Jobs and Income: Democrats vs. Republicans

Every election season, unicorn progressives and the professional left try to entice me to vote for an independent or third party. Hell; over the weekend, one of them was already pushing Someone like that for 2020. As if we don’t have 2018 to worry about. This points to two of our problems as progressives. Here we are, in what should be crisis mode and I’m already being peddled fantasies that have nothing to with what is going on. Anyone who thinks we have the luxury (yes, I said LUXURY) of voting third party and/or pushing presidential candidates to replace Trump is just as dumb as all those sycophants who think Lord Donny is kicking ass.

Whether you like it or not, there are two viable choices available every Election Day;  in virtually every election, you have a choice between Column D and Column R. And given the mathematics and dynamics of the system, a vote for anything other than Column D is effectively a vote for Column R. If you, in fact, want a “third choice,” then you should have started creating one about 30 years ago. Right now, the situation is too dire to indulge your fantasies. There are no shortcuts. You can’t simply will a third or fourth choice and have it become viable.

In Column D, we have a Democratic Party that is sometimes “too conservative,”  but which usually has the country’s best interests at heart.  In Column R we have a Republican Party that in no way resembles the GOP from the 1960s and before. Virtually all of their moderates have become Democrats and they have absorbed ALL of the Dixiecrats. In other words, we have a choice between a party that gives a shit and another that doesn’t. At all. Not even a little.

The two major parties are not only different, they have never been more dissimilar. They have nothing in common. Even those few Republican “moderates” still walking upright have no choice but to play to a far right agenda to keep getting elected. And yet, at least once a week, a professional lefty quotes Truman to me:

“Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.”

Truman said that back in 1946. This is 2017. In fact, 18 years after this was said, Democrats and liberal Republicans passed major civil rights reforms. And in the 26 election cycles since then, the Republican Party has been hopelessly radicalized by taking in the Democratic Party’s racists and xenophobes. You cant find a single Democrat who actually acts like a Republican in 2017. In order to believe the Truman quote relevant, you have to ignore the radicalization of the GOP and assume it’s the same as it was 70+ years ago.

In order to demonstrate the complete lack of veracity of the concept of descriptions of both parties as being the same, I am taking a look at how both parties are on jobs and the fortunes of the middle class and families.

Now, I could just quote a bunch of statistics. During Bill Clinton’s Administration, 23 million jobs were created in eight years, while at least 16 million jobs were created under Obama. From the time of the end of the recession, beginning in January 2010, more than 22 million jobs were created. On the other hand, George W. Bush and his Republican Congress could only manage to create about 4 million jobs in seven years, despite the largest economic bubble in US history. Apparently, even with a bubble of at least $17 trillion, Republicans were unable to create as many jobs as Clinton or Obama. When you take into account the Bush Recession, which was caused by Republican policies, then minus-1.5 million jobs were created by Republicans. And that’s not the end of it. According to a

I could go on and on about history. Bloomberg studied this, and concluded that, over more than a half century, Democrats have created far more private sector jobs than Republicans. (Source)

But that’s history. What about now? What about the current Republican era. The current incarnations of both parties are not even close on this one. Republicans have been in charge of the House since January 2011, and they have produced hundreds of bills they knew would never pass, including dozens of bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act, bills to kill Medicare, bills to weaken the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, bills to protect oil company profits, and bills to limit women’s reproductive rights.

Given that they were elected in 2010, 2014 and 2016 on a promise to create jobs, where are the goddamn jobs bills, people? Hell, President Obama handed them the greatest opportunity in the world, when he and the Democratic minority in Congress presented them with the American Jobs Act in September 2011. This bill would have invested $447 billion on many initiatives designed to create jobs immediately. It also provided hiring incentives for business. Not only that, but about half of the bill was tax cuts (actually 53%), which were expressly designed to attract Republicans. Yet, eight days after its introduction, Republicans had shelved about 98 percent of the bill, only keeping an initiative to hire veterans. That inititiative would have created at least 3-4 million good paying private sector jobs, primarily to build infrastructure that we need, and they rejected it outright. They even rejected ab attempt by Democrats to carve out a $35 billion provision from the AJA that would have provided local jurisdictions with support, to allow them to keep more government employees, like police, firefighters and teachers, on the payroll. Despite their constant talk about “keeping America safe,” all Republicans really care about is lining the pockets of weapons manufacturers. Unfortunately, all 47 Republicans in the Senate voted against the bill, which means it “lost,” 53-47 (it needed 60 votes to pass). Since then, more than 800,000 public employees have lost their jobs.

