Republicans Blast Obama’s Job Speech… Before He Even Gives It

President Obama, realizing the economy is weak and many Americans need jobs, will be giving a speech on Thursday announcing his plans to create more jobs. The present-day Republicans — who are under the impression that their job is not to improve the country, but to make life difficult for Obama and reject everything he does –have already criticized his speech before he has given it. Reports are that Obama is seeking to spend $300 billion in federal money to improve American infrastructure such as roads and schools in order to create jobs. While the specific details of the speech are not yet known, that has not stopped Republicans from criticizing it: Jefferson Sessions, a Republican Senator from Alabama, said “At some point this county gets to a position where you cannot continue to borrow without damaging the economy,” and said the Republicans will oppose any plan to increase spending without additional spending cuts.

The current Republican ideology is completely illogical and flawed. They insist on reducing the government debt, so they demand cuts to spending, but refuse to raise taxes. If a person is in serious debt, common advice for that person would be to take another job to raise more revenue. When the government is in serious debt, and the Republicans demand to cut it, they refuse to raise more revenues through taxes. It is beyond irrational. The government needs to collect more revenue if it wants to reduce its deficit.

Beyond the government refusing to collect more revenue, they continue to demand more spending cuts and refuse any new government spending. The Republicans have no solution for the jobs problem except to further reduce corporate taxes! That’s honestly the Republicans’ solution to the jobs problem. Instead of raising taxes to offset the deficit problem, the Republicans want to reduce taxes to create jobs? As if the reduction of corporate taxes will inspire any corporations to hire any more employees; the goal of businesses is to make as much money as possible while spending as little as possible. They will not hire employees they do not need simply because of they are paying lower taxes.

The economy is stagnant: consumers are not spending because they are afraid for their jobs and lack of money, so this lack of consumption has diminished the demand for commodities, and the lack of demand has reduced the need for production, which thereby reduces the need for businesses to hire any more. It’s cyclical: as consumption reduces, so does the demand, and then so does production, which causes more reduction in jobs, returning to the starting place, where consumption is increasingly reduced, and the cycle repeats itself. This is the exact same cycle that took place during the Great Depression.

For the government to fix this economic problem, they need to spend publicly to create jobs. Businesses alone are not going to fix this — they are part of the problem. In an ideal world, we would not need government involvement to fix the economy, but — as I laid out in my last post –capitalism needs to be regulated because capitalists are only looking out for how to make the most money, which does not benefit the country as a whole. Yes, more government spending will increase the national debt in the short term, but it will create jobs, which will lead to more consumption, which will then increase demand, allowing businesses to increase production and hire more people, leading to more consumption, and raising more revenue for the government.

The problem with government spending is not from spending in public sectors. When the United States spends $700 billion every year on the military, occupies two foreign nations for close to a decade, spends billions every year on a failed War on Drugs, continually builds new prisons and imprisons millions of non-violent offenders,, and donates billions every year to disloyal allies, that is where the excessive spending comes from. Those do not create jobs. Spending money on schools, streets, libraries, museums, public transportation, etc. creates jobs, improves the economy, and improves our nation’s infrastructure and culture.

At some point, I expect some Republican to stand up and renounce what is happening in the current Party; in the past, I have often disagreed with them, but currently, it goes beyond that — they are simply irrational, and some Republican needs to stand up against it.

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Rick Perry and the Return to the Gilded Age

If the George W. Bush administration was neo-conservative, are the Tea Party “Gilded Age” retro-conservatives? That’s the way it seems. It was only a few years ago that the neo-conservatives of the Republican Party who, unlike traditional conservatives, made the government bigger and increased spending, while also pushing for an aggressive military strategy. With the election of Barack Obama, the neo-conservative movement seemed to be replaced by the Tea Party movement, which decided to attack Obama for everything possible, from questioning his birth certificate, his religion, his radicalism, and blamed him for the economic collapse that happened under Bush’s regime. The Tea Party decided anything the government does is bad, and while I oppose the government getting involved in every minute detail of our lives, the unfortunate reality is that the government is needed in a capitalist society to protect the people from the power of corporations. Traditionally, conservatives are reactionary: they want to protect the status quo; the neo-conservatives were unusual in that they wanted to change the status quo, but without progression; the Tea Party conservatives are simply bizarre in that they seem to want to return to the laissez-faire capitalism of the late nineteenth century (known as the “Gilded Age”).

