No. 2 in a series of quick-takes on the Debt Crisis of 2011.
Today’s question: Whatever happened to the first and foremost issue of the 2010 election, JOBS?
Remember when every politician was chanting in unison: “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” That’s what they said, because that’s what the voters cared about. Jobs. But “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” was more a prayer than a promise.
All politics is local, remember, but the job market is now global. It is not within the power of locally elected politicians to create jobs in a global job market.
It is, however, within the power of politicians to kill jobs. Soon as the class of 2010 took residence in the governor’s mansions and state legislatures, they set about writing austerity budgets focused on two goals: Reduce spending and cut taxes. The way to reduce spending is to eliminate as many state programs and state jobs as possible. Wisconsin got the lion’s share of publicity for austerity, but nearly every state has joined the movement.
Now the focus has turned to Washington, where they’re busy cutting jobs on a larger scale. The debate is not over whether to cut the federal budget, but how deeply to cut. And where to cut.
The Republican Party is determined to cut the budget by gutting the hated “Entitlement Programs.” They use the words, “Entitlement Programs” because they fear to say, “Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.” The main budget target this year is Medicare for the elderly. Republicans hope, as soon as possible, to move on to cutting Medicaid and the most popular “Entitlement,” Social Security.
Keep your eye on the goal. Forget about Jobs, jobs, jobs! The attention span is short. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! is over. That was last year’s goal.
The goal for 2011 is reducing the national debt. So they say. Spending cuts are the means to that end.
But the real goal is to reduce taxes for wealthy individuals and for corporations. Republicans plan to hand over to the wealthy and corporations, all the money saved by spending cuts. In a few years, presumably, Congress would begin to use some of the savings to actually reduce the debt. Possibly.
When pressed, Republicans say that the way to create Jobs, jobs, jobs! is by gifting large amounts of money to the wealthy and corporations, who would invest the money. Eventually, it might trickle down to the masses in the form of jobs.
Remember that wealthy people invest their money in corporations. As in, “International Corporation” Or “Global Corporation.” So, even if you believe in trickle down, exactly where in the world do you suppose new jobs would be created?
In my opinion, any jobs resulting from U.S. spending and tax cuts would go to some developing country offering cheap labor, far from the U.S.
America with no jobs and no Medicare will be a sad and dreary place.
The first post in this series on the American Debt Crisis is here. The next installment will be “Starve The Beast.”
– John Hayden
(Does a 525-word post qualify as a short-take?)