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October 20, 2011 2:40 PM A simple choice on jobs

By Steve Benen

It’s probably safe to assume the latest jobs bill will die in the Senate, today or tomorrow, following the latest in a never-ending series of Republican filibusters. But it’s worth clarifying the nature of the choice facing lawmakers.

On the table is a plan that would save or create hundreds of thousands of jobs through state aid, boosting teachers, police officers, and firefighters. It would be paid for, not through the kind of deficit financing Republicans pushed in the Bush era, but with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires.

It leaves senators in both parties with a choice: create jobs or shield the very wealthy from paying just a little more in taxes.

But Greg Sargent had a clever idea: what would the impact be on the states represented by on-the-fence senators or GOP “moderates” who would, under normal circumstances, consider legislation like this? As Greg discovered, the impact on workers in those states would he very positive, and the impact on wealthy taxpayers would be minimal.

* Nebraska, home to Senator Ben Nelson: The aid proposal would provide $176 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Nebraska taxpayers.

* Montana, home to Senator Jon Tester: The aid proposal would provide over $90 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Montana taxpayers.

* West Virginia, home to Senator Joe Manchin: The aid proposal would provide over $162 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,600 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of West Virginia taxpayers.

* Maine, home to senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins: The aid proposal would provide over $117 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Maine taxpayers.

* Tennessee, home to senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: The aid proposal would provide over $596 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 9,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Tennessee taxpayers.

These pesky details — also known as “pertinent facts” — probably won’t sway any votes. But it’s worth appreciating the fact that opponents of these job-creation proposals have run out of excuses. They can’t complain about the deficit; they can’t complain about the impact on small businesses; they can’t complain (as Snowe did this week) about the administration failing to act with a sense of “urgency” on jobs; they can’t complain about efficacy, since we know exactly what this bill would do if approved.

And as Greg noted, they certainly can’t object on the grounds that the jobs bill is a bad deal for their constituents.

If reality had any meaning at all, this vote would be practically unanimous. Instead, it’s going to fail. If Americans aren’t satisfied with this outcome, they’re going to have to say so.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • T2 on October 20, 2011 2:49 PM:

    I agree with your last paragraph.
    Tomorrow, maybe we can all count how many newspapers say "Obama Jobs Bill Fails on Bipartisan Vote Congress" vs "GOP Kills Jobs Bill".

  • Mark-NC on October 20, 2011 2:57 PM:

    "have run out of excuses"

    Oh please. If there isn't a real one, they are creative liars.

  • SW on October 20, 2011 2:57 PM:

    Amazing what a dick Tester turned out to be. No excuse for it either. You can have a conservative constituency. On an issue like this, leadership and communication skills are what it is about. Either this guy just doesn't get it or he is allowing a bone headed fealty to a failed ideology to cloud his judgment. Either way, he is unfit to lead. Of course the alternative put up by the Republicans will be worse. But that doesn't matter. This sort of failure needs to have consequences associated with it. I will work to defeat this man.

  • hedda Peraz on October 20, 2011 3:02 PM:

    Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford.
    A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free.
    Lincoln was self educated.

  • Lefty on October 20, 2011 3:04 PM:

    You give an actual number for how many education jobs would be supported, but use a percentage for how many millionaires would be affected. How do those percentages translate into raw numbers?

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on October 20, 2011 3:07 PM:

    A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free.

    Except most cities are having to defund and close libraries ...you know sharing books is socialist. If you can't afford to buy them its your own fault . (See Cain, Herman)

  • Lefty on October 20, 2011 3:07 PM:

    My bad. The raw numbers are in the source. Always read the link!

  • bdop4 on October 20, 2011 3:15 PM:

    "Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford. A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free. Lincoln was self educated." - hedda Peraz

    Right. And if this country had maintained that attitude over the years, we'de still be living in the age of Lincoln.

    I'm hoping that comment is snark, because it's spectacularly stupid if it isn't.

  • j on October 20, 2011 3:17 PM:

    Remember when the republicans wanted to vote to defund
    Obama's intervention in Libya,and also Mittens wrote a book
    saying ObamA waas coddling them, the GOP at that time were flip flopping over the vote, to hold Obama hostage, they will never learn who is the smartest person in the room.

  • stormskies on October 20, 2011 3:20 PM:

    Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford.

