Does the GOP Have Something Against Jobs?


Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 11.19.55 PMOnce upon a time, the GOP was the party of jobs.  It was all about creating good, well paying jobs, with a highly trained work force, and sustaining them.  The DNC was the party occupied, literally, by extremes so incomprehensible, they could not sustain an audience, let alone a work force.  Something happened when the libertarian, John Birch billionaires started calling the shots.  People don’t matter.  Jobs don’t matter.  All that matters is making a profit, making money, and doing it any way you want.  There are no rules, no right, no wrong, no decency, no compassion, no honor, just unbridled capitalism.  Funny thing about the far right, and the libertarian right is that they forgot to calculate the cost of unbridled capitalism.  It does not work in a democracy.

Once upon a time, the GOP was all about giving someone a hand up, not a hand out.  Now, though, not only do they not want to give a hand out, but instead of a hand up, it’s a good, quick, swift, kick in the pants. In many ways, their entire attitude is quite puzzling.  The GOP was once the party of Main Street and small town America.  The so-called ‘rich fat cats’ were Democrats.

Something has changed.  We all know it is an Ayn Rand thing, were anyone who is not wealthy is chopped liver.  Every once in awhile, people need help, quite often through no fault of their own.  But, according to the new libertarian life rules, anyone who is not on the top of the manure pile has something terribly wrong with them.  Ergo, why bother helping them with jobs?

National Memo
National Memo

The Congressional Progressive Caucus wants to create 7 million new jobs in one year.

“…We’re in a jobs crisis that isn’t going away.  Millions of hard-working American families are falling behind, and the richest 1 percent is taking home a bigger chunk of our nation’s gains every year. Americans face a choice: we can either cut Medicare benefits to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or we can close these tax loopholes to invest in jobs.  We choose investment.  The Back to Work Budget invests in America’s future because the best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to put America back to work.  In the first year alone, we create nearly 7 million American jobs and increase GDP by 5.7%.  We reduce unemployment to near 5% in three years with a jobs plan that includes repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, and putting the teachers, cops and firefighters who have borne the brunt of our economic downturn back to work.  We reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by closing tax loopholes and asking the wealthy to pay a fair share.  We repeal the arbitrary sequester and the Budget Control Act that are damaging the economy, and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, which provide high quality, low-cost medical coverage to millions of Americans when they need it most.  This is what the country voted for in November.  It’s time we side with America’s middle class and invest in their future….”

Progressive Caucus
Progressive Caucus

And, for the record, The Pink Flamingo thinks the tax rate listed is far too high.  We should be paying no more than 25% income tax – everyone paying the same rate.  The big thing is that Paul Ryan and is buddies in the AEI, and Koch World have basically lied, in order to keep from equalizing taxes between the ultra wealthy and we the little people.

“…The real mystery though, is how Ryan can say with a straight face that the poor Republicans have not received the spending cuts they claim will create jobs and save the economy. Ryan was a major player in reaping $2.1 trillion in cuts during the debt ceiling hostage situation in 2011, and he championed the sequestration cuts that add another $1.2 trillion as it kills close to one million jobs in the first year of a ten year austerity assault. The sequestration cuts have already garnered layoffs, pink slips, furlough days, and cutbacks nationwide as it begins eliminating middle class jobs so Republicans can boast they are creating jobs by killing jobs and taking money out of the economy their dysfunctional supporters will rally behind. However, some conservatives are not thrilled about the level of austerity and cuts in Ryan’s budget….”

Democracy cannot exist within the structure that the GOP is putting into place.

“…The Republican class war has, for well over a decade, contributed greatly to income inequality that hastens America’s rush to oligarchy, and the primary driver is trickle down tax cuts for the rich. Ryan’s tax reforms give people earning over $1 million a tax cut of $200,000, and it excludes corporate entitlements and other subsidies that enrich the wealthy. In fact, 66% of Ryan’s cuts come directly from programs that reduce income inequality (purposely), and it will spur economic growth and prosperity for the very rich who already take 25% of the nation’s income and control 40% of the nation’s total wealth. The bottom 80% of Americans hold 7% of the nation’s wealth and as the rest of the nation suffered declining incomes, the richest 1% saw their income grow 18% directly from Republican economic policy.

