Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bernanke Reveals GOP Scheme To Kill Job Growth Is Working

Republican legislators like taunting Democrats over not creating jobs. "Where's your jobs bill?" they cackle.

The answer, of course, is that all the Democrats' jobs bills went wherever bills go after intransigent Republican ideologues destroy them.

For their part, Republicans figure their incessant demands for more and greater tax cuts, tax breaks and tax subsidies for the ultra-rich paid for with spending cuts on everything else count as jobs bills. They also count as environmental bills, education bills, infrastructure bills, health care bills, and just about any other kind of bill you can think of. Not defense bills. Defense bills consist of shovelling dumptruckfuls of cash at defense contractors for any or no reason at all. Or immigration bills. Republicans are still working their way toward a Final Solution on immigration.

Granted, pushing incessant demands for more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies for the ultra-rich is the Republican pols' job, so technically, one could argue that those are jobs bills. In fact, many Republican bills create lots of jobs in China and India. It's just that nothing Republicans do has anything to do with creating jobs in America.

Ben Bernanke, the harried Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank, Wednesday admitted that the previous, less-than-rosy outlook on annual U.S. economic growth had in fact been too rosy. Instead of growing 3.1%-3.3%, the Fed now figures the economy will grow 2.7%-2.9%. Unemployment, instead of dropping to 8.4%-8.7%, now looks like it'll drop to 8.6%-8.9%.

Unemployment is presently hovering around 9.1%

"We don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting," Bernanke said with a completely straight face, and reiterated earlier findings by the Federal Open Market Committee that, "the economic recovery is continuing at a moderate pace," but "somewhat more slowly" than anticipated.

Of course, if the only economic measures half of Congress would countenance consists of demanding ever larger and more extravagant tax cuts for the ultra-rich, economic growth might be a bit problematic.

Tuesday, Republicans killed Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) bill to fund the Economic Development Administration by loading it down with so many spurious and pork barrel amendments that it had no chance of passing. The EDA was established in 1965 to create and retain jobs and stimulate economic growth in economically distressed areas, which today should include just about the whole country except for a strip along midtown Manhattan where Donald Trump and David Koch live.

Naturally, since the EDA creates jobs and stimulates economic growth, Republicans want to kill it, and hand all its funding to the ultra-rich in the form of more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies. New carpets and drapes for Donald Trump and David Koch in that little strip of midtown Manhattan.

Toward this end, Republicans, and some non-goal-oriented Democrats, tacked on more than 100 nongermaine amendments to Boxer's bill, including self-serving ramblings about estate taxes, right-to-work laws, and light bulbs.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) couldn't find a way through all the chaff, and said Republicans didn't care about job creation.

The Senate ended up voting down the measure 49-51.

Republicans have been taking advantage of a new deal unwisely agreed upon earlier this year that allowed unlimited amendments to any legislation. Democrats made the mistaken assumption that Republicans weren't really evil America-hating secessionists who dreamed of destroying the United States and plundering its carcass on behalf of multi-billionaire trans-national plutocrats, despite thirty years of evidence to the contrary.

Republicans used the same tactic to block funding of the Small Business Administration, another agency that creates jobs and stimulates economic growth.

Leaving Ben Bernanke wondering why slow economic growth was so persistent.

Bernanke Wednesday also warned that cutting too much federal spending too quickly would imperil America's meager economic recovery.

"In light of the weakness of the recovery, it would be best not to have sudden and sharp fiscal consolidation in the short term," Bernanke said. "I don't think that sharp, immediate cuts in the deficit would create more jobs," he went on, showing he knows more about economic growth than many give him credit for. He might not have a Nobel Prize in Economics, but Princeton's Paul Krugman, who does, would agree.

"...Republicans are demanding immediate spending cuts as the price of raising the debt limit," Krugman wrote in a recent op-ed piece for The New York Times, a newspaper widely circulated around midtown Manhattan. "If this blackmail succeeds, it will put a further drag on an already weak economy."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who doesn't have a Nobel Prize in Economics, and probably has someone balance his checkbook for him, was one of those blackmailers. "It is my preference that we do this thing one time," Cantor said of raising the debt ceiling while insisting on trillions in spending cuts to fund more tax breaks for the ultra-rich.

The federal government has exceeded its $14.3 trillion debt limit, and needs a normally pro-forma Congressional approval to raise the cap if it wants to continue funding operations, sending out Social Security and Medicare checks, and making payments on existing obligations.

"Putting off tough decisions is not what people want," Cantor said. "Tough decisions" is GOP code for destroying America. Apparently, Cantor would like to destroy the whole country all at once and write the Koch brothers one check, instead of defunding the EDA and the SBA and all the other agencies one at a time and handing the Koch brothers separate tax payouts for each one.

U.S. corporations are presently sitting on a $1.9 trillion horde of cash, and showing no signs of hiring anybody not named Deepak anytime soon. Lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks and subsidies simply isn't going to create jobs in America now, just as lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks and subsidies has never done anything for ordinary Americans at any time over the past thirty years. The only thing lavishing corporations and the ultra-rich with more and larger tax cuts, breaks, and subsidies has done is to concentrate 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of its most fortunate citizens.

Of course, all those taxpayer funded windfalls to the rich have allowed the ultra-wealthy to fund lobbies and PACs so pliant politicos can enjoy lots of junkets, parties, rides on mega-yachts and private jets, and lots and lots of visits with professionally compensated sexual service providers.

That keeps lawmakers focused on their job of demanding more and greater tax cuts, breaks and subsidies to their wealthy patrons, and sticking ordinary Americans with the bill in the form of reduced and eliminated services, crumbling infrastructure, environmental catastrophe, and unregulated corporate juggernauts running roughshod over them.

Now, that's a jobs bill.

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