Last week Republicans branded themselves as the party of cuts. This week the Democrats have an opportunity to be the party of jobs and growth again.
Last week Republicans again and again called for for austerity: government budget cuts that kill jobs and growth. Look at what is happening in Europe as they try to fix deficits with austerity — cuts instead of growth. The result has been recession after recession, and unemployment rates above 20%! Europe is clearly demonstrating that austerity kills jobs and growth, and actually leads to even higher deficits as the economy pulls back.
The Republican austerity push gives Democrats the opportunity to seize the high ground of jobs. But to accomplish this, they have to drop the DC-elite-induced austerity fetish, and make the case that the way to grow the economy and actually create jobs is to invest in infrastructure and energy efficiency. Democrats have to be in favor of job creation and growth and doing more than they have done already.
If you invest in infrastructure and energy efficiency you create jobs while the work is being done — but you also end up with modernized infrastructure and lower energy costs, which means the economy is much more productive, and this pays for the investment!
Jobs Fix Deficits
It’s just a fact: jobs fix deficits. If the government hires a person to work on fixing a bridge or a dam, that person is:
- Paying income taxes again,
- Not collecting unemployment or food stamps,
- Shopping again, which generates sales taxes and other jobs, and
- Feeling better off than four years ago.
- Duh! No-brainer!
P.S. AND the bridge or dam is fixed – something that has to be done anyway!
The Democratic Party has the opportunity to make the case for investment instead of cuts. It is an obvious case. It makes sense. People will get it.
Will they do it?
The American Jobs Act
What would it do for our economy to hire people to modernize at least 35,000 schools? What if we hired people to modernize roads, rail, airports and waterways? What if we hired people to rehabilitate homes, businesses and communities?
That is just part of what the American Jobs Act accomplishes.
Here are a few of the things the American Jobs Act will do if Congress will pass it:
- A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.
- Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs,while keeping cops and firefighters on the job.
- Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country,supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.
- Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job.
- A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.
- Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum.
PS The American Jobs Act also provides funds to prevent the layoff of prevent layoffs of as many as 280,000 teachers.
At The American Prospect, Jamie Bouie writes that The American Jobs Act Still Exists (“Remember that the next time someone says that Obama doesn’t have a plan for jobs.”),
The political world has all but forgotten the American Jobs Act, but it remains on the table as Obama’s plan for juicing the economy. If passed in full, the Jobs Act would cut payroll taxes for businesses, double the size of the payroll tax cut for individuals, give aid to states to prevent public sector layoffs, and increase infrastructure spending. All together, the Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs over the next year.
This could be remembered as the Jobs Convention. The Democrats cold once again be branded as the Jobs Party. All they have to do is get past the DC-elite austerity fetish and remember that regular people out here in the country need jobs, the country needs a modernized infrastructure, and god, old-fashioned Keynes-style stimulus actually works.
And, it makes for a good speech: