Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Obama, GOP still waiting for ‘Hail Mary’ pass on jobs

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Fans of “Animal House” know that the above number is Blutarsky’s GPA for the semester. But the number also reflects job growth in August.

So many months after the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives, and a subsequent drop in the credit rating, now we are going to try and be worried about the lack of job growth.

So how important is this topic? Well, John Belushi, who played Blutarksy in “Animal House,” was also known as one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. And if he were alive, he might appreciate that Obama’s grand job speech isn’t even happening in prime time.

That’s right. Jobs are such a low priority that a major speech on the topic is happening outside of prime time, when people on the West Coast are still at work (at least those that have jobs) and the Mountain time zone folks are just getting off work. Even some of the Central time zone people are just getting into the front door at 7 pm Eastern.

Football is the reason why — if the speech had to be on Thursday — the speech isn’t in prime time. The White House fumbled a move to put the speech on Wednesday, opposite a GOP presidential debate. The only football games that should have interfered with this speech were the BCS Championship Game or the Super Bowl last winter. This speech should have been given when people thought the Chicago Cubs had a chance in 2011.

Obama is supposed to pushing for more infrastructure spending, a no-brainer except for Congressional Republicans. And the president wants to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. As you may recall, Obama showed off his negotiation skills with the Republicans, giving them 2 years of the Bush tax cuts in exchange for 1 year of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits.

The number at the top also reflects the percentage of time the GOP has devoted to the topic since taking power in January. We aren’t surprised by this, despite the pleas for Republicans running in the 2010 elections. But the president should have been on the jobs issue long before now.

You would hope that 8 months of lack of effort combined with 14 months before the next election cycle would produce big, bold challenges on both sides of the aisle in an attempt to be patronizing to the people who will decide their fate.

In the typical election cycle, politicians aren’t always on your side in the months after they win. This would considered outrageous behavior but know that the voters can easily be forgetful. Ask yourself honestly if you will remember 12 months from now that our credit rating was slashed thanks to the debt ceiling crisis. Even if you will remember, your neighbor likely won’t.

Despite the current look at improving the job scene, don’t look for an all-out blitz in the remaining months. This group (outside Democratic Congressmen who have no power to propose legislation) doesn’t have job creation as part of its playbook. Any referees, or fans with a whistle, will be ignored.

The GOP strategy never has been or will be about job creation. If the GOP gains the White House, keeps the House, and wins the Senate, job creation still won’t be on the table. When job losses reigned from 2001-2007, the GOP didn’t suffer at the ballot box for their economic incompetence. When George W. Bush had his tax cuts and control of both houses with no job growth in 4 years, enough people voted for him in 2004. And when the GOP was voted out of control of Congress in 2006, few cited their lack of effectiveness on the economy.

If this country wants good job growth, people are going to get off their couches, put down the bowls of chips, and come onto the field. They need to see up close, better than any HD signal, the nuances of why the game isn’t going their way. And then they need to throw their own penalty flag for “holding” back job growth and “clipping” the chances of economic success.


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