Cynical Synapse

Sun, 21 Mar 2010

Obama Going for Jobs Trifecta

Filed under: Bailout, Budget, Congress, Economy, Government, Medicine, Politics, Society, Stimulus, Taxes, Unemployment — cynicalsynapse @ 10:30 pm

stimulus signs

On 18 March, Pres. Obama signed what’s been called the jobs bill into law. Touted at $38 billion, it’s really closer to $100 billion in cost over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Besides it’s so-called jobs provisions, it also includes a $60 billion extension of unemployment coverage, an obvious back-to-work program if ever there was one. Titled the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010, the bill’s touted tax breaks are really just extensions of already existing breaks and there’s nothing uniquely job-creating in the law.

Earlier, there was the so-called stimulus bill. Officially titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus package was supposed to “create or save” 3-4 million jobs. The national unemployment rate was 8.1% in February 2009 when the Stimulus bill was signed into law. For February 2010, the national unemployment rate was 9.7%. I’m not a statistics whiz, but it seems pretty clear to me that more people are unemployed this year than before passing the Stimulus package. More jobs would likely have been created had the Stimulus money been put to better use.

unemployment line

so, the Stimulus bill has seen job loss rather than job creation, no matter what anyone claims. In February 2009, there were 12.5 million unemployed. With all the jobs “created or saved” by the Stimulus package, February 2010 unemployment stood at 14.9 million and 9.7%. I’m thinking that’s not an improvement.

Next up, and coming to a vote in the House, perhaps as I write, is health care reform, based on the Senate bill and a House “reconciliation” measure. Some have argued health care reform is also a jobs creation bill. This has become a “do or die” bill, as if this is the only opportunity the country will have to fix health care. I don’t think anyone disagrees there are issues with health care. The problem is the Senate bill is a Frankenstein’s monster of vote-buying and gerrymandering. Never mind whether Congress has the authority to require citizens to buy health care insurance. And then there’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) saying health care overhaul will create 4 million jobs. She must be spending a little too much time with that medical marijuana. As we approach the final hours, it sounds like the Wicked Witch of the West has gathered the necessary votes to pass health care reform.

While some, such as Pelosi, claim health care reform will create jobs, others claim health care reform is a jobs killer. In fact, Caterpillar Corp. says health care overhaul would cost them $100 million in the first year. I lived in Illinois during times when Caterpillar was struggling. So, if they’re concerned, I’m concerned. And it makes me wonder why the domestic automakers aren’t speaking out, except 2 of 3 are wholly owned subsidiaries of the government.

health care gone to the apes

Let’s see. Billions spent on job creation under Stimulus I didn’t work. The jobs bill under “mini-Stimulus” is actually nothing new for tax credits but counters job creation with extending unemployment benefits.

So, after all this hope and change, why would you support the Stimulus bill, the jobs bill, or health care overhaul? Seems to me Obama is playing a zero-sum game, at best.

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