By Tera Ertz
The words job and jobs have been cropping up a great deal in our political discourse, on the news, and even in the grocery stores and around the kitchen tables across the land. The same question, at least here in the land of reality, seems to be popping up all over. Where are the jobs that should have accompanied the so called economic recovery? For the first time in decades the August job report showed a net zero job creation.
We were told last summer that it was the Summer of Recovery and that the country was back on the path to economic prosperity, and yet the number of people in poverty is at a 50 year high and there are millions more Americans now relying on food stamps to make ends meet, and millions more Americans among the long term unemployed. Since his inauguration, President Obama has said he would bring jobs back to the American people. He promised that his stimulus bill would create millions of jobs, then save or create millions of jobs, they maybe, possibly, it saved more than a million jobs. He promised that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8% by providing jobs for Americans that the private sector and the evil Wall Street fat cat bankers were unwilling to provide. In the State of the Union of 2010, President Obama promised to “focus like a laser” on jobs. In multiple speeches, and the State of the Union of 2011, President Obama once again promised a laser-like focus on jobs in America, if we would only give him more time, more money, universal health care, a debt increase, and another half a trillion or so in the budget.
And yet, in August of 2011, we have seen job growth that was anemic at best, and not nearly enough to keep up with the expansion in the labor force, come to a grinding halt. And now, over the past two weeks, we have once again been bombarded with the message that American jobs are on the President’s mind, and he has proposed the American Jobs Act of 2011. Now, aside from the fact that the name’s already taken, in looking at the proposal it sounds a great deal like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or as it is affectionately known, Porkulus. We all know that Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Since it is unkind, and often unwise, to assume that your opponent is, oh, I don’t know, crazy, I decided instead that we might take a look to see if there wasn’t some linguistic difficulty that the President was missing. Perhaps jobs doesn’t mean quite the same thing to our fellow citizens as it does to the great man in the big house in DC. Dictionary.com, as always had some insight into the matter.
2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position
That sounds about right when the discussion is focused on unemployment numbers that haven’t dropped below 9% in two years. When we sit around the dinner table, or go pick up the Sunday paper to look through the classifieds, we are looking for a post of employment. That is generally the only method of leaving the ranks of the unemployed, finding someone who’s willing to pay you for your time spent doing something they need done. So, how does the President’s bill accomplish this goal? Apparently, with a payroll tax holiday. Because, you see making it so people temporarily don’t have to pay payroll taxes will mean that America’s working families will have more money in their pockets to spend… Hmm. That would seem to indicate that the folks who will get this temporary tax break of $1500 per year on average (according to the bill posted at whitehouse.gov) would benefit the poor working stiff who already have a job and are currently paying for the poor schlubs who don’t. And we’ve already determined that it’s not the poor working stiffs who are paying folks to work for them, and $1500 in their pocket annually (and temporarily I might add) isn’t exactly going to be a wage anyone would find worth giving up their food stamps and unemployment bennies for.
And what is a payroll tax anyhow? Don’t all taxes come out of our payroll? Oh, those are the taxes we pay that are supposed to go specifically to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But, wait a minute, aren’t those the programs everyone keeps saying we’re already not collecting enough taxes for the keep them solvent? But I digress. The President says this jobs bill won’t cost anyone one dime, er I mean raise the deficit one dime.
This bill will also put construction workers back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges (did I just time warp?) and keep our teachers, and firemen and police on the streets where they belong. It will lower the sea levels and heal the planet, if only we would please stop… oops, wrong speech. It would jumpstart this economy that he inherited from President Bush and the evil Wall Street bankers if only the Republicans would stop playing politics, stop worrying about their jobs and start worrying about yours and pass this bill right now. Oh, and by the way, he’ll tell us Monday how it will be paid for. This 199 page bill is sounding more like a snow job than a jobs bill, which brings me to what else I found at the trusty dictionary site.
18. to swindle or trick (someone)
19. to carry on (public or official business) for improper private gain.
The first jobs bill gave us Solyndra, where a company got a lot of tax payer money and their investors get paid back now that they’ve gone bankrupt. There appears to be some conflict of interest in the fact that at least one of the primary investors in this company was a major Obama contributor. There are at least five other companies in the green sector that have has similar results. There was a disparate amount of money from ARRA and the omnibus bill of 2009 that went to companies and states that contributed heavily to President Obama and continue to do so. The new jobs bill contains at least one section specifying wage rate requirements, which in DC speak means the union’s paychecks are secure. There is a section entitled “Teacher Stabilizations Act” which will ensure the continued security of the NEA. Two more of President Obama’s key donor groups secured with tax payer funding in the midst of a campaign for re-election. And this is from just a cursory examination on the bill. I think the President was honest about one thing at least, this isn’t going to increase the deficit one dime, it’s going to increase by several trillion dimes. I’m beginning to think the President knows precisely what he means when he talks about focusing like a laser on jobs. Perhaps it’s time the rest of us Learn the Lingo and be wary the wielders of words.