President Obama is getting pretty good at playing dirty pool with the Republicans. The American Jobs bill not only uses the art of Frank LuntzSpeak, it actually is designed to create jobs. Two million of them according to the Congressional Budget Office score. It also would reduce the deficit by $6 billion over the next ten years and increased the GDP by two points (I don’t know what magic formulas the CBO uses but supposedly they are accurate and non-partisan). It was also estimated to reduce unemployment by a full percentage point; not nearly enough but a step in the right direction. Most importantly, the bill would have been paid for by a surtax of 5.6% on people’s incomes over one million dollars. Polls show that over 70% of Americans (including some millionaires) think that’s fair.
So with the #OWS protests demanding equity and job opportunities going on it would seem like a legislative no-brainer. But to no one’s surprise the Senate Republicans voted en masse not to even let it come to the floor for debate. This was a double-dog-dare move on the administration’s part because now the Republicans are on record voting against a bill that would be in the best interests of almost all Americans. Why would they do that?
Many critics say this is just a second stimulus and argue that the first stimulus was a failure. Most economists with any degree of credibility disagree and say that the first stimulus kept the country from sliding into a full bore depression. Most also agree that the first stimulus wasn’t big enough but the administration was reluctant to start bandying about numbers with the word ‘trillion’ behind them. It’s fine for republicans to call it a second stimulus since stimulating the economy is what would happen when more people went back to work and discretionary spending would flow into the market.
So why would Republicans object to a bill that 63% of Americans think is a good idea? Why do they think a ‘second stimulus’ is bad? It can’t be because it adds to the deficit. It can’t be because it wouldn’t improve the economy. It can’t be because it wouldn’t create new jobs (and simultaneously decrease unemployment claims).
That leaves only two possibilities:
- An objection to taxing millionaires
- Another example of hurting the country unless, no, until we vote Obama out of office
The President wins this either way. Had the bill actually passed the Senate he looks like a leader and we would be moving forward to recovery. Now that it has failed to pass, the hypocrisy of the Republicans is on record. He looks like our champion and they look like chumps. This will not bode well for Republicans in the 2012 elections.
- Bob Cesca: Senate Republicans Successfully Filibuster American Jobs (huffingtonpost.com)
- CBO: Millionaire’s Surtax Would Pay for American Jobs Act (news.firedoglake.com)
- CBO: Senate version of American Jobs Act reduces deficit by $6 billion in next decade (dailykos.com)