans and fewer coming attractions. The president has given us a real plan. It's not enough, but it's more than we've got now. And it's infinitely more than the GOP Senate and House have proposed.

So it's your turn, Republicans. Where's your plan? Maybe you're waiting to see who wins your primary and follow suit. Will Mitt Romney's 59-point economic vision boost domestic manufacturing? Will Rick Perry's emphasis on domestic energy exploration put Americans to work? Will Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan encourage businesses to hire?

But if your plan is to wait, it's not a plan the American people can afford. If Romney, Perry or Cain is right, propose their plan in Congress now. If you're waiting to find out who the GOP primary voter thinks is right, then you're telling unemployed Americans that they have to wait longer -- as benefits run out, services are slashed, and no new jobs are there for the taking.

There are four Americans looking for every one job available. Despite Cain's claim that it's your fault if you're not rich, the fact is that there aren't jobs.

President Obama has a plan to create some. Maybe you believe it's too expensive. Maybe you believe it's too limited. Maybe you believe we shouldn't add to the deficit. Maybe you believe we shouldn't balance the budget with fair taxation on the wealthiest. But, whatever your reservations, you can't deny that his plan would put Americans to work.

And your lack of plans will not.

So, GOP, what's your priority? Winning an election or getting America going again? Balancing the budget (we won't debate here how it gets balanced) or increasing employment? Because you might not be able to do all of it at once. And for most Americans, the priority is clear: Let's get back to work.

Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."


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Comments [7]


"...a series of manufactured crises that have threatened government shutdown and, in a real precedent-setter, pushed us to the brink of default".

Manufactured by whom?
After nearly quadrupling the deficit after four years of Democrat control of Congress, Pelosi, Reid and Obama last year could have swiftly raised the debt ceiling, raised taxes and pass a budget giving the nation some idea how they plan to pay for the spending they authorized.
Instead the manufactured debt ceiling crisis was deliberately and cynically dropped in the lap of the newly elected Republicans daring them to break their campaign promise of bringing sanity back to the US economy. The Democrat leadership did this for pure political reasons and then have the nerve to accuse others of putting politics over the national interest.
The fact that the US Senate is approaching 1000 days without a budget and rejected Obama's budget by a 97-0 vote proves the Democrat leadership is not serious about healing the economy.

The Republicans passed a budget and passed "cut, cap and balance" which was a serious attempt to heal the economy and Rep. Ryan's Medicare reform plan which sought to save Medicare from certain bankruptcy. Instead of working for long term and serious solutions, the Democrat leadership answered with the usual slander, derision and defamation that the prescient Tea Party movement has been subjected to for three years. If the warnings of the Tea Party were heeded in the spirit of compromise in 2009, would we be looking at 15 trillion in debt today and what that means for the USA and the free world?
Those recalcitrant conservative Congressmen and women know it is a Churchillian choice between "broad sunlit uplands" or "a new dark age" in the 21st Century. Anyone who knows how to use a calculator and calendar and refuses to lie to themselves realizes that is no overstatement.

Dec. 22 2011 12:57 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

@chris from TN...

Ron Paul?? A return to the Gold Standard? Really?

Sean Hannity - in a rare moment of truth-telling - revealed the GOP Strategy on-air. After 4 years in the crapper, the average voter will 'blame' Obama for the problem. Why should Boehner do anything to help him? I kid you not. He actually said it on the air.

Oct. 15 2011 11:53 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

The usual 'engine' that pulls an economy out of recession is growth in the housing and homebuilding sectors. Strength here demonstrates a return to confidence in future earnings/income. And housing activity generates LOTS of jobs downstream. However, since the banks are keeping credit too tight to bring back home buying we are going to sit in a stew of our own making. Why make money the traditional way when you can borrow money from the Fed for free and lend it to the government for 4 per cent?
Support the President's jobs bill. It will build aggregate demand. Let's at least fix our infrastructure and power grid! It beats building a pyramid.

Oct. 15 2011 11:35 AM
Dennis Condon from Brooklyn

Thank You ! Took the words right out of my mouth. I don't care what party your in. We are all American. You don't like Obama, I don't care, what do you have to offer to help the future of this country. Republicans constantly say Democrats always blame Bush and in same breathe make it sound as though Obama created this mess. Get your ideas out now Obama has reached across the aisle many times and got nothing and I think we all know its because they have no ideas except for the same old ones that created this mess. The blame game on both sides is over its time to ge things going. Ideas now! elections later.

Oct. 13 2011 12:51 PM
Justin Krebs from NYC

Chris from TN -

I'm not a Ron Paul fan, but I do think he gets unfair media treatment. When Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, she dominated the chatter for weeks...Paul was in close 2nd. When he won the Values Voters summit, the headlines were "Well, of course he did." I think his message is genuinely threatening and challenging in a way folks ignore.

That said, I don't actually think he'd be the candidate with the best chance of winning.

Oct. 13 2011 09:42 AM

Dear Mr. Krebs;

Amid all the political babble and the din of the 24/7 news cycle, it's easy to miss the job story told by a simple chart.

Here is the chart:

Look, in particular, at the curves for this recession and the three that preceded it.

There are forces in motion which are affecting these curves. They can be traced back, job-wise, to at least 1981 -- if not further. They have produced increasingly long periods for job availability to return to 'normal'. The change in this period is increasing geometrically. [You might try to envision the next recession's curve.] I suggest that these forces include increasing automation of production and the 'globalization' of businesses. There are, of course, others.

The magnitude of the problem facing our legislators is daunting. It's no wonder that they avoid the issue of jobs. The actual 'fix' required to bring this present job curve back to 'normal' and reverse the trend shown on the chart, if such corrective action actually exists*, might well require societal upheavals which would not be politically acceptable to either the law-makers or their parties.

I must admit of a certain bafflement -- this job market trend is real. It can easily be seen by anyone who takes the time to look. Yet, it is being addressed by neither the media [writ large] or the politicians.

I can understand the reticence of the politicians.

* It is also possible that the job market of the past is exactly that. We may no longer be able as a society to employ sufficient people in the private sector to maintain our 'standard of living' as currently defined in the minds of the people. If we are unwilling to increase taxes, we will not be able to employ them, sustainable, in the public sector, either.

Oct. 13 2011 09:07 AM
Chris from TN

The GOP is clearly not conserned about winning. If they were, they would be pushing Ron Paul. As it stands, they are still acting as if he did not exist, but stealing his ideas at the same time.

If the actually wanted to win, they would trumpet Ron Paul as loud as they could. The side benfit would be that they would also empower a man who is one of the few people in the United States who actually understands economics.

Oct. 13 2011 02:30 AM

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