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On September 8, 2011, the President announced to the American people through a Joint Session of Congress, his plan for putting America back to work. Before he submitted the entire bill a week later, many in the Republican Party including Republican Presidential candidates began to tear it apart. One of the strong attributes that the Republican members of Congress have is that they all stick to the same Talking Points regardless of how ridiculous, misleading or accurate the information is. Not so with some congressional members of the Democratic Party. Although the Republican Party is known for their obstructionism since Obama was elected, would you believe that there are whiners in the Democratic Party? I believe that the whining started when the Democrats held majorities in the Senate and House during the Health Care Bill debate especially on the inclusion of a “public option” in the Bill. Several Democrats opposed the Health Care legislation because they were up for reelection in districts that apparently were not supportive of the new Health Care Law. Some who opposed the Bill were not reelected in 2010 anyway so it really didn’t matter.
The whining continued during the Debt Limit debate this past August. In fact, all eleven (11) Ohio House Democrats voted against the Debt Limit Bill using excuses like:”This is a job killing bill that puts our nation’s economy at risk. I can’t in good faith tell my constituents that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are safe under this plan because we don’t know what will happen;” “It will not create jobs and in fact will be a further downdraft on recovery;” “We could have avoided this hostage-taking if the President chose to apply his expertise in Constitutional law to invoke the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling. Instead, we are taking America from the New Deal of 1932 to the Raw Deal of 2011.” The whining goes continued.
“Terrible,” Democratic Senator Jim Webb told POLITICO when he was asked about the president’s ideas on how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. There are other ways to get there.”
Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu said, “[T]hat offset is not going to fly, and he should know that” referring to Obama’s proposed elimination of oil and gas subsidies. Landrieu wants to continue the subsidies for oil and gas companies in her state. Remember, Landrieu also voted to oppose the President’s Health Care legislation. I guess she gets lots of political contributions from the oil and gas industries in Louisiana during her reelection campaigns.
Another Whiner is Delaware Senator Tom Carper. I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan,” said Carper, discussing proposals to slash the debt by $4 trillion by overhauling entitlement programs and raising revenue through tax reforms. “That’s better than everything else the president is talking about — combined.”
Of course, one of the biggest whiners is West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who says there’s “good, bad and ugly” in the jobs bill proposed by President Obama, and he sees mostly ugly. “I listened respectfully to the president give his speech on the jobs proposal,” Manchin said. “I think we all can agree we need to do something about jobs in this country, but I have some serious reservations about his proposals that night in his speech.” Manchin is someone that I would classify as a “pretend” Democratic based on his overall non-support for the Party’s policies since he was elected. He also doesn’t believe that the rich should pay their fair share in taxes. Manchin said, “Taxes are now lower than ever if not non-existent for everybody, and no one want to use an increase in revenue to solve our deficit issue.”
His most appalling statements for me were his comments on the extension of unemployment benefits under the President’s plan. Manchin questioned the $50 billion to extend unemployment benefits under the plan, and wonders if government funds wouldn’t be better spent training the workforce for jobs. During a recent interview Manchin said, “I know right now we could hire in West Virginia – for good mining jobs – about 700 people,” he said. “I talked to another person with a repair shop – he said he could hire 25. “ “So for all those people who have expended all their extensions for unemployment – if we’re going to continue an unemployment compensation – it should be done in the most compassionate way to make sure we are training for the jobs in West Virginia. If we don’t do that, then we haven’t done any good for anybody.” Since the unemployment rate in West Virginia is only 8.1%, a full percentage point below the National average, I guess Manchin can afford to whine about the extension of unemployment benefits. Unfortunately there are more than 14 million unemployed Americans who would benefit from the President’ plan.
Former President Bill Clinton praised Obama’s American Jobs Act during a recent appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, arguing that Republican opposition to letting the plan add to the federal deficit is hypocritical, given the unchecked war spending of the last decade. If Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on the rich to pay for the payroll tax cut Obama proposed, Clinton said, then Congress should declare the current economic climate an “emergency” and cut the payroll tax without paying for it.
As President Obama stated during his address Americans Job Bill, this legislation should not be controversial since everything has received bipartisan support in the past. Remember, both parties have said that job creation is their first priority and yet many Republicans and even some Democrats are bulking at the President’s plan that would accomplish that goal. While I can understand the Republicans’ resistance to the proposal because their stated number one priority is not to create jobs but to defeat Obama’s reelection, whining Democrats have joined in the fray. If Democrats expect to regain control of the House, maintain their Senate majority and reelect Obama, they must present a consistent unified front. But, that’s just my take.
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