Sunday, April 17, 2011

So Government CAN Create Jobs?

Latest Newspaper Column:

Hey, remember when it was an article of faith for Republicans that government couldn’t create jobs?

Remember how back in those days, the speaker of the House, Bawlin’ John Boehner, said in the weekly Republican address to the nation, “Small businesses are the engine of job creation in America; they actually create jobs, the government doesn’t”?

Wow, I remember that like it was just last week. Well, actually, it was two weeks ago, but who’s counting?

Boehner was just following the party line set by former GOP Chairman Michael Steele, who stated unequivocally back during the heated debate over the stimulus bill that “not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job.”

Well, apparently, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham didn’t get that memo. Graham pitched a hissy fit last week over the fact that the recent budget deal that prevented a government shutdown left out a project dear to his heart: a $50,000 study on deepening the port of Charleston.

Now, 50K may not seem like a whole lot of money in a trillion-plus-dollar budget. But the lack of that money sent Graham so ballistic that he threatened to “tie the Senate in knots” and block every one of President Obama’s pending nominations if he didn’t get it back. Reports that he would hold his breath till he turned blue could not be confirmed at press time.

Of course, the actual deepening of the port and the channel would cost a heck of a lot more than 50,000 smackers; in fact, the estimate at this point is $350 million. The $50,000 would just be for the study on whether the port should be deepened to accommodate bigger cargo ships. In my ongoing campaign that I call “I’ll Do It For Half That,” I will answer that question “Yes,” but only if the government sends me $25,000. Cash or cashier’s check preferred.

When questioned as to why this little chunk of pork was worth tying the Senate in knots over, Graham apparently forgot the doctrine that government spending is useless for job creation. Federal spending on the port of Charleston, he asserted, would create jobs.

“If you’re a Republican and you want to create jobs, then you need to invest in infrastructure that will allow us to create jobs,” he said. “How can you create jobs by shutting a port down that 260,000 people depend on?”

It’s just another example of the cognitive dissonance that allowed 114 politicians, almost all of them Republicans, to bitterly oppose the stimulus package, vote against it, wail after it passed that it was the Death of the Republic — then not only to accept stimulus funds for projects in their districts, but to take credit for bringing those projects home and, in some cases, actually attend the ribbon-cutting for those projects.

Because remember, to a tea partier, it’s not “government spending” if money or services flow to them. To a politician, it’s only “pork” or “earmarks” if it goes to someone else’s district. And to all Republicans, it’s “job-killing” if it’s something President Obama wants; it’s “job-creating” if it’s something they want, and never mind the reality.

This may be why, according to a recent poll by the organization Public Policy Polling, “after a little more than three months in charge, House Republicans have fallen so far out of favor with the American public that it’s entirely possible Democrats could take back control of the House next year.”

According to the most recent PPP survey, “43 percent of voters think that House Republicans are doing a worse job now than the Democrats did, compared to only 36 percent who think the GOP has brought an improvement,” and that “46 percent of voters say that if there was an election for Congress today they would vote Democratic, compared to only 41 percent who would vote Republican.”

So, new bosses who look just the same as the old boss, let me ask you the question I heard ad nauseum during the first two years of the Obama Presidency: How’s that change thing workin’ for ya?

8 comments:

ThePaulR said...

They're like Faye Dunaway's character in Chinatown. "Gov't can't create jobs!" "Gov't can create jobs!" "My sister! My daughter! My sister! My daughter!"

I've given up expecting them to make any sense at all.

JD Rhoades said...

PaulR: They actually are remarkably consistent: if Obama's for it, they're against it. If a Republican does it, it's okay. That's how you explain any of their behaviors.

Fran said...

The "If a Republican does it, it's good" works right up until the time when they actually get called on it. I admit I had to laugh when the Democrats almost got the Repubs to pass a budget bill even THEY hated. It's tough to be put on the spot like that, I guess.

Best of luck on your "I can do it for half price" campaign!

Charlieopera said...

So, new bosses who look just the same as the old boss, let me ask you the question I heard ad nauseum during the first two years of the Obama Presidency: How’s that change thing workin’ for ya?

Personally? I lost both jobs since 2008, am unemployed and returning to school in June (and borrowing the funds to do so). My income will have decreased 80K; 7 days a week, 0 days a week.

You did ask ...

J. E. Medrick said...

Where do we sign up to vote you in for your Do It For Half campaign?

But seriously, I love reading your insights. Thanks!

YA: Cheat, Liar
Adult: Shackled

The Equalizer said...

JD,

If someone wrote a novel based on that RW drivel. NO one would believe the public would be that stupid to buy it....

Yet, I see those that do, everyday. And to think they are allowed to breed...

Charlieopera said...

If someone wrote a novel based on that RW drivel. NO one would believe the public would be that stupid to buy it....

It’s almost (not quite) as bad as the drivel Democrats bought about “change.” Time to look elsewhere, perhaps? There are other parties that would actually do more than talk about change (Nader, Socialists, Communists) ...

Yet, I see those that do, everyday. And to think they are allowed to breed...

Wow, that’s a little extreme. You do know that selective breeding is most often associated with the right, I hope.

John McFetridge said...

"If someone wrote a novel based on..."

Isn't this the plot of season two of The Wire? Dock workers losing their jobs need the port deepened so they get in bed with drug smugglers to get money to pay off crooked politicians?

I'd love to read a novel about this stuff.