Friday, May 27, 2011

Is There a Possibility of a Glimmer of a Clue?

Author's Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

No. It probably isn't. Probably just some more wishful thinking on my part. Nevertheless, I was quite surprised this morning to see a few pieces around the web pointing out that a "new Republican Jobs bill" was just another tired rehash of the same failed policies of the last thirty years. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, Paul Krugman at the NY Times, Steve Benen at Washington Monthly all pounded on the Republican "Plan" and for good reason. From the Klein link:

The best evidence that Washington has forgotten about the jobs crisis is to look at the plans emerging to address it. Yesterday's House GOP plan was a perfect example. It was, as MIT economist David Autor told me, a classic case of "now-more-than-everism": Everything on the agenda was also on the GOP's agenda in 2006, in 2002, in 1987, etc. It's lower taxes, less spending, fewer regulations, more trade agreements, more domestic oil production. You can argue about whether these proposals are good for the economy. But as Autor says, there's "no original thinking here directed at addressing the employment problem."
Actually, you can argue whether those "proposals" are good for the economy as we have thirty years of evidence that they are not good for the economy.

Krugman points to how foolish it is to try to negotiate with the Republicans on these issues (as does Blue Texan at FDL this afternoon). Krugman said:
Anyway, the new “jobs plan” illustrates, once again, the foolishness of believing that we can reach any real bipartisan agreement on economic policy. The GOP stopped thinking a long time ago; all it knows how to do is parrot Reaganite rhetoric over and over. And there’s so little there there that the document — look at it! — has to rely on extra-large type and lots of pointless pictures to bulk it out even to 10 pages.
Benen is even less forgiving than both Klein and Krugman:
As we discussed yesterday, the jobs agenda, such as it is, is practically a conservative cliche: the GOP wants massive tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, more coastal oil drilling, and huge cuts to public investment. Republicans are confident this will work wonders, just as they were equally confident about the identical agenda in the last decade, and the decade before that, and the decade before that.

Indeed, the most glaring problem with the GOP jobs agenda is that it won’t work, but nearly as painful is the realization that it’s already been tried, over and over again, to no avail. They either don’t care or can’t understand the famous axiom: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The agenda is the agenda: tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, cut public investments. Good times and bad, deficit or surplus, war or peace, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s as if someone bought an iPod, uploaded one song, and hit “shuffle.”
Dave Leonhardt of the NY Times also points out today the weakness in the overall economy, without going into the Republican "Jobs" bill. I did have to laugh just a tad about his close though:
Any temporary measures will eventually need to lapse, of course. But the current moment remains a textbook time to use them — when the economy is struggling to emerge from the aftermath of a terrible recession. The one thing not to do is to turn to deficit reduction too quickly after a crisis, as Europe is painfully learning.

Almost four years after the mortgage market first began to quiver and unemployment began to rise, Americans are understandably eager for good economic news. But wishing for it doesn’t make it so. You have to wonder whether the people in Washington have learned that lesson yet.
My bold. Now the unfortunate reality is that it will be easy for most of the Beltway Village Idiots Courtiers to ignore all of this, especially since the posts have come on the Friday before the long weekend that "officially" starts summer for most folks and by Tuesday, there will be some new shiny object to distract people from this. The Washington Post tried to do a standard on the one hand on the other hand bit of reporting that President Obama and the Republicans were both presenting "jobs" initiatives.
The Obama administration said it would seek to scale back or eliminate hundreds of regulations affecting workplace safety, environmental protection, endangered species, hospitals and other subjects, saying the measures would save businesses billions of dollars a year.


House Republicans, meanwhile, offered a proposal that would lower the top tax rate on individual and corporate income to 25 percent from 35 percent. The plan would also strengthen patent protections against some lawsuits, require congressional approval of significant new regulations, increase domestic oil protection and promote the party’s effort to make large cuts in government spending.


The competing visions seek to spur job growth by reducing the burdens on corporate America. Neither looks to use government spending to help reduce the country’s stubborn joblessness rate.
Who cares if the air and ground and water and food are poisoned?These dastardly regulations just cost too much to comply with so if a few people die, well, that's the cost of doing business, right?

Besides the Post's "on the one hand on the other hand" article, there were a few others that continue to tell me more about the economy than the few good blog posts I opened with today. From the AP via USA Today, it seems that while Heinz is seeing rising profits, it is closing five factories world wide including two in the US. This is just so much business as usual of course. But this article from today's Hartford Courant bothers me in all sorts of ways:
Going into a negotiation meeting Thursday night, the owner of six Connecticut nursing homes, including Wethersfield Health Care and Newington Health Care, was threatening to lock out about 800 union workers because talks for a new contract had failed to progress.


The union says the company is attempting to force a reduction of pay and benefits. Deborah Chernoff, a spokeswoman for District 1199, said the union is negotiating dozens of contracts at once. Thirty percent of nursing home employees throughout the state are unionized.


The average pay for nursing aides and janitors in the homes, which are also in Danbury, Milford, Westport and Stamford, is $15.36 an hour, and the rate last went up in 2009, when it increased by 50 cents, Chernoff said. Workers who are at the home for at least 20 hours a week can get individual health insurance, and those with 32 hours a week or more can get family plans.
I think if I had a family member who was a resident of one of these nursing homes, I would be on the phone questioning just what I was paying for in quality of care if the management is locking out the staff to make a point in union negotiations. But that's just me.

The governor of the state in which I reside continues to show why he is one of if not the most unpopular governor in the country. From the Miami Herald via McClatchy:
At a campaign-style event that banned some Democrats, Republican Gov. Rick Scott fashioned himself into Florida’s new veto king Thursday when he axed $615 million from the state budget before signing it.


Scott never mentioned the fact he originally called for a bigger cut to schools than the Legislature ultimately approved.


In his speech Thursday, Scott omitted many of the serious-sounding programs he cut: homeless veterans, meals for poor seniors, a council for deafness, a children’s hospital, cancer research, public radio, whooping-cough vaccines for poor mothers, or aid for the paralyzed.


Democrats couldn’t help but note the irony that Scott’s “jobs budget” eliminates roughly 4,500 state-worker jobs and could therefore make matters worse in a state with record unemployment. About 2,000 of the jobs are filled. Already, the Department of Children and Families has announced 500 layoffs.
Yep. Standard Republican double speak.

And because I can:

No comments:

Post a Comment