On the Jobs Bill front...
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus(D-MT) announced he'd reached accord with ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). They unveiled what was supposed to be a final jobs package. But the agreement didn't sit well with many Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pulled it out of their hands, and announced he'd move ahead with a smaller bill.
Recognize those two names? Baucus....Grassley? Those are the two senators who helped delay health care legislation all through the summer and fall of last year. Those senators helped to strip out of the Senate health care bill any public option provision.
See if you recognize this strategy....
...the jobs initiative originally belonged to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). But Baucus recently objected, saying that he should be allowed to run certain key elements of it through his powerful committee --that by doing so, he could bring Republicans on board.
After months and months of "bringing Republicans on board" in the health care reform "debate".....how many Republicans in the end voted for the Baucus Senate bill? ZERO.
Watching Baucus and Grassley and Snowe drag their feet on health care reform, apparently, didn't register at first with Harry Reid. Watching Baucus try to "bring Republicans on board" with health reform and watching Baucus bring ZERO GOP votes after months of wasting time.......Reid, under pressure from Nevada voters this year, once again delegated Obama's 'jobs bill' to the Senate Finance Committee....which means guys like Baucus and Grassley (of 'pull the plug on grandma' fame), were in charge.
Fortunately, Harry Reid woke up yesterday and trashcanned the entire Baucus-Grassley effort on jobs....here's why....
Among other things, Baucus and Grassley said that jobs could only move forward if the Senate agreed to take up a bipartisan "reform" (a.k.a. slashing) of the estate tax.
Shocker...right? The creation of a jobs bill, to Baucus and Grassley, was an opportunity to pay back the two senators richest campaign contributors. Over 8 million Americans unemployed and the Mighty Bipartisan Duo of Baucus and Grassley took advantage of that tragic number to push for estate tax elimination on the richest .1% of Americans.
Reid was right in flushing this piece of.....legislation.
However, even worse, I think, in the Baucus and Grassley "jobs bill" that Reid, thankfully, trashed, is the tax-credit-for-jobs provision championed by two other senators who often irritate us with their smug self-satisfaction about how bipartisan they are, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
According to a draft outline of the bill circulated by Senate Democrats, the cornerstone would be a proposal to give businesses that hire unemployed workers this year an exemption from the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax. If they keep those workers more than a year, employers would get an additional $1,000 tax credit per employee.
I hope that any new Congressional bill offered up to create jobs does not include this provision outlined by Schumer and Hatch.
Owners complained that “poor sales” was their top problem, and there is no need to hire with no new customers. It is hard for workers to “earn their pay” in this environment, a necessity if a firm is to stay in business. Ten (10) percent (seasonally adjusted) reported unfilled job openings, unchanged from December but historically low. Over the next three months, a seasonally adjusted net negative one percent of owners planning to create new jobs, a one point improvement, but still more firms planning to cut jobs than planning to add.
Business in 2010 America doesn't have enough.....customers. Business has more than enough workers to handle their existing....customers. Simply bribing employers with payroll tax giveaways and $1000 per every-employee-they-keep-for-a-year checks, isn't going to do anything to bring new...customers....to their businesses.
The very best strategy to follow in these very high unemployment times is to follow the lead of Franklin Roosevelt. Create public works jobs. Not just shovel ready infrastructure projects....but also clean-up jobs in rural and inner city blighted areas....city, county and township renewal projects like parks, road repaving, drainage ditch cleanup, etc. You and I both know that there are plenty of things that need to be done in our communities.
Depending on private enterprise to create new jobs through a bribery process, when those same business enterprises say their biggest economic problem is lack of....customers.....is simply a wishful thinking exercise by compromised congressional members whose answer to virtually any problem is....'give stuff away to business, boast that we did something, and hope for the best.'
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