American workers have been kicked around by industry for about 30 solid years now. Unions have been crushed, jobs sent to India and China despite the fact that American workers are more educated, have moved to find jobs as often as possible. In the meantime, health insurance companies have left 47 million mostly middle and lower-income American workers without health care, keeping many other workers from improving their positions for fear of losing their health care.
Today there are something like 14 million people out of work and another 14 million who are looking for full time work. That is easily about 20% of the 154 million people employed in the U.S. right now. That’s more people than the number who were unemployed during most of the Great Depression. Furthermore, life has changed since 1930 and the expectations of Americans have changed. No one anticipated that industry and Wall Street would be so foolish, reckless and greedy.
The Republicans came into power after the 2010 elections under the guise of committing to job growth. But it has been over six months and not one piece of legislation has been put forward concerning jobs. In fact, the opposite has happened. The Republicans have taken on the mantle of protectors of the rich. They have worked hard to cut government, end regulations, cut staffs, withhold appointments and continue to fund wars.
Most blatant was the manipulation of unemployment benefits to force the President to allow the renewal of the $800 billion in tax cuts for the rich for two years. By the time we have paid the interest on that money, we will have added another trillion dollars to our national debt.
Almost inexplicably, Republicans who now want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid…for which this tax cut for the rich would have paid. Where is the patriotism? They gave money to a handful of billionaires and a larger group of millionaires who do not need it and they did so by taking it from people who really do need it.
So, let’s examine what the Tea Party Republicans did. They borrowed money from China and gave it to millionaires. They blackmailed a President into signing legislation that would only continue unemployment if millionaires and billionaires got an $800 billion tax cut over two years. In almost the next breath, they called for cuts in government spending…including cuts to the poorest among us…in Medicaid and Social Security.
This is like living in a Charles Dickens novel. We pamper the rich and literally oppress the poor. If any money should have been borrowed from China at all, it should have been done to create jobs to stimulate and jump-start the economy. We need more jobs. This is not a complicated issue. And the tissue of Tea Party lies will not conceal their real motives.
Let’s remember why jobs are important. Let’s be basic so that the morons who vote for Republicans will understand. People need jobs to make money to buy the things they need to live. Most fifth graders understand this.
Jobs are important because one dollar in the pockets of the average citizen who is employed will be spent. And that spending will create at least one other job, and probably one and one-half jobs. Our economy now is less than 10% manufacturing. The rest is about 10% government and about 80% service.
A big part of the service is financial, which really contributes to the incomes of no more than about 200,000 people, fewer than those in the top 1%. The financial community…Wall Street….unless it is funding U.S. industries with U.S. jobs, is bascially a trading room for wealthy people. It is a legal casino, and the unfortunate part is that pension funds and large amounts of money from insurance and mutual funds change hands as if in a casino….making the economy unstable.
But the largest part of our service economy is small businesses, about 70% of newly created jobs…not great jobs…but jobs. If you visit the business district of your local neighborhood, your village, town or city and look around you will see small business in operation. The gas station, the restaurant, bar, cleaners, florist, dentist, dress shop, drug store, plumber, roofer, carpenter and lawn care company….all part of the service economy.
When chains like Bombay, Zales, Borders, or Blockbusters close, we may not notice a change personally, but across the country tens of thousands of jobs are lost. Many firms close 50 or a hundred units around the country in a recession, even though they may continue as a chain and perhaps eventually grow again. The reason they close is that they work on a net profit of less than ten percent. If business was bad before a recession, because people are buying fewer books or renting fewer videos, then when the recession takes another 10 to 15% of their customers away for six, nine, twelve months….some or all of their stores may close.
So, if we employed 5 million people, another 5 million would be employed by the service sector. That is about two thirds of our unemployment problem. It would bring unemployment down to 5% or under, which would be right where we need to be. But we cannot do that with the current makeup of the Republican Congress. The House is made of a radical Right Wing majority. The Senate has a radical minority that filibusters all progressive legislation.
To demonstrate how bad it has become, in the 108th Congress there were 49 filibusters. Remember, the 108th Congress was composed of a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate. But there were only 49 filibusters during one of the most spendthrift, out-of-control Presidential administrations in our history.
In the 109th Congress there were 54 filibusters. This also was a Republican Senate and a Republican House, in 2005 and 2006. Only 54 filibusters during a time when Republican spending was as reckless and deregulation was as foolish as any time in our history. Yet Democrats were restrained. They allowed the Republicans the ability to do what they thought was the right thing in governing the country.
Little did we know that it had nothing to do with being Conservative. They had already secretly lined up with very powerful economic interests in the oil industry, manufacturing, drugs and health insurance industry—to try to take over this country on behalf of a few hundred thousand individuals at the very top.
Under Karl Rove, the Federalist Society had put in their own Justice department attorneys. They nominated Right-Wing-Approved judges in huge numbers from the Right Wing training schools. The dean of Pat Robertson’s hyper-Christian (every class leads off with a prayer) Regent University sent about 150 graduates to the Bush Administration. Many of those were attorneys, not bad for a fourth-tier law school, only accredited a little more than 3 years before Bush took office and ranked 136th or 137th among U.S. law schools.
So we know that in the Bush Administrations there were very few filibusters by Democrats. But look what happened as soon as a Democratic President took over.
In the 110th Congress, there were over 200 filibusters and in the 111th Congress, there have already been over 139.
The clear point of all this is that the Senate wants to prevent President Obama, as it has publicly said, from becoming a two-term President. So they have attempted…not just with filibusters but other techniques to slow down or stop government from functioning.
Over 200 appointees of the Obama Administration have been held up by Congress. This has been done for only one reason…to inhibit the operation of the Obama Democratic administration. It has become a battle on the part of the Republican Party to defeat the Democrats in 2012. It is all about winning elections. Why?
Think about what the Republicans in the House and what the former Bush Administration did when they were in power and what the new Republican-led House of Representatives have done. The Republican Congress of the Bush Administration deregulated the SEC, basically gutted the regulatory staff…resulting in the Stock Market crash of 2008. They created a disaster and then complain about it as if they weren’t there.
Now the new Republican House of 2011 is investigating…Roger Clemens, the former baseball pitcher? But they are also being more serious…about helping the financial industry and hurting consumers.
They are trying to prevent the implementation of strong regulations on credit card companies and banks. Then they want to prevent remedies against oil companies for polluting the Gulf of Mexico, Yellowstone Park and Alaska. They want to ignore or justify the fertilizer companies responsibility for creating the greatest “dead zone” ever seen in the ocean, also in the Gulf from the run-off of the Mississippi River.
And as the ultimate act of idiocy, the Tea Party members seem bent upon working their billionaire masters’ final will by closing down government, walking away from our bills, or seeming to and sending us into default and a second Great Depression.
This is what the billionaires want, what the oligarchy wants. They don’t need government. Their families don’t need government, so they don’t want to pay for government. It is the ultimate isolation from society. A society on the brink of homelessness and starvation will work for slave wages. That is what they want. It makes it easy for them. They don’t have to make another million or billion…they simply reduce the price of everything they pay for…including your labor.