Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

American jobless held hostage by GOP-led House

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‘America Held Hostage’ was the theme of the Nightline episodes in 1979 and 1980 as Americans were held hostage in Iran. ABC News devoted considerable resources to the fledging program, and its ongoing countdown reminded Americans of what we going on half a world away.

This tool, so effective for conveying something far away to our lives, could be used for what is going on at home. But once again, the MSM, ruled by GOP talking points, misses the big picture.

To the MSM and GOP, almost in lockstep, the debt ceiling crisis is worthy of a countdown down to August 2. The real countdown started on January 3, when the new GOP-led House took over, with the theme of when the House would pass job creating legislation.

The numbers cry out for a solution: Canada, with 11% of the U.S. population level, produced 29,000 jobs in June. The United States produced 18,000 jobs. And Canada has universal health care. The American numbers were on top of a dismal May.

The debt ceiling crisis, a overblown, almost-made-up phenomenon, has swept the attention, running second to someone named Casey Anthony these days. The MSM’s sudden interest in the deficit runs lockstep with the Republican push. And while the MSM’s agenda isn’t clear, the GOP reasoning is there if you’re looking: reduce domestic spending on programs they don’t like.

After all, the GOP isn’t afraid to spend (see years 2001-2007) and if taxes on the rich were a tree, we’ve cut down to the smallest of stumps.

President Barack Obama has been capitulating to the Republicans on the fake crisis, even offering deals the GOP hasn’t asked for such as Social Security cuts. We’ve seen Obama’s bargaining skills in motion, giving 2 years of Bush tax cuts for 1 year of extended unemployment. Yes, we are going back to just 26 weeks of unemployment in 6 months. And his Treasury department isn’t helping things by heightening a world of mass hysteria once we hit August 3.

Missing the deadline will result in some upheaval, in part because of the hype involved. So concern is relevant. Then again, the #2 person in the GOP House leadership, Eric Cantor, stands to benefit financially if the debt crisis deadline is not met. If the markets really think that the adults in the room aren’t going to be responsible for the debt … then again, the children (teabaggers) appear to be in charge.

We do need to reduce the deficit and debt (the difference between the two, largely ignored, could comprise a whole column), and we can certainly make some changes now. However, if the economy is creating 18,000 jobs when it needs to average 250,000 jobs per month, deficit and debt can wait.

We have written several columns in the last 6 months wondering where is the outrage over not having job creation legislation. Tax cuts won’t make companies free up money to hire people (again see 2001-2007).

The GOP reminds us of college basketball before the shot clock. They pass the ball around over and over killing time; they want the ball but they don’t want to score. And the fans are desperate for baskets.

Whatever your level of disappointment over what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, along with President Obama, did to create/save jobs in 2009-2011, their numbers and production look Clintonesque compared to the last 6 months.

When (if?) the debt ceiling crisis gets solved, the GOP will look for another excuse to run out the clock until November 2012. As we’ve seen from the job numbers, millions of Americans can’t wait that long. And the MSM has gone out of its way to lay the entire blame on President Obama. While we have been quite critical of some of his approaches and philosophies, the judgment falls on the body that initiates legislation, the GOP-controlled House. Without the House, Americans will continue to be held hostage, waiting fruitlessly for job growth help to arrive.

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