Update… at end of post.
Whatever anti-koolaid beverage Arianna Huffington drank in order to see the current Reality for what it is, I just wish she would bottle it, sell it, and use her vast resources to distribute it inside the beltway, and especially in the West Wing.
From the last third of her recent post, in which Arianna asks if the current and ongoing unemployment crisis will become Barack Obama’s Katrina:
When we hear about members of Congress holding up a vote (and we’ve heard it a lot lately), most of the time, it’s a ploy to secure some kind of pork for their home district. This was an instance of the brakes being put on not for pork — but for principle. [Note: Refers to members of congressional black caucus shutting down a financial services committee vote important to WH.]
So, clearly, the winds of change are picking up in Washington and around the country. It’s time for the White House to stop holding no-rush summits and insisting that everything is going as planned, and course-correct. Now. And there is no shortage of bold steps the administration can take to mitigate the damage before it turns into an all-out catastrophe.
Among the best ideas currently being floated:
– Use Wall Street bailout funds left in the TARP program to hail out Main Street (via increased lending to small businesses and using money for public services being cut by states and cities).
– Enact a one-year payroll tax holiday (creating a moratorium on Social Security, Medicare, and FICA taxes will encourage businesses to hire new workers).
– Expand the Small Business Association’s lending programs (45 percent of all job losses have been at small businesses).
– Offer businesses a tax credit for every new job created over the next 12 months, or have the government pay a portion of the salary of new workers hired over the same period.
The bottom line: extending unemployment benefits, crossing your fingers, and waiting for things to turn around is just not enough.
In the post-Katrina fallout, video surfaced of a final briefing before the storm hit in which federal disaster officials warned President Bush that the hurricane could breach the levees and overwhelm the ability of rescuers to properly respond. Bush famously didn’t ask a single question but assured local officials: "We are fully prepared." He later insisted, "I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
Are we going to get similar protestations from Obama when the unemployment waters continue to rise?
Earlier on, Arianna also took both Geithner and Summers to task for their cavalier* [my word, not hers] attitudes about the effects of the rising tide of unemployment.
And she cited one of Ryan Grim’s posts about the rebukes coming from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party in congress and directed specifically at the White House, for not doing enough to staunch the hemorrhaging of jobs. Clearly, members of the House, who must run for re-election every two years, can read the smoke signals circling their home districts. They do not want to risk running with an economy still heading toward the cliff, i.e., no growth in jobs. Who, in their right mind, would?
My apologies for mangling so many metaphors; I know it’s messy, but it’s meant to reflect the utter messiness of an administration, for which we may have had some hope, but which has pretty much disappointed most of us. So far.
Now, for your viewing wonderment… two interesting videos [from Bush’s tenure] that display the full hypocrisy of the GOP, Blue Dogs, and even some run-of-the-mill Democrats who claim that they prioritize our national security (i.e., continuing the "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan) above jobs creation. Simply asounding!
[Part II will appear at the end of Part I.]
* I think "cavalier" pretty much sums up the POV of those with enough money, enough power to keep on getting enough money, and the deep sense of denial to think that neither they nor their loved ones can ever suffer the ignominious fates that have befallen so many hard-working people. I actually used the word during a recent transit strike when speaking to one of the management guys at a station, where they were acting like they worked for Homeland Security, but less seriously, since they were laughing at distraught passengers left in the lurch. He probably had to look up the word later, since he asked me what I thought they should do.
Update: Also from Ryan Grim… Nancy Pelosi explains why jobs creation should trump paying down the deficit. Without jobs and their resultant taxes, revenues drop, and then, the deficit explodes.