The Republicans big push to reform so-called entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security is forcing increasing segments of the population into financially insecure futures. The sequestration cuts Republicans celebrated are affecting financial insecurity of federal workers who between now and September face mandatory furlough days (22) without compensation that amounts to a 20% pay cut. School teachers around the nation have already been laid off, taken pay cuts, and lived with mandatory furlough days and Ryan’s budget and conservatives in the House are calling for much more sacrifice from primarily middle class union workers. One of Republicans’ favorite masters, corporations, are reaping record profits, paying 10% or zero in federal income taxes, and laying off workers at an alarming rate, and Republicans are calling for corporate tax reform (read tax cuts) to encourage job creation. One thing is certain, Republicans are waging class war on behalf of the wealthy and their corporate support groups, while they kill jobs and gut safety nets to send more Americans into poverty….”

One of the more remarkable stories is how companies like Costco, Starbucks, and now Trader Joe’s are thumbing their nose at the Walmart model and are paying their employees a living wage!  They are the ones who are truly prospering.

“…Yet in the midst of Scroogian thinking, a handful of smarter businesses have stepped to the forefront to reject this “austerity” model for a different philosophy right in line with research: pay a good living wage, offer benefits and maximize one of your most important “assets”: your valued workforce. Top on that list of smart retailers is Costco; Tulsa-based convenience chain, QuikTrip, and consumer favorite, Trader Joe’s….”

The numbers are staggering.  Since 2007, 1 in 6 children in the US has had at least one parent who has been unemployed.  Today, 6.2 million children love in homes where at least 1 parent is unemployed.  If underemployed is mentioned, then that number basically doubles.  When you add to this the fact that the average income for We the Little People, the bottom 90% of Americans grew just $59 in 40 years, we have a serious problem.

Kurt Weill, who wrote the classic Mack the Knife, immortalized by Bobby Darin, wrote an opera called Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.  The main character, Jimmy Mahoney (I saw the late, great, Richard Cassilly do the role).  When he runs out of money, he is executed for the crime of being broke.

“...Furthermore, since obtaining wealth in capitalism is a cutthroat enterprise, the powerful are no better than a gang of bandits, and the law in turn is run by such thugs.

The city of Mahagonny embodies many of these characteristics. Mahagonny was originally created to provide people with useful services; the gold prospectors wanted a relaxation spot, and the three criminals needed to stay there. However, this led to the commodification of everything the tourists desired, especially love. In the end, nobody could buy true happiness; Alaska Wolf Joe and Jacob Schmidt died, the city is burning down, and Jimmy declared before his death that “[t]he happiness I bought was no happiness”. His death was also ordered by the court of law, which was run by the three criminals. To make matters even more farcical, they let a murderer bribe his way to freedom while Jimmy is sentenced to death for petty crimes. The parallels between the events of Mahagonny and the Marxist view of capitalism are clear.

To make the comparison more obvious, the opera is set in a pseudo-Wild West America, with Mahagonny itself placed somewhere far from the rest of civilization. America was the land of unbridled capitalism, the frontier just as much so. The only difference is that bourgeois civility and civilization has yet to occupy the frontier, and thus there is no hiding the nature of capitalism beneath the facade of gentlemanly conduct. In Mahagonny, the characters are prostitutes, lumberjacks, criminals, and the like. Not one of them comes from the moneyed class, and yet the same system of exploitation was set up, but in a more naked manner. Instead of seducing a woman’s love with power and influence, the residents of Mahagonny pay for a prostitute. But in Mahagonny, poverty is not just a condition the poor bring upon themselves, but a crime to be punished….”

The original opera, banned by Hitler, was written as a commentary on the corruption of Weimar Germany.  The ironies here are terrifying and astounding.  One of the reasons Hitler rose to power was because of the economic instability and hyper-inflation, lack of jobs, and a rise in the financial elite.  The parallels to the society envisioned by Ayn Rand and her followers are rather frightening.

“...John Maynard Keynes described the situation in The Economic Consequences of the Peace: “The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to extraordinary lengths. The various belligerent Governments, unable, or too timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they required, have printed notes for the balance.”…”

We all know how the story ended.  This country is headed for a very nasty fall, of the Randians are allowed to remain in power.  In the world of the Koch Machine, the worst crime off all is to be poor and to run out of money.  Those who do are sub-human.  If the right does not start listening to Paul Krugman, we are going to end up as a nation where we will soon see the rise of debtors prisons and people being punished for being poor.