 

This is not a new development. While Saint Ronald Reagan is supposedly their idol, he is also their spiritual leader. He gets a lot of credit for bring the country back from the brink, but it was a brink he put us on with his rampant and unwise tax cuts. I order to pay for massive tax cuts for the rich, he cut lots of jobs and gutted job training programs. The entire Republican Party has embraced the concept of “austerity,” to the point that they see every government outlay as “spending” and almost never as “investment.” This is a huge problem, and it has been one for a long time. Unfortunately, austerity can’t create jobs, and it is jobs that drive the economy.

This is how Democrats brought us out of the Great Depression and kept us there; they build a great country and hired people to build it.. They were slow to accept the Keynesian model, but World War II changed everything. In the initial post-War era, until the early 1970s, we built everything we needed and we helped rebuild Europe and Japan. And we became the greatest economy in the history of the world. Now, thanks to Republicans, we are not allowed to think that we can spend our way out of economic doldrums. Somehow, a “free market” that constantly goes through boom and bust cycles is the anchor we should tie ourselves to.

Not long after the American Jobs Act, Democrats and President Obama proposed a $478 billion infrastructure bill that called for massive investment in rebuilding highways nationwide. This was an acknowledgement that the United States, who used to lead the world in infrastructure quality, was now 12th in the world. Bridges were collapsing, the cars of many people, including red state Republicans, were being severely damaged by the road quality and God knows, we needed the jobs.

See, here’s reality. When you build a road, people get jobs building. Then, they spend that money in the community, which creates more jobs. And those people spend their money, which creates more jobs. The Highway Bill would have easily created 1-2 million jobs directly, and quite possibly 10 million jobs through the ripple effect. Yet, Republicans rejected it outright and it took TWO YEARS to get anything passed, even though the American Society of Engineers had noted multiple times that the gas tax, which is earmarked to pay for road maintenance, was insufficient to the tune of about $125 billion PER YEAR. In other words, but the time Republicans finally approved a $305 billion (one time only) Highway Bill, the road system had fallen behind to the tune of $250 billion.

Obviously Democrats care about jobs. These infrastructure bills were expressly designed to invest in jobs and invest in communities. Moreover, Democrats have a job creation pedigree that goes back to the Great Depression. Consider that Republicans considered 5.7 percent unemployment to be “full employment” when Saint Reagan was running the country, but when President Obama was president, the minute unemployment dropped below that of Saint Reagan’s, they complained about the “quality” of the jobs.

At the same time, Republicans rejected every attempt to create better paying jobs. In fact, if you’ll recall, they have been insisting at the top of their lungs that “government cannot create jobs.” This despite the fact that they themselves have government jobs, they oversee millions of government employees and happily use the Defense budget as a jobs program. They champion weapons systems that the Pentagon itself doesn’t want, IF people in their districts either work on the contracts or someone in their district would be impacted by the elimination of that weapons system.

As you can see, Democrats create jobs. Republicans don’t think government can create jobs, so they don’t. However, if you’re still not convinced there’s a difference between the two parties on jobs and income, consider that Ronald Reagan effectively killed the Middle Class, while Bill Clinton started to bring it back,before Dubya killed it again. But there is more:

  • Democrats pander to unions, in part because unions are their biggest base of support. On the other hand, Republicans try to kill unions and everywhere they go, they set up “right to work” laws. Right now, Republicans in the House are working on a plan that would essentially create a “right to work” country.
  • Democrats want to increase the minimum wage, whereas most Republicans think it’s too high. Many think it should be abolished. Here’s a list of minimum wages by state. Look at where red states are, as compared to blue states. (Source)
  • Democrat Barack Obama restored the concept of overtime pay by making sure most employees were paid time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours per week. Republicans just killed that.
  • Most employees nowadays are “at-will,” which means the employer has the advantage in the relationship with their employees. That is an entirely Republican concept.
  • Democrats don’t think any employer should be able to discriminate against anyone for any reason. Republicans still think the employer should be able to choose who they “feel comfortable” working with.

I could go on, but it’s really this simple.

Democrats view job creation as an investment that pays off in the long run. This is why they always create jobs.

Republicans don’t believe government can create jobs, and they see government paying workers as an “expense.” They cannot see job creation as an investment, even though they can see it as a loss if we cancel a weapons system.

If you see both parties as the same on this, please… happy travels back to your home planet or best of luck while recovering from your coma. Although you should know… Republicans want to make sure you can’t get to a doctor…

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