Monday, September 10, 2012

The result of Obstruction

Third and final post for today (I think).

My favorite economist, Paul Krugman, looks back on a long-lost bill that would have made a difference. The American Jobs Act, proposed by President Obama, was going to be a benchmark for future legislation and a drive to grow jobs, improve the economy, and fight the debt and deficit. It died in Congress, thanks to the obstruction of the Republicans. This is ironic because Republicans tried to make everything about jobs. It's now hypocritical because Republicans have complained about the lackluster job growth and overall recovery from our economic slump. What bother Krugman about this is that, as usual, Republicans are banking on people not remembering or never knowing that they were the ones that blocked the jobs bill in the first place.

We are lagging in our job growth and economic recovery, that's true. But, as I've said before, most of the problem is the gridlock in Washington. Let's take one example. When the last debt ceiling debate was going on, Republicans struck a deal with the White House and Democrats: if they couldn't reach a compromise on the debt ceiling (which shouldn't have needed a compromise at all), then there would be automatic spending cuts to defense and social programs. The idea was that these cuts would be so abhorrent to both parties that they would do whatever it took to avoid them. They didn't, and those cuts are set to happen at the end of this year (that fiscal cliff they keep talking about). Now, after they made this deal, Republicans are backing out by saying that the cuts to defense will cost jobs, despite their age-old view that government spending doesn't create any jobs at all. Meanwhile, Republicans are complaining that Obama put them in this position. That is a lie. They put themselves there, and now they are trying to turn that to a political advantage by lying to the American People about who orchestrated this situation.

The problem with Obstructionism at this time is that it needn't be at all. Republicans, back in the 90's, were more than willing to compromise and work with the President. And look what happened; we had an economic explosion! Yet this crop of conservatives would never dream of actually solving any problems while they don't control the White House. And while they play their political games, our economic recovery suffers. Our country needs both parties and needs them to work together. If we can't have that, then we need new leadership.

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