Free Markets, Free People

jobs bill

Harry Reid: Crony jobs bill to shore up the political base

If you’ve ever wanted a good argument against seniority as a good way to pick leaders, Harry Reid is your poster boy.  The Nevada Democratic Senator and House Majority leader manages to make himself look stupid on any number of occasions during a legislative year.  His latest:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday indicated Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private-sector jobs, and that this is why Senate Democrats are pushing a bill aimed at shoring up teachers and first-responders.

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Really?  That’s the sector “government” needs to worry about more because “private-sector jobs have been doing just fine?”   Where in the world, other than the Senate cloak room, has this man been?

What this is, and anyone who can’t figure this out doesn’t deserve to be in a political discussion, is just another version of cronyism.   Teachers unions and government unions are where you find the Democrat base. This is throwing taxpayer money to that base in order to shore it up for the upcoming election.  Nothing more.

He has access to your tax dollars and spending them in this way benefits his party.  Screw the country, he has an election to win.  Of course he’s also the Senate leader who hasn’t offered a budget in over 900 days.  That’s dereliction of duty.

Reid reiterated his emphasis on creating government jobs by saying Democrats are looking to “put hundreds of thousands of people back to work teaching children, have more police patrolling our streets, firefighters fighting our fires, doing the rescue work that they do so well … that’s our priority.” He said Republicans are calling the bill a “failure” because they are “using a different benchmark for success than we are.”

Yeah, they’re using the private sector where jobs generate revenue for taxes to pay for all the nonsense Reid spouts. 

Government workers are not producers in the sense of the production we need to get the economy going.   But they are voters.   This is an attempt to keep them in the Democratic corral long enough to get Democrats re-elected.  Then Harry probably won’t care very much again.

Remember, when Obama was calling for his jobs bill to be given priority, Harry Reid was on the Senate floor expounding on the virtue of  … bike paths (and, naturally, calling for government to pay for them).

Ever get the idea that we’re all now serfs on a huge plantation paying for the whims of our “leaders”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Democrats have problem with Obama Job’s package

The plan, one supposes, was to play some politics with a speech and put the GOP on the defensive.  Then, submit the job’s package and finally get what the President has been after for three years.  A tax increase on the rich.  In fact, as it turns out, that is the entire funding mechanism for his $400 billion spending spree – to be collected later, of course.  No reason to change the modus operandi of this administration and actually pay for a spending program now with cuts in other areas.

But it appears his plan hit an unexpected problem.  Instead of being able to lay his blame at the doorstep of the Republican House and point at them on the campaign trail as the people who’ve caused all this misery and turmoil (yeah, I know, I’m just thinking about how he’d present it … and I’m being a bit sarcastic to boot), he’ll have to include his own party in the mix.  Seems they’re no more happy about the proposal than the Republicans:

President Obama anticipated Republican resistance to his jobs program, but he is now meeting increasing pushback from his own party. Many Congressional Democrats, smarting from the fallout over the 2009 stimulus bill, say there is little chance they will be able to support the bill as a single entity, citing an array of elements they cannot abide. ‘I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation,’ Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said in an interview Wednesday, joining a growing chorus of Democrats who prefer an à la carte version of the bill despite White House resistance to that approach. ‘For that reason alone I think we should break it up.’”

Harry Truman he ain’t.  So there goes the claim from Obama that the Republicans are nasty old obstructionists who are only interested in protecting the “rich”(all those “rich” folks who make $200,000 to $250,000 a year.  Obama has decided that’s enough).  He’ll now have to include Democrats:

Republicans have focused their attack on the tax increases that would help pay for the spending components of the bill. But Democrats, as is their wont, are divided over their objections, which stem from Mr. Obama’s sinking popularity in polls, parochial concerns and the party’s chronic inability to unite around a legislative initiative, even in the face of Republican opposition. Some are unhappy about the specific types of companies, particularly the oil industry, that would lose tax benefits. . . . A small but vocal group dislikes the payroll tax cuts for employees and small businesses. . . . There are also Democrats, some of them senators up for election in 2012, who oppose the bill simply for its mental connection to the stimulus bill, which laid at least part of the foundation for the Republican takeover of the House in 2010.”

It’s that bad taste in their mouth that just won’t go away and they’re not at all inclined to refresh it.  After all, they have an election to wage next year and things aren’t looking so hot right now.  Nails, coffin, some assembly required.

It is also telling that the Presidential ploy is so obvious while also being so out of step with the political reality of the situation.  Is Obama playing X-box at night instead of keeping abreast of the political situation in the country?  Or does he really think everyone else is so stupid they just won’t pick up on these rather amateurish ploys of his?

Not just the NY Times has picked up on this:

Speaking to NBC’s Chuck Todd on MSNBC this morning, Joe Scarborough observed, “Their problem is though of course, Chuck, this morning, the Democrats are the ones that are in open revolt . . . .” Todd replied, “That’s right. It’s the Democrats.”

And:

It’s open season on President Barack Obama — and that’s just from members of his own party.

And:

President Barack Obama’s plans to pay for his jobs legislation are facing a cool reception from some House Democrats…

And finally:

I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama has proposed, as well as the actual effectiveness some of these policies will have when it comes to creating jobs.

That would be newly elected WV Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Yes, the attempt to channel Harry Truman has turned into a channeling of Jimmy Carter.  And even a step down like that is  a step up for Barack Obama.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Obama’s “paid for” job’s plan — nothing but tax increases

I know, you’re wondering, how does Obama plan to pay for his $450 billion plus job plan, right.  Because in the speech he made the claim this was all going to be “paid for”, remember.

Well here’s the plan:

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew outlined President Barack Obama’s plan to pay for his $447 billion jobs plan — mostly through tax increases.

Lew said itemized tax deductions and exemptions for those making more than $200,000, and families earning more than $250,000 would be cut — raising about $400 billion to pay for Obama’s jobs plan over 10 years.

A change to bring more hedge fund earnings under normal tax rules as opposed to carried interest rates would raise another $18 billion.

The new tax rules would not take effect until January 2013, Lew said. Obama is not offering any spending cuts to pay for the jobs plan.

The rest of the total would be raised by cutting subsidies for the oil and gas industries to bring in another $40 billion, and change the depreciation rules for corporate jets. All told, Obama would cut $467 billion to pay for his plan.

Lew added that the White House doesn’t anticipate that raising some taxes on high income earners would result in the loss of jobs.

Gotta love it.  No politics in this.  Nothing happens until January 2013 (how convenient).  And the changes will pay for his spending now in 10 years.   Wow, where have we heard that before?  More debt boosting smoke and mirrors.  More of the same old tired agenda.

And of course, we all know that no future Congress is obligated to any of this.  And you wonder why there are those of us out here shouting about paying for something now vs the future?

Also, it is a litany of those interests and demographics which reside on the Obama “enemies list”.  The rich and the fossil fuel industry.  It is the usual class warfare politics. To sell this Obama has to attempt to demonize the rich and the oil companies – even more than he’s done so already.  As everyone knows, I’m all for ending subsidies for everyone, but what Obama calls subsides in this case are tax breaks all businesses in all sectors take.  They’re not direct subsidies at all (regardless of what the press or the White House choose to call them).  This is selective taxation of the type that is meant to be punitive.

So here’s the money part of the great plan.  It is absolutely nothing the Republicans have supported before.  It should be Dead On Arrival.  Obviously, knowing the Republicans won’t support such a funding mechanism, President Obama is not at all interested in a compromise jobs bill.  Or bi-partisanship.  He’s put a completely unpalatable poison pill in the bill and will now try to paint the GOP as intransigent obstructionists.

And, given the fact that taking those tax breaks away from the oil and gas industry will cost them an extra $40 billion it’s hard not to believe it won’t cost jobs.  Note Lew didn’t address that point concerning the removal of the tax break.  He’s only claiming that in regards to the so-called “rich”.

Business as usual.  Tax and spend.  And as usual it is spend now an collect later.  Somehow we never get around to the spending cuts, do we?  $14 trillion dollars of debt say “no”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

House “Jobs” Bills – Addiction To Pork Wins Over Fiscal Responsibility

You remember the headlines Senate Majority Leader Reid got last week when he threw out a bipartisan jobs bill effort crafted by Sen’s Baucus and Grassley with a price tag of about $100 billion for a very scaled down version costing$15 billion?

Not to worry – the House’s version of the job bill is much more like the Baucus/Grassley version than the Reid bill – and even more. In fact it comes in at 10x times the Reid bill and has the usual cornucopia of porky spending and subsidies for perpetual money losing programs we’ve all come to expect from our out-of-touch legislators. This list is classic – subsidies for programs of marginal worth with many completely unconnected with jobs or job creation as well as the usual unemployment benefit extensions. And don’t forget the Medicare “doc fix” – critical to creating jobs [/sarc] – which also finds its way into the bill. Here’s the list:

* $27.5 billion for roads and bridges
* $8.4 billion for public transit
* $800 million for Amtrak
* $500 million for airport improvement projects
* $100 million for maritime interests
* $2.1 billion in Clean Water funding
* $715 million for Army Corps of Engineers projects
* $2 billion in Energy Innovation Loans
* $4.1 billion in School Renovation Grants
* $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund
* $1 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund
* $23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund for states
* $1.18 billion for law enforcement jobs
* $500 million for firefighters
* $200 million for AmeriCorps
* $500 million for Summer Youth Employment programs
* $300 million for the College Work Study program
* $270 million for Parks and Forestry Workers
* $750 million for competitive grants in “High Growth Fields”
* $41 billion to extend expanded jobless benefits for six months
* $12.3 billion to extend COBRA health insurance aid for jobless workers
* $354 million in Small Business Loans
* $2.3 billion in expanded Child Tax Credits
* $305 million to keep certain people eligible for federal aid programs
* $23.5 billion to extend a higher federal match for some Medicaid payments to doctors

If you carefully peruse the list you realize this is “Stimulus II” and will have just about the same effect “Stimulus I” – drive us into a deeper debt hole and create nothing in terms of jobs.  Small business creates about 80% of the jobs in America.  The $150 billion bill sets aside $354 million for Small Business Loans.  $354 million.  Even Summer Youth Employment programs got more.  Yup – a real “serious” jobs bill.

A poll today said that only 6% of Americans believe the $787 billion stimulus bill (which was promised to keep unemployment down to 8%) has had any positive effect whatsoever in creating jobs.  It should be clear that such messages from the unwashed masses has still yet to penetrate the “clueless bubble” many members of the House continue to live under inside the beltway.

~McQ

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Podcast for 14 Feb 09

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael  and Dale discuss the Republican desire not to be seen as the “Party of No”; China, the Euro, and the Dollar; and what seems to be a fundamental shift in the assertions of the AGW crowd.  The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2009, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Screw Bi-Partisanship: King Harry Reid Edition

Bi-partisanship has become the new battle cry of the left, at least for PR purposes.  They no longer have the power to pass anything without at least one Republican vote in the Senate.  So instead of purposely excluding Republicans as they have for a year (and blaming their own failings on GOP “obstructionism”) they now have to make a show of calling for bi-partisanship and hope they’ll be able to pick off at least one hapless GOP Senator.  If they don’t, then they can again blame the Republicans for “obstruction” instead of their failure to find a suitable compromise necessary to pass the legislation in question.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Pluto) did the GOP a favor, although I’m sure Republicans don’t realize it yet. He shot down a “jobs bill” that was the result of bi-partisan work by Democratic Senator Max Baucus and Republican Senator Charles Grassley.

Cost? Over $100 billion. Contents – Pension bailouts, handouts for chicken farmers in Arkansas, an extension of the anti-terror Patriot Act, and a number of other little goodies. Had that bill passed, Republicans would have again earned the derision of the public for “not getting it”. It would be seen as “business as usual” despite the expressed anger of the public over such handouts, bailouts and deficit spending.

Reid instead has decided to unilaterally rewrite the bill to include only 4 things:

* A new tax credit for hiring workers
* Extra money for highway projects
* Small Business tax breaks
* Build America Bonds

The price tag? A reported $15 billion dollars. The reaction from most of the left and the Paul Krugman’s of the world is going to be brutal. Of course the Blanche Lincoln “reelect me” aid to Arkansas chicken farmers, the Chuckie Schumer Pension Bailout along with all the other goodies that made up the remaining $85 billion in the original bill aren’t going away. They’ll be considered in different legislation. That’s to say, no one in the Senate seems to have listened to a thing the polls or public have been hammering them about for months. It is indeed business as usual.

Let’s be clear here, though. Harry Reid want’s a “clean bill” on this not because he’s changing his ways, not because that’s what the American people want and not because he’s a smart politician.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is rewriting a jobs bill after Democrats complained of too many concessions to Republicans.

Yeah, that’s right – King Harry just saved the Republicans from themselves (at least for the moment). You see, there was just too much of that bi-partisanship stuff.

~McQ

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The “Jobs” Bill Sham

Yes, another in a long line of spending bills which has a purported purpose it won’t accomplish.  What it will accomplish is an increase in the debt.

None other than Nancy Pelosi is troubled by the fact that it appears the proposed “jobs” bill being rushed through Congress doesn’t create, uh, jobs.

The White House session with congressional leaders was supposed to be a step toward bipartisanship, with a focus on jobs. But Pelosi made it clear that there’s disagreement, even among Democrats.

White House economic advisers Christina Romer and Larry Summers defended the administration’s proposal to give employers a $5,000 credit for each new worker they hire as well as help with Social Security taxes.

Pelosi countered that no one she’s consulted believes that the plan will actually lead to the creation of new jobs, sources said.

“She questioned the efficacy of it,” one Democratic aide said.

For once, Pelosi is right – any jobs created will be at the margins. In fact, the centerpiece of the “jobs” bill is – wait for it – and extension of unemployment benefits.

And, of course, you remember the big “we’re concerned about the deficit” announcement not long ago where Congressional Democrats again said they were instituting PAYGO (a means of forcing Congress to pay for new spending by cutting the budget elsewhere or raising taxes) as a means of controlling it? Yeah, except for this boondoggle. Here’s from the last page of the draft bill:

(a) IN GENERAL.–One-half of the amounts in each of titles V and VI are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 4(g) of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, and designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 403(a) of S. Con. Res. 13 (111th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010.

In case you’re wondering what titles V and VI are, Jamie Dupree fills us in:

Title V of the jobs bill deals with expiring tax credits and tax breaks known as “tax extenders” – which Congress constantly renews every year or two, always resisting talk of making them permanent.

Those provisions are said to be worth about $33 billion, so one half of that would go to the deficit.

Title VI of the draft bill centers around extended jobless benefits and extra health (COBRA) provisions for the unemployed. That’s another big chunk of money.

The estimated total for the bill is $104 billion with little if anything in it which will actually create jobs.

~McQ

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