So today (February 16) the current governor of the state in which I reside (there is no ef'fing way I'm going to lay any claim of ownership to this person and call him my governor) decided that he would follow in the footsteps of his fellow first term Republican governors of Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Jersey and reject federal rail funds for Florida (via CNN):
Washington (CNN) - Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $432 million in highly-touted funding from the Obama administration for an Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail Wednesday. Slamming government for becoming "addicted to spending," Scott listed three reasons why accepting the federal funds would amount to a "recipe for disaster."
In a statement, Scott said "I was elected to get Floridians back to work and to change the way government does business in our state."
He "was elected to get Floridians back to work..." yet cuts a program that would have created a few thousand jobs for Central Florida and a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando and eventually Miami. Outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio called it:
...the worst decision she's seen a governor make in her 26 years of public service.
"This is such a bad decision on so many different levels. I cannot believe that the governor made this decision," Iorio said. "This is an example when you have someone who governs from ideology instead of practicality and really looking at what's best for Floridians in the long run. This is what you get and I don't know when I've been more disappointed and concerned about a decision a governor has made for our state."
Four out of the five candidates running to replace Iorio condemned the Scott decision:
Four of the five candidates running to succeed Iorio in the upcoming municipal elections appeared at a press conference today at the site where Tampa's high-speed rail station was supposed to be to voice their outrage and to call for Scott to reconsider his move. Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco was not present.
Yet, Scott's decision falls right in line with other Republican decisions the last few weeks and months. Just yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner commented on the prospect of Federal workers losing their jobs under the Republican Budget proposals (via CNN):
Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday if some federal workers lose jobs because of Republican-proposed spending cuts, "so be it."
"So be it" just might become as famous a statement of a lack of empathy for the unemployed that this country has ever had.
This morning's NY Times The Caucus asked if the republican concern for the jobless ended with the jobs of federal workers:
But there’s one category of jobs that appears exempt from Republican cheering: federal workers.
During his weekly news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner claimed that Mr. Obama had added 200,000 federal workers since he took office (a figure that has been disputed), and shrugged at the idea that Republican efforts to slash government spending would put many of them out of work.
However, given the responses of the new Republican governors such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the indifference to existing jobs extends to all public sector employees. Fortunately it appears the people of Wisconsin have decided to send a message or two to their new governor.
As David Dayen reports this afternoon at FDL News:
Republicans want the public to know they’re “serious” about “cutting the deficit” but they really don’t want the public to know that their plan would a) cost a million jobs and b) not materially impact the deficit in any serious way.People understand that the lack of jobs is a big problem for the US (via MSNBC):
Unemployment — and not the economy in general — ranked as the most important problem facing Americans for the second month in a row, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.And it is a weak demand for jobs, not the supposed lack of skills of the un and underemployed that is driving things at this point (via Yahoo News):
When asked to name the biggest problem facing the country, Gallup poll found that 35 percent of Americans said “unemployment.”
That’s the highest percentage in more than a quarter century, since October of 1983.
The sluggish state of the job market over the past year has led many analysts to suggest that the American labor market suffers from a structural malady. The recovering economy has created so few jobs, the argument goes, because 21st-century jobs require a set of skills that jobless workers in many geographical regions don't possess.
But a new government study appears to undercut that view--finding that the economy's chronic state of high unemployment stems more from a simple lack of demand in the labor market. And it could bolster the position of those Keynesian-minded economists arguing for continued government efforts to increase demand.
Initial Unemployment Claims for last week were at a 2 1/2 year low. With the deficit hysteria in DC combined with the states struggling and the ideologues who wish to prove that government is incompetent by making sure there are no workers around to do things, that low figure is probably not going to go much lower and stay much lower over the coming weeks and months. And just as we learned that cutting taxes does not raise revenues and magically balance budgets, so we will learn (I know, many of us already know this) that cutting jobs and killing programs will not create more jobs. VooDoo economics indeed.
And because I can: