Has anyone really caught on to what’s happening with all this talk (and action) about deficits and the national debt? Republicans have done it again. They’re controlling the conversation and in doing so are creating an environment calculated to win the 2012 election. Why. Because the immediate effect of their cost cutting is to increase unemployment and keeping unemployment high is the only chance they have of regaining the White House. So every time you read or hear of this Republican governor or legislature slashing a budget think of killing jobs, creating unemployment. Not prudence but raw politics. Think about the teacher or sanitation worker who is suddenly out of a job and, like fellow leveraged neighbors, is becomes an unwilling candidate for foreclosure. At the very least don’t expect the formerly employed public servant to be buying up a storm at the local supermarket or mall. And don’t think cutting the fat from government, think rather of the ripple effect on businesses large and especially small whose revenues will be pinched right along with their customers. Can they hire, or more accurately risk hiring, with the prospect of lower revenues? These are not unintended consequences they are caluculated and insiduous.
To add insult to injury, acclaimed Republican front runner Mitt Romney announces his candidacy blaming Obama for unemployment and claiming that he will be a job creator. Really? Romney famously decimated jobs in the companies that his Bain Capital took over during those years where he built his much touted business credentials. And during his tenure as governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job growth. This is the same man who calls for repeal of the Affordable Care Act trying to rob the rest of Americans of the very healthcare benefits he promoted for his own state. It’s par for the course in a field that includes a serial family values fraud and a performer/entrepreneur on a tease tour who’d like to be called President but found it impossible to complete her own term as governor. In other words the title but not the work or responsibility.
The job situation is grim and there is no reason to believe it will get better soon. That it hasn’t measurably imporoved may reinforce the contention of Paul Krugman and others that the stimulus was far too modest. But it may also suggest the limits of Presidential power or that of the government in righting a systemically damaged economy. Americans are long term victims of the great hoax perpetrated by greedy realtors and loan sharks (sadly that’s what our bankers seem to be) facilitated by a string of political leaders — yes Ronald Reagan but equally Bill Clinton.
What is it they say about the devil and details? Cutting spending to reduce the deficit sounds great until we read the fine print and experience its inevitable consequences. You don’t hear anyone suggesting that the number of state legislators or the House members be cut in half. No those jobs, albeit supposedly up for grabs on Election Day, are secure. Maybe Romney isn’t so out of place. Elected officials these days are exactly like corporate titans who downsize (a euphemism for firing a lot of hard working people) while going on their merry way, their lifestyle or appetites unimpaired.
Democrats, you want a slogan to run on this year? Brand the Republicans Job Killers, it’s a title that passes the both the fact and emotional test, one that can stick. At the very least remind Americans what’s really afoot and start taking control of the conversation. Please!