We saw what unrestricted capitalism did during the Gilded Age: with the rise of industrial capitalism, the few who owned the means of production gained an extreme amount of wealth by exploiting laborers, forcing them to work excessive hours in unsanitary and dangerous working conditions, paying them below the necessary amount to survive, and refusing to recognize or negotiate with any labor union that tried to protect the workers; meanwhile, the capitalist elite then used their wealth to influence politics and essentially gain control of the government as the majority of Americans and the working class suffered at the hands of it. The latest poll that I saw among Republican presidential candidates has Rick Perry leading all candidates, and Perry is someone who criticized all the government reforms of the twentieth century that attempted to curb the power of the capitalist elite over the American majority.

The Republican Party in the late nineteenth century, like the Republican Party today, favored big business, and the Republicans won almost every presidency in the late nineteenth century. The Party practiced a laissez-faire attitude that allowed businesses to run rampant, leading to large amounts of corruption and bribery. In essence, the capitalist elite — including millionaires such as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie — were left unchecked, and when laborers organized unions to protect themselves and earn better rights, the government continually took the side of the capitalists against the unions, which often led to violence as the government forcefully broke up strikes. It was not until the Progressive Era that the government decided to limit the powers of corrupt corporations. Republican president Theodore Roosevelt broke his party-line in the early twentieth century and was the first president to realize that unchecked capitalism provided: unsanitary conditions and unfair labor practices for workers; that food and drugs went un-inspected and had no standards to them — making them unhealthy and dangerous; that as corporations grew they became monopolies that swallowed up all competition; that corporations had no concern for the survival of the environment; and that the rich did not equally share in the burden of taxes. As a result, the government under Roosevelt began to break up monopolies (“trustbusters”), regulate large businesses, protect the environment, extend rights to workers and unions, create the Meat Inspection Acts and the Pure Food and Drug Acts, and Roosevelt first introduced the idea of federal income tax and inheritance tax, which both targeted the rich, although they did not pass until after his presidency. Roosevelt had plenty of faults during his presidency, especially in his foreign policy, but he was the first president to recognize the inherent problems that come from the excesses of capitalism and the need to regulate them. His cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, would go further regulating capitalism during the New Deal, but it was during the Progressive Era that Americans finally saw reforms in capitalism.

Now Rick Perry wants to overturn everything the Progressive Era and the New Deal accomplished, essentially letting corporations go unchecked and return to the practices of the late nineteenth century. According to Perry’s book, as detailed here, Perry believes “Ever since the dawn of the so-called Progressive movement over a century ago, liberals have used every tool at their disposal — including notably the Supreme Court — to wage a gradual war on the Constitution and the American way of life.” As a result, Perry calls into question the Constitutionality of: Social Security, Medicare, federal laws on food safety, ban on child labor, minimum wages, and environmental protection laws (again from the story linked above). Perry literally wants to return to the laws of the Gilded Age with a “hands off” government that does nothing but serve as a military. Oh, and I assume provide us morality too, since he’s a Christian fundamentalist; he claims gay marriage should be decided by the state and there should be a federal amendment banning it. Way to be consistent, Perry. Anyway, capitalism is too corrupt to not have a government regulate it; Perry wants to revoke over a century worth’s of reforms that have tried — and only with limited success, but better than before — to protect the American people from the power of corporations. If the government cannot enforce a minimum wage or safe working conditions, what is the motive for corporations to enact them on their own? They won’t because it costs them extra money. If the government cannot prevent corporations from dumping toxic wastes into the ocean, do you trust that corporations will properly dispose of it out of their own good will? Perhaps the scariest thing is that corporations continue to have a major influence on American elections, and someone like Perry will appear very attractive to corporations because of his hope to remove the government from the economy altogether. America, we tried that before, and it failed. Let us not go down that road again. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to vote for this guy; revisiting the Gilded Age would only benefit about 1% of Americans, and harm the other 99%.

I never thought I’d say this before, but Texas, I almost kind of liked your previous governor better. Did I really just say that? This is depressing — I need a drink.