Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So, Can We Stop Talking About Health Insurance Reform Now and Focus on Jobs?

When the discussion about health care reform, which was merely health insurance reform, started, I was not convinced that the time was right.  Yes, I wanted to see actual health care reform, but I think most rank and file people of either party were singularly focused on someone, and anyone creating jobs.  I think it is more than fair to say that the GOP did everything within its power to prevent the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress from passing anything that seemed even close to meaningful there.  But, I think it is also fair to say that the administration and the Congress did not tackle job creation aggressively.

Now, I know that I am just one guy trying to make it on my own as a consultant in very tough times, but I was practically screaming for someone in Washington to pick up a fucking history book and turn to the pages related to FDR and the Great Depression.  I know that the GOP derided temporary government based jobs (like the Census workers), but those were paying jobs, and I am sure that every single person who had that Census job was glad to have the money to pay their bills and feed their families.

I did a post suggesting that we should create a 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and another post reiterating the CCC and adding a 21st century Works Progress Administration (WPA).  I even wrote a post following (and modifying) Chris Matthews suggestion that the Obama administration create a jobs program in the Gulf Coast region to help with clean up following the massive oil spill last spring, and make BP pay for it.  I am sure that each of these ideas would have been attacked savagely by the GOP, but the Democrats had the majority, if they'd known how to use it.  And the Democrats lost an opportunity to prove to the nation that government can provide solutions, even if they were temporary (even a short term job is better than no job).

I am convinced now that most people in Washington, regardless of party, could care less about the wide swath of the American population.  I do believe that we have been in the midst of class warfare, and unlike the conventional wisdom, it has been the top that has been beating down on the rest of us (and taking our money to boot, and demanding that we give them even more, which we did), and not really creating jobs on top of all of that.  So much now is simply about bottom lines and profit margins, but I am straying from my primary point.

It is clear that we need jobs in this country.  It is also clear that we need genuinely creative leaders who are both interested in helping the lower rungs of the economic ladder find their footing, and willing to take political risks to help bring this situation under some semblance of control.  I'm not too confident.  But I am sure we can prepare for yet another symbolic vote on repealing health insurance reform, or redefining rape, or going after legal abortion, or joking about climate change, or denouncing evolution, or railing against the gays, or voter fraud, or whatever doesn't create or even save a job.


Josh G. said...


Given that one the two major political parties in the country doesn't think that government employees are actually workers, I wouldn't count on anything good coming out of Washington. To hear some politicians indicate that cutting the federal workforce will create jobs is the kind of twisted logic that is not really about finding a solution to a problem (in this case unemployment) it is solely about adhering to an anti-government ideology.

hscfree said...


Trust me, I understand fully that everything I've written in terms of jobs suggestions that actually have a solid and beneficial history would be laughed at by the two parties for different reasons. I also agree with you that the current GOP has ceded reason for their anti-government ideology. I also think that the Democratic Party has bought into the notion that government is essentially bad, but they can't bring themselves to defend the things that government actually does well (Clinton really helped to usher that sensibility in).

It strikes me as funny that so many people think that believing that we should have a strong and functioning and efficient government automatically means hating the private sector. It is a fairly ahistorical argument. I give credit to Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower for using the power of government to help drive the private sector.

I think that tax cuts and deregulation are just things to say now, and short term, non-useful things to boot. There are two solidily Republican (old school, RINOs I suppose now) Presidents who really did things that were revolutionary but essential in moving our nation forward. Where are those folks, and where are their Democratic counterparts?

Anonymous said...

Employed voters wouldn't be likely to elect different leaders.

Or, unemployed voters are more likely to consider fringe candidates (the kind who subscribe to the Birther shell game, and other pointless pursuits), and those candidates who would green light special interest's agendas to gain funding to push their own not-so-subtle attack on socially progressive topics.

No one is saying, "Anything but jobs!", but plenty have demonstrated that in their actions.

I'm just sayin'...