By Jack Jodell, Sept. 5, 2011
Happy Labor Day, everybody! Conservative Republicans and their dastardly Tea Party allies are giddy. They smell an Obama defeat in 2012, and they are laughing uproariously at the thought that the White House will soon belong to them once more. But their laughing, just like their economic policy recommendations,, is a sign of their backwardness. For these groups hate President Obama with a passion, mainly and irrationally just because he is not one of THEM. As a former community organizer who also happens to be a person of color, they don’t have the time of day for him. They have proven time and again they will say or do anything to bring about his defeat, even WRECK THE AMERICAN ECONOMY!
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and his rabid bunch of tea partiers are heralding the already discredited notion of tax cuts as the only way to create jobs, and are, in the process, smugly laughing us back into 1937. For, in 1937, just like today, the country was mired in a horrible economic downturn called the Great Depression. Just like now, conservatives managed to convince then-Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt to cut back on government spending, which had reduced unemployment from its horrible high of 25 MILLION three years prior. His stimulative New Deal spending programs had helped bring nearly 8 million jobs to the unemployed through such fabulous programs as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration, The establishment of Social Security, unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, welfare, and the legalization of labor unions all provided sorely-needed relief to those our economy had all left behind. What’s more, they added to the creation of what eventually became a huge, prosperous middle class! These programs were financed mainly through INCREASED TAXES ON THE WEALTHY, and they did MUCH good for a great number of people. Of course, conservatives of that time, as heartless and uncaring then as they are today, spitefully and wrongfully declared these efforts would bankrupt the country. They ridiculed the recipients of WPA jobs, calling them slackers and snidely referring to the program as “We Poke Along.” I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT NONE OF MY 4 UNCLES WHO HELD WPA JOBS WERE “SLACKERS”, AND THAT THEIR JOBS DEFINITELY HELPED THEM PUT BREAD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES! So, while unemployment still remained high, millions DID obtain jobs and direct, immediate relief as a result of these programs, Further, the effects of these GOVERNMENT-CREATED JOBS can be seen to this very day. Workers employed by them created parks, office buildings, and schools, and numerous roads, dams, and bridges were built as well. (Government jobs would again provide massive employment and create an entirely new infrastructure for the country 20 years later with the Interstate Highway Program under the direct support of then-REPUBLICAN President Dwight Eisenhower)!
By 1937, the positive effects of New Deal programs were beginning to have a definite impact on lessening the devastating effects of the Depression. Again, unemployment was still high, but it was measurably better than it had been, and there were signs of recovery in the air. Federal consumption and investment had risen from 9% to 16% of GDP from 1929 to 1937. But then, listening to advice from conservatives who were worried about inflation, FDR slashed federal spending in an effort to balance the budget, and the immediate effect was DEVASTATING. WPA rolls were immensely cut back, and public works projects slowed to a crawl. As a result of following this conservative approach in the midst of economic crisis, unemployment ROSE from 14.3% in 1937 to nearly 19% in 1938, rising from 5 million to 12 million in that brief time. THE CONSERVATIVE APPROACH OF REDUCING DEBT AND BALANCING THE BUDGET IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ECONOMIC CRISIS WAS THE WRONG APPROACH IN 1037, AND IT IS WRONG AGAIN TODAY!
Let me explain this to you in an easy-to-understand way. If we compare our current economic downturn to a FIRE IN YOUR HOUSE SET BY IRRESPONSIBLE REPUBLICAN-LED EASING OF REGULATIONS ON WALL STREET AND BANKING, and Obama’s stimulus efforts as WATER which is supposed to put out that fire, you may be entirely justified in noticing and complaining that your house is still on fire, even after the President had poured some water on it, so therefore the President’s efforts were a failure. The question isn’t whether he should have poured water on your house, though; the question is whether he had poured ENOUGH water on it, and he certainly hasn’t. Keep in mind, however, to get ANY Republican support for his stimulus bill, he had to sweeten it for them by setting aside a large part of it for tax cuts for Republican business allies (which accomplished little) and most of the rest went to propping up the very “too big to fail” Wall Street banks who got us into this mess to start with! MAIN STREET, “SHOVEL-READY” PROJECTS GOT VERY LITTLE STIMULUS MONEY AT ALL, SO THEY REMAIN DEPRESSED AND UNSTIMULATED, AND UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS STUCK AT 9.1%.
So the correct answer on how to reduce unemployment is to LAUNCH A NEW SERIES OF STIMULUS EFFORTS, TARGETING THEM THIS TIME AT MAIN STREET INSTEAD OF WALL STREET! The conservative Republicans and tea party fools are sadly mistaken to say that Obama’s initial stimulus program was a “failure”: it most certainly WASN’T! It kept the rest of the economy from collapsiong; saved hundreds of thousands of police, fire, and teacher jobs; and most importantly, IT RESCUSED GENERAL MOTORS AND CHRYSLER! They are also wrong to hink that more tax cuts for corporations or the wealthy will create jobs. They never have, and THEY NEVER WILL! For these conservatives to not support a new round of WORK-SPECIFIC projects would be just like them shutting off the water main completely while the President is trying to hose down the flames which are destroying your house!
Keep in mind, folks, that for Speaker of the House John Boehner R-OH) to ask defiantly “Where are the jobs?”, he should be looking at himself squarely in a mirror as he mouths the words. For he and the ENTIRE Republican caucus have YET to sponsor or pass even ONE ESINGLE jobs-producing/ jobs- program bill this year, AND THEY HAVE HAD SINCE JANUARY 5 TO DO SO! Instead, both he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as Eric Cantor, have dragged their heels and allowed the crazed Tea Party faction of their miserable GOP to take it over completely and drag all efforts to improve jobs and the economy to a dead standstill.
THESE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS AND EXTREMIST TEA-PARTY MORONS MUST BE PUNISHED FOR THIS! YOU CAN DO SO BY THROWING EVERY ONE OF THEM OUT OF OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 6, 2012, AND REPLACING THEM WITH PROGRESSIVE-MINDED CANDIDATES WHO ACTUALLY WANT TO IMPROVE THIS ECONOMY!
President Obama is to address both houses of Congress on the subject of jobs this Thursday night. I sincerely hope he will propose bold new programs to create shovel-ready jobs NOW for millions of Americans! Repairing our bridges and schools, and modernizing our freeways and updating our power grids would create many millions pf jobs. Charging utility companies a fee for accessing those new grids could help pay for part of the cost. He MUST do this, and THE MISERABLE TEA-PARTY EXTREMISTS AND CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS MUST SUPPORT HIM! WE CANNOT HAVE ANOTHER 1937!
One more thing before I go: MR. BOEHNER, WHERE THE HELL ARE THE JOBS YOU PROMISED? You had damn well start getting to work on producing them, and STOP PLAYING ANTI-OBAMA POLITICS WITH EVERYTHING!!!