Next week the Republicans hold their convention. They will supposedly focus their message on the economy. But after four years of an agenda to block jobs and economic growth so they can campaign on complaints of no jobs and no growth, can they offer anything that might actually create jobs and improve the economy? We will see next week.
The Romney Jobs Plans
Perhaps the Republican convention will focus on the Romney jobs plan.
The Romney Jobs Plan has five parts, none of which actually involve actual job creation.
First, of course, Romney says he will create jobs by cutting taxes dramatically for the rich and giant corporations while, yes, raising them for everyone else. The Romney tax plan actually offers even more tax breaks to companies to move operations out of the country. It promises to be “revenue neutral” by getting rid of deductions and loopholes, which could well mean the mortgage interest deduction. (Romney refuses to offer specifics.)
Second, Romney says he will cut government regulations — meaning cut the ability of We, the People (democracy) to keep companies from doing things that hurt us, hurt smaller companies and hurt the economy. Democracy’s oversight is a “burden on the economy” the plan says. Specifically cited in the Romney plan are the new regulations on Wall Street passed in reaction to the deregulated Wall Street crashing the economy, the regulations enacfted after Enron scammed so many people, and efforts to protect our environment and reign in the oil companies after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and because of the terrible oncoming effects of climate change. The Romney plan says these “drive up costs.” By getting rid of these “costs” he says jobs will be created. It is possible that he means temporary oil-spill cleanup jobs will be created.
Third, Romney promises to push for more NAFTA-style trade pacts, so even more jobs, factories and industries can be sent out of the country, making a few more Bain-style billionaires as the wages those workers were making are instead put in the pockets of a few. I guess lots of jobs are created when workers pack up machinery in a factory to ship to factories in other countries.
Fourth, Romney’s energy plan is simple: unleash oil and coal companies to do anything they want, and get rid of all those pesky alternative energy projects like solar and wind energy. Build a pipeline across our country so Canadian oil companies can sell oil to China. Stop enforcement of environmental laws that hinder oil and coal companies. And, specifically, “Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview.” Because the hottest year on record, the worst drought, states and regions on fire, terrible “100-year” storms and flood every year means … hey, look over there!
Finally, the fifth part of the plan deals with labor. Apparently the South had it right, it is much more “business friendly” when you don’t have to pay workers and they can’t quit. Seriously, read this section. Paying workers and letting them have rights will “drive up costs and introduce rigidities that harm competitiveness and frustrate innovation.” Letting workers negotiate will “reduce investment and slow job growth.”
So a guy who made a fortune by laying people off and cutting the pay of the remaining people (cutting costs), and keeping that money for himself, says that we should base our economy on doing that because it worked for him.
The House Republican Jobs Plan
Perhaps the Republican convention will instead focus on the House Republican jobs plan.
The House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators – Summary: cut taxes for the rich, get rid of the ability of We, the People to control the giant corporations. (Special bonus: get rid of regulations that keep companies from doing harm AND get rid of our ability to sue companies that do harm!)
The introduction to the House plan says that “government takeovers of the economy” (?) have not worked. Government takeovers of the economy? What? Anyway, let’s examine the plan.
Cut Taxes: the House plan promises to “reduce the overall tax rate to no more than 25% for businesses and individuals including small business owners.” Of course, this is a huge tax cut for the wealthiest. These are the “job creators.” The definition of “job creator” is really, really rich. Paris Hilton “creates jobs.” So even more tax cuts for the rich. Because doing that created so many jobs in the Bush years…
Trade: The plan has a trade plank that actually encourages even more closing factories here and sending the jobs there. Because doing that created so many jobs in the Bush years…
Import Cheaper, Foreign Skilled Workers: The plan has a plank calling for special visas to let in foreign workers to do high-skilled jobs because they are paid less than Americans — older, experienced American tech workers in particular. Because doing that created so many jobs in the Bush years…
Austerity: The plan discusses deficits (after promising to dramatically cut taxes) — using wording implying that deficits cost jobs, which is a standard of Republican rhetoric. So after cutting taxes for the rich, starting two wars and doubling the military budget on top of that, they turned a surplus into huge deficits, and now they say this means we need to … wait for it … cut back on the things We, the People do for each other instead of undoing those things that caused the deficits. Whatever. Because doing that created so many jobs in Europe…
Drill, Baby, Drill!: And, finally, the House Republican plan say we must let the oil companies drill more. Of course. Because doing that created so many jobs in the Bush years…
So that is the House plan to “create jobs.” Do more of what they did in the prosperous, job-creating, economy-improving, deficit-reducing Bush years! This plan will create lots of “revolving door” jobs when House members and their staffs move into lucrative corporate lobbying jobs provided for them if and only if they vote for the above treats for billionaires and their corporations.
What Will They Actually Do If Actually Elected?
If Republicans are put in power, what will they actually do? Will they decide to actually create jobs, or will it just be more treats for a few billionaires and their giant corporations? (Because doing that created so many jobs in the Bush years…) The existing Romney and House Republican plans focus on treats for billionaires because their election effort is almost entirely funded by billionaires and their giant corporations.
But what about after the election? Will they feel a need to actually create jobs? Will they calculate that the electorate will toss them out if they don’t bring about the promised improvements in the economy by cutting taxes and getting democracy out of the way of the big corporations?
Maybe they won’t decide to actually create jobs and grow the economy. They’ll still be able to take advantage of the revolving door jobs machine, with legislators and their staff able to move seamlessly from government jobs where they pass treats to billionaires, into lucrative jobs provided by those billionaires.
But if they calculate that they need to actually create actual jobs for actual people, and actually help our actual economy their plans offer noting that can actually accomplish this.
Creating Actual Jobs Is Actually Simple
Actually creating actual jobs and actually helping improve the economy is actually pretty simple. We have millions of jobs that need doing, and to actually create jobs all you have to do is actually hire people to do those jobs that actually need doing.
Infrastructure: We actually really, really need to invest in maintaining and modernizing our country’s infrastructure. Roads, bridges, waterways, dams, airports, ports, power grid, levees, water systems, waste treatment systems, transit systems (high-speed rail from city to city!!!) (rail systems from every city to every airport!!!) (rail systems running along every commute route!!!), and so many, many more things that need to be done here. And of course this work will pay off because it will make our economy so much more competitive. This is work that has to be done anyway, and will create millions of jobs when we finally get started on this.
Energy: Every home and every building in this country needs to be retrofitted to be energy-efficient. The payoff from this will be enormous!! Millions of jobs now and using (and paying for) so much less energy later.
Those two areas alone will create millions and millions of jobs and leave behind a vastly improved economy. In the short term that is millions of people paying taxes and participating in the economy instead of depending on the safety net. In the long term this work means our economy is in vastly better shape.
There is one and only one reason we have not done these things in the last few years, and that is the Republican strategy of blocking this, in order to keep the economy in the doldrums, so they can “talk about the bad economy.” But if they win, this is what they will have to do if they decide to actually create jobs.