Toledo Blade (Ohio) Editorial – What now for jobs bill?
Senate Republicans displayed their interest in economic recovery again this week by blocking a vote or even debate on President Obama’s jobs bill. The GOP agenda is clear: Deny Mr. Obama any political victory or possibility of economic improvement before next year’s presidential election — whatever collateral damage that strategy does to tens of millions of unemployed, poor, and middle-class Americans in the meantime.
The Republicans’ obstructionism would be slightly more bearable if they offered a better, or even reasonable, alternative to Mr. Obama’s ideas. But they don’t. Instead, GOP lawmakers trot out the same old nostrums: more tax cuts and less regulation for business, with no guarantee of job creation in return…
By contrast, credible independent economists agree that the President’s jobs bill would promote significant, timely economic growth and job creation. It would extend a temporary payroll tax cut for workers — the typical Ohio family would get more than $1,500 in tax relief — and businesses.
Employers who actually hire workers or give raises would be eligible for further tax breaks. Long-term unemployed workers would get extended jobless benefits, along with opportunities for internships and training.
The plan would employ jobless construction workers to make needed — often dangerously overdue — repairs to schools, roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure. Local governments and school districts afflicted by cuts in state and federal aid would get help to retain teachers, police officers, and firefighters.
Mr. Obama notes that congressional Republicans and Democrats have supported each of these proposals in the past. But GOP lawmakers, again demonstrating their class allegiance, object to funding the jobs bill in part with higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
…it appears the President and nation will have to accept what — if anything — Republicans in Congress are willing to give them on the bill. The enduring mystery is why so many Americans who aren’t millionaires are willing to accept the GOP’s destructive do-nothing response to an economic emergency. [10/14]
Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) Editorial – Failing on the jobs
What if Congress had approved this week both a set of trade agreements and the president’s jobs bill? The combination would not have erased the economic troubles the country faces. Still, it would have been beneficial, inviting confidence that Washington at last is moving ahead smartly, taking the steps necessary to continue bolstering growth and job creation…
Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and Senate minority leader, dismissed the $447 billion jobs bill with a question: “Why on earth would you support an approach that we already know won’t work?” Actually, the Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the earlier stimulus legislation preserved or created as many as 3.6 million jobs at its peak. The stimulus prevented the economy from falling into a deeper hole.
Now, as the economy struggles, the president has proposed another dose of such prevention, proposals that have attracted Republican and Democratic support in the past. Better, these steps, including an extension of unemployment benefits and added public works, have a record of delivering a greater bang for the buck.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate, echoing their colleagues in the House, wanted no part. Thus, Washington missed an opportunity. It fell short again in addressing the troubled economy. [10/13]
Milford Daily News (Massachusetts) Editorial – Politics Trumps Jobs
…With the national unemployment rate stuck north of 9 percent and a slide back into recession a very real threat, lawmakers continue to focus on how to extract political gain from the economic pain, rather than how to mitigate it.
President Barack Obama has proposed a $445 billion jobs bill focused on encouraging employment in construction, education and other areas. It would also further cut payroll taxes. Is it a panacea? No. Is it a botch with nothing worthwhile? No. In the past, it would be a starting point; both parties would pare away some elements, add others and alter as many as they deemed necessary. It was called compromise. That was, however, the past.
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia declared the bill dead on arrival, an assessment that is about as astute as it is helpful. In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid got 50 Democrats to support the bill, but that’s 10 short of what was required to stop a Republican filibuster. The Democrats say they’ll bring the bill up in pieces, hoping some will find enough GOP support to pass.
Those who hold high hopes that the piecemeal approach will work haven’t been paying attention. Obama has turned the other cheek in courting congressional Republicans so many times that he has run out of cheeks to turn. Republicans seem to believe a floundering economy will help their elective chances in 2012, and they show very little passion for pursuing answers.
All of which leaves little cause for optimism among those out of work, barely hanging onto work or working two or three part-time jobs… [10/14]
New York Times Editorial – No Jobs Bill, and No Ideas
It was all predicted, but the unanimous decision by Senate Republicans on Tuesday to filibuster and thus kill President Obama’s jobs bill was still a breathtaking act of economic vandalism. There are 14 million people out of work, wages are falling, poverty is rising, and a second recession may be blowing in, but not a single Republican would even allow debate on a sound plan to cut middle-class taxes and increase public-works spending.
The bill the Republicans shot down is not a panacea, but independent economists say it would have a significant and swift effect on the current stagnation. Macroeconomic Advisers, whose forecasts are often used by the Federal Reserve, said it could raise economic growth by 1.25 percentage points and create 1.3 million jobs in 2012. Moody’s Analytics estimated new growth at 2 percentage points and 1.9 million jobs. Those economists say that Republican ideas for increasing growth would have no measurable effects in the next year.
The Republicans offer no actual economic plans, only tired slogans about cutting regulations and spending, and ending health care reform. The party seems content to run out the clock on Mr. Obama’s term while doing very little.
…The jobs bill rejected by Republican leaders will now be reintroduced piece by piece, and Republicans are not likely to go along with much more than an extension of the payroll tax cut (which is opposed by Mr. Romney). But at least the record is increasingly clear who is advocating real ideas and who is selling an empty vessel. [10/13]
Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial (Pennsylvania) – Politics killed the jobs bill
It may be overly optimistic to expect Republicans and Democrats to agree to individually pass some key elements of President Obama’s defeated jobs legislation.
But to accept the alternative perspective, that there’s no way this Democrat running for reelection is ever going to get Republican support, would be demoralizing. The public is desperate for bipartisanship – on anything.
Was it a dream, or wasn’t there a time in America when lawmakers who considered themselves statesmen could be counted on to put politics aside to vote in the public’s best interest? If the jobs bill had flaws, there was no serious negotiation to fix them…
…People need jobs, preferably without the politics. [10/13]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Editorial (Pennsylvania) – Pass the jobs plan: Washington must put Americans back to work
President Barack Obama will visit Pittsburgh today to talk about creating jobs in a moribund economy. We wish others would join him in the conversation, namely congressional Republicans.
But they would rather snipe at his jobs plan instead of sit down with the White House to work out a package that would reduce the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate. The Republicans, after all, have a perverse, election-driven interest in seeing America’s jobless woes continue into 2012, when the president will go before the voters for a second term.
That may be opportunistic campaign strategy, but it comes at the suffering of countless Americans who are looking for work or counting on a breadwinner in the family to find work…
In other words, for too many the American Dream is elusive; for others it’s a downright nightmare.
Last month the president detailed to the nation and a joint session of Congress a $447 billion jobs package — a mixture of tax cuts or credits for businesses and individuals, public works construction spending and grants to put police, firefighters and others back to work. Since then Senate Democrats have retooled how to pay for the plan (by putting a 5 percent surtax on millionaires), while Republicans in both chambers have used slogans (class warfare, all-or-nothing package, etc.) to mask their unwillingness to deal.
Save the politics for election year. It’s time to put Americans back to work. Those in Washington who are not willing to broker a real jobs solution deserve a ticket back home. [10/11]
Star-Ledger Editorial (New Jersey) – Government deregulation won’t help curb unemployment
To combat rampant unemployment, President Obama has offered a job creation plan endorsed by economists. Republicans have offered criticism, but no real strategy of their own.
Instead, they’ve focused their talking points on the supreme evils of government regulation. They’ve been trying to do away with that for years because it’s detested by their donors in big business. Now, they’ve re-packaged that agenda as a strategy for dealing with high unemployment. That’s good marketing.
Not good economics, though. Let’s not forget deregulation was the root cause of our unemployment. It let banks run wild with loans, which got us into the whole subprime mortgage mess. It imploded our economy and left us mired in a recession, with millions of job losses…
If we deregulate, people still won’t have jobs. What they will have are weaker protections for the air they breathe, the water they drink and the products they buy. [10/10]