Friday, October 14, 2011

It's A Jobs Thing

It's the biggest election topic in most years, and in down economic years like 2012 is almost certain to be, it's going to be even bigger than usual: jobs.

Specifically, what our various political leaders are doing about jobs.

I've talked at length about Obama's latest jobs bill farce, so I won't go into that again (though each new month that passes brings continued bad news on the jobs front).  Instead, let's look at some new developments.  First is a laughable indicator of how liberalism often parodies itself without meaning to:

Old and busted: Jobs “saved or created.”  New hotness: Jobs “supported.”  In attempting to advance the argument for Barack Obama’s new jobs stimulus plan, the White House has decided to create a new term that has, er, even less meaning than their previous measure:
The American Jobs Act Will Support Nearly 400,000 Education Jobs—Preventing Layoffs and Allowing Thousands More to Be Hired or Rehired: The President’s plan will more than offset projected layoffs, providing support for nearly 400,000 education jobs—enough for states to avoid harmful layoffs and rehire tens of thousands of teachers who lost their jobs over the past three years.
How exactly did the White House come up with its new metric?  Chuck Blahous gives us a detailed analysis of exactly how they crafted this measure to be, well, unmeasurable:
To start the process of estimating educator jobs at risk, the Administration refers to a June, 2011 paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (a left-of-center think tank). This paper quantifies recent and projected shortfalls in state budgets.
The Administration then makes various assumptions about how the projected shortfalls would be filled. In effect, they assume first that shortfalls would be filled by a combination of tax increases and spending reductions, and then that spending cuts would be applied proportionally across all categories including education. As the Administration materials state, “These spending reduction numbers were then converted into estimates of educator jobs at risk based on estimates of average teacher compensation by state. These calculations implied that, if spending reductions had their full negative impact on education staffing, up to 280,000 educator jobs across the country would be at risk in the 2011-2012 school year.”
The Administration then points to $30 billion in spending contained in the proposed American Jobs Act. The purpose of this spending, as specified in the bill text, is to “prevent teacher layoffs and support the creation of additional jobs in public early childhood, elementary, and secondary education in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.”
Does this give readers a sense of deja vu?  The block grants in Porkulus also assumed that states would simply lay off teachers and first responders as a result of large-scale budget deficits in the throes of the Great Recession.  That’s where jobs “saved and created” originated; Obama and his team meant public-sector employees in states and local governments.  Only those organizations employ a lot more people than just teachers, police officers, and fire fighters; most states have vast bureaucracies that ended up getting “saved” thanks to the infusion of cash that allowed legislatures to put off tough decisions on the size and nature of government during the economic crisis.

As if the whole 'saved or created' thing wasn't silly enough, now they've taken it another large step into Santa Clause/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy land.  These people would be hysterical if they weren't actually dictating national policy according to these whimsical shifts of the wind.

Speaking of ridiculous, we can always count on San Fran Nan to be OTT.  Here's her latest glittering jewel:

No commentary is needed there.  Just a big eyeroll.

Anyway, a major new development is the proposal of yet another GOP jobs plan:

Their "Jobs Through Growth Act" features a fresh call for tax reform and cuts as well as a number of components previously proposed, but stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.

They include steps to: require a balanced budget; repeal Obama's overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system; lift prohibitions on offshore energy exploration and promote U.S. trade.

"This is a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs that stands in contrast to the short-term sweetener approach of the Obama administration, an approach that simply hasn't worked," Senator Rob Portman, a chief sponsor of the measure, told a news conference.
I wonder if it will be killed by Dems in the Senate again, or if Obama will have to do the dirty veto work himself for a change.  Regardless, it's another thing that disproves Obama's tired line about Republican obstructionism.

This last new thing is one that amuses me greatly.  If you're like me, you've often heard liberals sanctimoniously intone about how they really should be paying higher taxes (not that that would actually fix the economy, but reality is really not the point with the complaint).  As it turns out, there's nothing stopping anyone from sending additional checks to the U.S. Treasury, but somehow these same liberals who think you and I should pay higher taxes never seem to get around to sending in a check themselves.  Well, the sanctimonious intonations can stop now:

Basically, the Buffett Rule Act would require the IRS to include a line option on tax forms to donate money to the Treasury to pay down the deficit. This is a brilliant bit of point-making legislation on the part of Thune and Scalise, but it’s also rather sad we need it. What would be the cost of all new IRS forms just to underscore the hypocrisy of the ultra-rich who would rather chastise their peers than actually put their money where their mouths are? Don’t forget Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway already owes back taxes. Pointing out his do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do line has grown old. Make a massive donation now please, Mr. Buffett, just to prove you know you can.
Nice!  It's a rarity when the GOP does something slick like this, so I say kudos to them for actually having the stones to do it.

Now the only problem is that liberals don't pay their own taxes in the first place (just ask Obama's cabinet, most of whom owed back taxes prior to their appointment), so they'll never really see that line on the forms...

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