January 19, 2021

Pass on this bill

Posted on 15. Sep, 2011 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics

Last week I heard an echo – not from a lone hiker in the cliffs of New Mexico. It came from the podium of the House of Representatives… from the President of the United States. His words, “Pass this bill,” echoed those chanted by his administration and by the Pelosi-led Congress before the introduction of the Stimulus Plan, the bank/insurance company/automaker’s bailout bill, and the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare).

Just what is it about good governance and cooperation that this administration and the Democrat members of the House and Senate don’t understand? Legislation designed to get bi-partisan support isn’t written behind closed doors nor is it introduced and voted on with 12 hours’ notice in the middle of the night (as was the case with the Healthcare bill). That may be considered acceptable governance in a third-world country, but here it’s just plain legislative thuggery.

The ‘American Jobs Act’ is the latest salvo in the wait and hurry up war waged by the Obama Administration.  Unable to get its act together for nearly two years to prepare a budget for our country, the Administration has shown a remarkable ability to apply this delaying tactic to everything it touches (remember the decisions on troop levels in Afghanistan and the Libyan ‘intervention’?).  Wait and hurry up has become the hallmark of an administration that is expert at hiding the marbles until the eleventh hour. It’s preference for running out the clock is now painfully obvious to all of us with one good eye or ear.

Tactics aside, the American Jobs Bill is a mirage in the middle of the very real desert of unemployment. It’s an underwhelming and underthought bill that reveals an amazing lack of understanding about how jobs are actually created, especially in a recessionary environment.

What’s glaring is what’s NOT in the bill. NO tax holiday or relief for repatriated profits. NO incentives for bringing back manufacturing jobs from overseas (done by letting foreign manufacturing contracts lapse). NO fair and equal treatment of the unemployed, only special treatment of certain segments of the unemployed workforce. (If you’re a teacher, firefighter or construction worker you have good reason to be excited, but if you’re an out-of-work middle manager, you might as well go back to your cribbage game at the unemployment office.)  NO grants for worker re-training, and NO long term tax breaks or incentives for increased exports of U.S.-made products.

What the bill DOES contain is a number of separate elements that have only a tangential relationship to one another and which were probably cobbled together by academics that once studied job creation but never actually did it.  The one big thing that’s missing from the bill is … a fair and balanced way to fund it. Instead, much of the cost of all the wonderful small business-related giveaways will be paid by, you guessed it, the small businesses themselves! Anyone earning over $200K individually or $250K as a couple will cough up more in taxes.

So, just when we thought there might be a glimmer of reasonableness from the White House on stopping the U.S. job hemorrhage, we’re introduced to a new version of voodoo economics.

In addition, the President mentioned that he wouldn’t entertain breaking the bill up into smaller pieces. It’s an all or nothing, take it or leave it offer and it must be passed NOW. Remind me, how is this offer different from all of the other wait and hurry up offers?

- Editor


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