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February 10, 2013 11:30 AM It’s Easy to Forget a Half-Trillion Dollar Jobs Package

By Elon Green

Try not to chuckle as you read this morning’s Byron York column on President Obama’s State of the Union address. His thesis:

White House spinners are working furiously in the final 72 hours before President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Their job: convince the recession-scarred American public that economic recovery is Obama’s top priority — after everything he has said and done to suggest otherwise.

In York’s telling, the White House spent the last four years ignoring the unemployment crisis and has only addressed it now because “Obama has noticed public opinion.”

Now, I happen to believe that the White House, especially early in the term, did not pay enough attention to unemployment. That’s an entirely valid point to make. But York’s contention — that Obama did nothing on the jobs front — is a lie that, to adopt the campaign metaphor, requires a thorough Etch A Sketching of his memory banks.

I refer, of course, to the American Jobs Act, which was introduced in September 2011 and died on the table, thanks to Republicans, a month later. The failure to pass this $450 billion bill was of massive consequence to the economy in general and jobs in particular. Here’s a taste of what was in the White House bill, via Brother Benen, who wrote about it here:

* Payroll tax breaks for workers and employers

* Tax credit for hiring unemployed veterans

* Modernizing 35,000 schools (FAST Act)

* Sizable infrastructure investments in roads, rail, airports and waterways

* Extended unemployment benefits and new approaches to unemployment insurance, including work-sharing and “Bridge to Work”

You will notice that nowhere in York’s column do the words ‘American Jobs Act’ appear. Let’s give him enough credit to assume the omission is intentional. The man knows his audience; they surely do not have any interest in the conclusion of the Economic Policy Institute, that with the passage of the American Jobs Act “real GDP growth for 2012 would have been 1.4 percentage points higher, bringing growth to 3.4 percent relative to the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline forecast.”

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on February 10, 2013 12:07 PM:

    York is just another highly-compensated dingleberry, clinging for dear life onto to the festering anus that is Wingnut Welfare.

    Like Gingrich is what stupid people think a smart person sounds like, York seems cool to uncool people, because he's got the same head of hair that Warren Beatty had in the 70's.

    And of course he's not going to point out Conservative and Republican intransigence to his audience of Conservatives and Republicans!

    He gets paid his highly-compensated dingleberry salary to NOT point that intransigence out - but to find some cover for it, and point any and all blame for the consequences on the Democratic President, and Democratic members of Congress.

    It wasn't alway true, but I think it's true now - that pretty much ALL Conservatives and Republicans are TRAITORS who value their parties, and their own, power, over the health and welfare of this nation.

    Party over country!!!
    PARTY UBER ALLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gandalf on February 10, 2013 12:14 PM:

    Selective memory is an attribute for conservatives in their minds. Interesting to read the comments to that article. Mostly Obama's a socialist bent on destruction of the American Way.

  • emjayay on February 10, 2013 12:39 PM:

    I don't remember exactly but didn't Congress pass something called a Jobs Bill that cut taxes or something and had nothing to do with jobs?

  • emjayay on February 10, 2013 1:09 PM:

    OK, I read the column and a lot of comments. Isn't the Examiner the free daily branch of the Moonie Times? Most of the links were from the Weekly Standard and the Moonie Times. Virtually all the commenters were Obama hating right wing reactionaries.

    So why read this kind of crap in the first place? It's like watching Fox News. Valuable only to see what they're up to. I'm sure there's a bunch of the same kind of stuff on the Examiner every day.

  • Rick Massimo on February 10, 2013 1:36 PM:

    "The man knows his audience; they surely do not have any interest in the conclusion of the Economic Policy Institute ..."

    They knew that conclusion full well. But increasing GDP and employment would have stepped on the campaign narrative "Everything sux and it's Obama's fault." So they killed it*. Because they love America. Or something.

    *(Of course, in the conservative playbook what happened is that it's all Obama's fault because he proposed a bill that the GOP "couldn't" support. And if this sounds like the language of domestic abuse, well, yeah.)

  • Rick B on February 10, 2013 2:51 PM:

    Is it any surprise that the same political party that is mostly controlled by America's wealthy families and aristocrat wanna-bees funds a set of think tanks to feed propaganda to the media?

    Is it any surprise that along with the think tanks (AEI, CATO Institute, the Discovery Institute, etc.) there is also a broad group of propaganda experts on permanent staff making a career of pushing the think tank excrement into the media? Byron York is a dressed up version of James O'Keefe.

    Is it any surprise that the media itself is filled with outlets for the right-wing excrement such as FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, etc.?

    These are all, of course, related. Similarly the big risk-taking Wall Street Banks are closely connected because much of the money they use for their operations is the investment money that supports those same aristocrat wannabees.

    Those aristocrat wannabees look back to the pre-revolution French Aristocrats who were free of all French taxes and who lived off of unearned rent from mostly subsistence French farmers. The aristocrat wannabees fear democracy as the current version of socialism designed to take away their money and power. The difference today is that people like Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, and Sheldon Edelston live on unearned money that flows to them as investment returns. They perform no real economic value-creating functions any more than a pre-revolution French aristocrat added value to the farms he exploited for unearned wealth.

    The conservative Republican party has become the political arm of this same cabal of power and wealth. The Republicans no longer perform any significant function other than as servants to the aristocrat wannabees.