Good Question, Bad Answer

Much is being made of John Boehner’s Tweet to President Obama in yesterday’s “town hall,” which read:

“After embarking on a record spending binge that’s left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs? #AskObama”

President Obama gave a long, rambling semi-answer instead of doing what he should have done, which is take on the fucking question. Democrats can’t seem to stand by their record to save their lives, and it costs us every time.

Had Obama actually answered the question, he might have pointed out what Salon’s Andrew Leonard wrote, which is that we’ve had “trickle down” economics for years and, well, to quote John Boehner: where are the jobs?

Wages are moribund, unemployment is stuck at 9 percent, and the corporate bottom line is doing just fine. You could be excused for thinking that if ever there was time to put the stake through supply-side economics, it would be now. Wall Street and big corporations are doing just fine, but absolutely nothing is trickling down. And yet Republicans are still pushing the same old song and dance, passionately holding the entire creditworthiness of the United States hostage in return for even lower taxes on corporations, adamantly refusing to countenance even the slightest revenue increase to help cushion the hard times for the Americans who are getting a raw deal out of the current recovery.

Where are the jobs? You tell us, John Boehner. We got the first round of “Bush tax cuts” in 2001, the second round in 2003. The recession officially began in December 2007, and Bush and the GOP’s brilliant plan to save the economy was to send everyone a check for $600. But Bush’s job creation record was dismal, and not just after the real estate bubble burst; during his entire eight years in office, President Bush had “the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records,” according to the Wall Street Journal:

The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton‘s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office.

So, where were the jobs?

And then in stunningly stupid concession to Republicans, Democrats caved and filled the stimulus with tax cuts and tax credits, which we already know don’t work! And then in another stunningly stupid concession to Republican fantasies, last December we renewed the Bush tax cuts for two years.

So, where are the damn jobs? For the past 10 years we’ve had a steady stream of tax cuts and more tax cuts and individual “tax rebates.” This shit doesn’t work, people. They haven’t worked. If anyone wants to know where the jobs are, then look in a fucking mirror. Republicans keep selling their tax cut snake oil, Democrats keep falling for it, and where are the damn jobs?

As Ed at Gin And Tacos observes (and correcting Leonard):

Cutting the income tax is a demand-side solution. And that – far moreso than actual supply side ideas – has proven useless in spectacular fashion as a driver of economic growth. The theory is to give wage-earners more money to spend, which is great except that A) most wage-earners are already paying so little in Federal income tax that the cuts have little substantive impact, B) cuts are always lavished on a small population of high earners who are more likely to save than spend, and C) the civil religion of debt repayment, coupled with staggering levels of household debt, ensure that income tax cuts are just a way to funnel some money to banks and mortgage lenders.

Look, this is the same stuff we keep saying, over and over again. Asking where the jobs are is a logical question, it’s one Americans are asking too. Democrats need to start answering it directly. How about this:

“Where are the jobs? We’ve implemented billions of dollars of tax cuts for the past 10 years. We conceded to Republican demands and made tax cuts a major part of the economic stimulus. Taxes are lower now than at any time since Harry Truman was president — and that’s including federal, state and local income taxes. So where are the jobs? You tell me. We’ve been following Republican policies for a decade and it hasn’t worked.”

I mean, come on, Democrats. Stand up and fight back, for chrissakes. I simply don’t understand why you guys can’t seem to make a case — ever. What the fuck is wrong with you?


Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has more. And before anyone sends me links to their Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation white papers, I just want to remind everyone that our side has Nobel Prize winners. When Stiglitz says right-wing ideologues “seek to repeal the basic laws of math and economics,” I’m going to believe him.


Filed under economic stimulus, economy, employment, taxes

2 responses to “Good Question, Bad Answer

  1. The corporate Democrats (which includes Obama and the entire “leadership”) are not going to stand up and fight back because they essentially agree with the Republicans. The can’t be too assertive about what really needs to be done because their contributors/owners don’t want those policy changes and therefore neither do they.

  2. I don’t buy that, Charles D. That would imply the Democrats are being honest about their allegiance to corporations and Wall Street and banks. If they really agree with the Republicans then they’d act like Republicans. They’d go on TV and say what they know the Left wants to hear, and then they’d do whatever the fuck they wanted. Just like how the Republicans pat their crazy nutters on the head and agree about everything and then go ahead and do whatever they want.

    When it comes to evil, stupid or incompetent, I’m going for incompetent.