    *********

    but we can 'afford' allowing corporations to pay no taxes, giving subsidies to the oil industry, and all the tax loopholes that allow the rich to become ever richer ...

    this country can no longer 'afford' any of this .. it can afford the millionaires and billionaires to contribute their fair share for the common good which means teachers, firefighters, cops, public service workers, programs that help the poor, the disabled, and the elderly and so on............

    the out of control casino form of capitalism that this country has degenerated into now requires for both parents to work just to get by .. so they are not available to home school anymore ........

  • slf on October 20, 2011 3:21 PM:

    Excellent, simple, clear, quick, instantly convincing. Thanks, Steve. Your words to Electorate Ears.

  • slf on October 20, 2011 3:22 PM:

    Excellent, simple, clear, quick, instantly convincing. Thanks, Steve. Your words to Electorate Ears.

  • doubtful on October 20, 2011 3:22 PM:

    Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford.

    Just because mouth breathers on the right have decided this is a fact doesn't make it so. As long as we can afford to occupy sovereign nations and allow billionaires and mega-corporations to skimp on their taxes, that argument simply doesn't hold water.

    It's a question of priorities, and mine included well paid and teachers, modern infrastructure and health care.

    Lincoln was self educated.

    He was also ultimately an advocate of strong centralized government and overstepped the boundaries of Presidential power numerous times. What's your point? Do you really believe the country a static thing? Even the founders were smart enough to admit they were not perfect, a fact so many of those who profess to worship them today conveniently ignore.

    A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free.

    Emphasis mine, no further comment necessary.

  • Sister Artemis on October 20, 2011 3:29 PM:

    "Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford. A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free. Lincoln was self educated." - hedda Peraz

    An education is more than books. More than assembling a pile of information. Education involves action, interaction, analysis, and an awareness of a changing world. Books are great, libraries are essential, and home education can be well-done. But schools bring together students in groups, which offers more than absorbing information in isolation.

  • Josef K on October 20, 2011 3:41 PM:

    From hedda Peraz at 3:02 PM:

    A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries. For free.

    Exactly what kind of education do you think can be gained from unstructured, self-directed study of whatever meager offerings a community library might offer?

    What kind of career do you expect to have from such an education?

    Lincoln was self educated.

    It is neither conceit nor exaggeration to say Mr. Lincoln lived in a much simpler time. Plus which he was a man of rare gifts (for his time), and isn't likely to be emulated by most these days.

  • Peter C on October 20, 2011 3:42 PM:

    So, will Nelson, Tester, Manchin, Snowe, Collins, Alexander and Corker side with their states or with the 0.1%?

    We need to remind them that we are the 99.9%!

  • Werewolf on October 20, 2011 4:06 PM:

    People, please!
    Sound out the name Hedda Peraz, wouldja?

  • FRP on October 20, 2011 4:36 PM:

    ...Teachers, particularly unionized ones, are a luxury we can no longer afford. A perfectly good education can be gotten from books, most of which still can found in community libraries...

    I like to think you are right . In the context that all you need to know about sex can be learned in an Ayn Rand work of art , it stands to reason .
    The complexities of those iffy dynamics cleaned up and pretty darn easy to understand , how can we fail to see an "Ayn Rands Cliff Notes > Sex" .
    Although as far as I know it has never been published . It is an undoubted public service Ayn's estate should consider if only for the health of our children , *WAPCTC ? . Aside from a trifling parallel to rape , usually overlooked , for the , A , benefit Ayn has brought first to , America , and B , by virtue of American exceptionalism to the wanna bee's Americans which is just everybody else , duh .
    Am I the only one who considers the difficulty of regulating a seminal work of Ayn's as a mere "Work of Art" ?
    I thought not .
    Thank you

    *WACTC / 'won't anybody please consider the children ?'

  • FRP on October 20, 2011 4:39 PM:

    Werewolf
    No need to be rude , tsk !

  • Rachel on October 20, 2011 5:04 PM:

    Why can't Harry Reid call the fillibuster bluff and let them talk 24/7 until they get to cloture? I bet they couldn't last as long as the Occupy Wall Street folks and after a week or so of the endless talk, the media would finally be forced to cover it and the average Joe would finally see what the Senate they elected is doing.

  • Susan Puckett on October 21, 2011 12:11 AM:

    Werewolf you made me laugh! I just read the latest bill was filibustered by the "party of no compromise" and I was depressed. Thank you for the laugh. I do think it was a joke also.

  • Crissa on October 21, 2011 3:03 AM:

    Isn't a tenth of a percent less than how many millionaires we have nationwide?

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