These almost daily polls of who is up and who is down over a year away from the next election is like getting Christmas catalogs in July. The media and the tea smokers love the horse race aspect. In the process implementing public policy becomes almost a second thought. With a right-wing conservative majority in the House and the tacit requirement for a super majority in the Senate almost nothing will get done. When conservatives hold the economy hostage to get less in spending cuts than budget bills they voted for, which increased the deficit, holding emergency disaster relief for hurricane damage hostage is just another day at the office. Though reading this one hopes the White House is paying attention – Support for Obama Slips; Unease on 2012 Candidates
The president’s effort to seize the initiative on the economy was well received by the public, and clear majorities support crucial pieces of his new job-creation program. But despite Mr. Obama’s campaign to sell the plan to Congress and voters, more than half of those questioned said they feared the economy was already in or was headed for a double-dip recession, and nearly three-quarters of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.
David Sirota is a progressive who writes some good columns. he is also one of those progressives for whom President Obama can do nothing right. He wrote this this four weeks ago – Obama and his party cling to the familiar narrative that their hands are tied. They’re wrong
According to the Washington Post, the president’s advisors say the only “responsible” thing for the president to do is to “explore policies that have a chance of passage, rather than making a political statement.” Translated into plain English from Washington-ese, this is the White House stating that the president will only consider job-related legislation that congressional Republicans already support, and that the president will not push a proposal that the GOP right now opposes. Hey, the administration is saying, the president is binded by the political reality of today’s GOP intransigence — and there’s nothing he can do about that, other than work within that reality’s confines.
Except, of course, there is something he can do. He can stop pretending to be an innocent bystander, and instead acknowledge what he really is — an active participant, and likely the single most powerful one, in the political process. In Washington-ese, he can reject the notion that having “a chance of passage” is the opposite of “making a political statement” — and realize that the two are complementary concepts. In short, like other legislatively successful presidents, he can use “political statements” as a means of changing the political reality, thus giving other legislative alternatives “a chance of passage.”
Let’s acknowledge that David is not the only liberal/Democrat/progressive that thinks this way. Now here we are four weeks later and Obama has proposed a jobs bill that would create almost two million jobs ( I don’t like the payroll tax cut, but we’ll leave that for now). President Obama, almost acting per David’s recipe went around making speeches selling the plan to the public. We’re nowhere near close to getting that jobs bill. Obama has made a political statement and a real bread and butter statement on jobs. Republicans are opposed. The public sees all the criticism by the far Right and skepticism by some Democrats. Obama did the right thing in proposing the Jobs Bill, but is treading water. The problem is not Obama, the problem is Republicans who are against anything and everything Obama proposes. Sirota and other well-meaning progressives can talk that the power of positive thinking all day, but votes are votes. In the Senate Republicans don’t even have the votes yet they can sabotage ant bill or presidential nomination simply by threat of the filibuster. All the public sees in the hail of who said what and who did something is Washington is a crazy place. The one thing Obama and Democrats have going for them is that most of the public can see conservatives have no answers and seem nuttier than ever,
The president’s support has fallen to its lowest levels across parts of the diverse coalition of voters who elected him, from women to suburbanites to college graduates. And a persistent effort over the past year to reclaim his appeal to independent voters has shown few signs of bearing fruit, with 59 percent of this critical electoral group voicing their disapproval.
While Mr. Obama has not yet succeeded in winning over independent voters, who comprise the most influential piece of the electorate, neither have Republicans. The field is largely unknown to independents, and few have a favorable opinion of any of the candidates.
As of today the two leading Republicans for the nomination are Romney and Perry. No one else has a chance. Even most of the winger blogs have dropped Bachmann. The rest of the field never had a chance. What ideas do conservatives have for creating jobs – cutting corporate taxes and doing away with the minimum wage. This is part of the craziness the public sees. Taxes are low, many of the richest corporations are paying no taxes. So if tax cuts are the answer to a teetering economy, where are the jobs. No one can really live off the federal minimum wage so the only people who want to see it lower are the usual out of touch elitist on the far far Right. Recently the Right has taken to blaming our economic woes – the woes they created – on too much regulation. Republican Leader John Boehner(R-OH) who thinks honor is just disposable waste, tells a pants on fire lie to make his case –
When we read through all of the potential regulations, it quickly became apparent that at least a third were not relevant to Boehner’s argument in the speech.
More Boehner’s myopic view of regulation here. If you’re part of a family or have a family of your own and you all agree on new household rules, do those rules always necessarily involve an increase in costs? Of course not. More often than not your new rule is meant to save money. corporations have never been the bastions of smart thinking that conservatives would have us all believe. Most Americans work for companies that frequently make new bad regulations, work rules, new procedures that end up costing money where they were supposed to save money. Anyone reading this who has worked for even a medium-sized company knows this to be true. Government regulations are generally not created out of thin air. That is why government agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office do studies of what new regulations and legislation will cost. Some regulations save the government money and some even save consumers money. Several of the rules Boehner included in his “cost” were actually benefits to average Americans. They have lied to us about wars, taxes, financial regulation and civil liberties; what are a few more lies about regulations being the secret boogieman causing unemployment. Obama is not FDR, but people seem to have lost sight of two things. He cannot pass any bills because of Republican majorities in one house and Republican politics of destruction in the other. If he took all the progressive bloggers and pundits ideas down, condensed them into a New Deal 2.0 tomorrow, it would sink faster than than a lead anchor. Maybe he should do that to draw a political line in the sand as many liberals would like. A line he could point to and say we tried our best to create jobs and Republicans stopped us. Anyway we look at it, at the end of the day, conservative obstructionism is the problem behind anemic economic growth. When Obama had a Democratic majority some people thought he was going to be the new FDR.
Extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless are not a major cause of the high U.S. unemployment rate, according to a new study that comes as lawmakers debate whether to keep extended benefits beyond their slated January expiration.
Many conservatives have argued that extended unemployment benefits encourage the jobless to sit on the couch instead of looking for work. Reauthorizing the benefits through next year would cost roughly $50 billion.
“This economy will not recover if we’re going to continue to borrow money, put the debt on the heads of our grandchildren, and think that spending money solves anything,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said during a Thursday speech on the House floor. “We’ve got to get this country back to work and get those people out of the slacker rolls and onto the employed rolls.”
Conservative economists have said extended benefits could have increased the unemployment rate by as much as 2.7 percentage points, but Jesse Rothstein of the University of California, Berkeley found otherwise. According to his analysis (PDF), extended benefits “raised the unemployment rate by only about 0.2–0.6 percentage points, much less than is implied by previous analyses.”
And Rothstein says more than half of that increase could be caused by benefits recipients searching for jobs — thereby remaining part of the labor force — instead of just giving up on their search. (Benefits recipients must look for work to qualify.)
“The evidence here thus supports the view that optimal [unemployment insurance] program design would provide for generous extensions of benefit durations in deep recessions that last until the labor market is strong enough to give displaced workers a realistic chance of finding new employment before their benefits expire,” Rothstein concluded in the report.
The requirements to collect unemployment insurance vary a little from state to state, but they all make people look for work. Everyone has to keep a log of contact information about what jobs they applied for. A real go getter could apply for four jobs by noon and go home to spend the rest of the day on the sofa but that is generally not the case. Than there are the benefits themselves. They pay a fraction of what you were earning – the national average is around 40% of the wages at your last job or $295 a week. There is some disagreement over the actual dollar multiplier effect of unemployment insurance on the economy, but no one except the far Right “think” tanks believe there is no multiplier effect. Another way of saying unemployment insurance does not disappear down a black hole, people buy groceries, toothpaste and pay their rent.