The AP has put out a fact check of President Obama’s claim last night that everything in his jobs program is paid for:
resident Barack Obama's promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions.
It will only be paid for if a committee he can't control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law and if leaders in the future - the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals - don't roll it back.
Apparently the Constitution has changed since President Obama took office. I thought that every program laid out by every President since the start of our country was dependent upon a Congress that the President doesn’t control? As matter of fact the Constitution says that and has since day one. Congress is a separate and independent branch of Government. Of course there are times when the President’s party controls both chambers, but that still doesn’t mean the President controls the Congress. That was obvious in 2009-2010, when Republicans launched a record number of filibusters against the democratically controlled Senate.
But even if it isn’t paid for, so what? The trillions of dollars the Bush tax cuts have cost us wasn’t paid for either, yet Republicans still passed them and keep them alive. Where was all the complaining that these had to be paid for? Hell – they are one of the biggest contributors to the national debt.
And how about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? These two anchors have cost us well over a trillion dollars and yet they weren’t paid for. That’s something that really needs to be thought about. During every other war in our nation’s history, those fighting still had to give to help the war. They gave in the form of taxes. Afghanistan and Iraq are the first wars we have engaged in while taxes were being cut. That’s a big part of the reason for our debt problems.
Or how about the Medicare drug program authored by Bush and Delay and passed by Republicans? Again, this program was not paid for and increased the cost of coverage for people enrolled in the program by almost 20%. Again – not paid for.
Let’s look at those three items I just mentioned. None of them have done anything to add to the economy. A couple of weeks ago I addressed how tax cuts hurt more than help a recession and unemployment. Ronald Reagan even saw that in the early 80s and raised taxes, but the right wants to rewrite history and act like that never happened. I won’t go back into it though. If you want to read what I said about it, you can do so here.
Now onto the wars. Historically war was good for the economy, but historically we didn’t have a global economy and local industry was relied upon to manufacture the tools of war. During World War 2, many women saw themselves into the work force for the first time to help make these goods. This country needed workers to build tanks, planes and bullets for our soldiers. Not any more. These items get built overseas and do nothing to stimulate the overall economy here at home.
Then the Medicare drug program. This program was poorly designed from day one and serves only as a give away to big pharma. Our government can’t even negotiate for lower prices for these drugs, which are made overseas. The Democrats have tried to push negotiations through for years as a way to lower costs, but Republicans have constantly blocked any such changes. One of the leaders of that is Eric Cantor, the big man on campus beating his chest over things having to be paid for. Cantor refuses to allow negotiations to take place. Perhaps that’s in part because of how much money big pharma donates to his campaign?
So we have items up there that account for about 1/3 of the national debt. They were all pushed by Republicans and were not paid for. On top of that, they also have done nothing for the economy as a whole.
But what about Obama’s jobs plan, which would cost less than 10% of these three Republican items? Well in business they always say you got to spend money to make money and the GOP loves saying how government should be run like business, so why not now?
Consider the fact that unemployed Americans are a burden on society overall. It’s not just the cost of paying them unemployment, but also the fact that they don’t have money to spend on items like entertainment, televisions, clothing or any other item that puts money right back into the economy. Also they aren’t paying the tax rates they used to, so that’s another hit on the economy.
Spending money to get American’s back to work is a great way to boost the overall economy. Consumer confidence has been way down and that is in a large part due to our high unemployment. Get that number down and confidence will go up. If confidence goes up, people will start investing in America again. It’s really simple economics, but the Republicans are set against it because a healing economy means a harder target to beat next November – the President. It’s time to put partisan games aside and for our Congress to do the job they were hired for – governing. They should work on Obama’s plan and if there are ways to improve on it, do so. That’s exactly what the Republicans in the 90’s did with Bill Clinton and we ended up with one of the best economic periods in the history of our country. Why can’t they do this once again?