In an op-ed published July 17, E.J. Dionne asked the question that we should all be asking. If jobs are so important, why didn’t democrats do something about jobs when they had the chance? and why isn’t President Obama using the bullypulpit to rally support for a real jobs program? From Dionne’s piece;
“President Obama knows this. “As we’ve seen that federal support for states diminish, you’ve seen the biggest job losses in the public sector,” he said in his July 11 news conference. “So my strong preference would be for us to figure out ways that we can continue to provide help across the board.”
So why not do it? “I’m operating within some political constraints here,” Obama explained, “because whatever I do has to go through the House of Representatives.”
Excuse me, Mr. President, but if you believe in this policy, why not propose it and fight for it? Leadership on jobs is your central job right now. Let the Republicans explain why they want more cops and teachers let go, or local taxes to rise.”
Instead, Barack Obama is having the conversation that Republicans have been dying to have. They’ve been itching at the opportunity to shift the burden of financing America’s operations from the rich to the poor for at least two decades.
But opportunity must meet circumstance in order for worlds to truly collide. The Republicans weren’t about to move full throttle ahead on their agenda unless they had either a Republican in the White House or a Democrat who shared many of their long held resentments toward the working class in the White House. From 2000-2008 they had the former and now they have the latter.
Any President with progressive ideals would recoil at the very notion of shifting the burden of financing this country from those who engineered our financial crisis to those who suffered because of it. Add to that the fact that this burden is being shifted to working people at a time when they can least afford. In our debate on whether or not to extend the Bush Tax Cuts, Republicans defend their position by asserting that this is not the right time to raise taxes. They defend the people they serve.
But what I don’t hear coming from the White House is anyone saying that it’s the wrong time to cut discretionary spending, end New Deal safety nets, or freeze the pay for federal workers. The man we hired to have our back, obviously doesn’t.
It all makes me wonder if Obama is just as anxious to have this conversation, and strip the underpinnings from the poor and middle class, as are the Republicans. If there’s a quantifiable difference between Obama and the Republicans, it’s only at the margins.
- Obama considers new round of US debt, deficit talks (telegraph.co.uk)
- Obama eyes more deficit talks with no deal in sight – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Obama, Republicans not willing to compromise on debt deal (theglobeandmail.com)
- Obama, Claiming the Republican agenda as his own (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)