I can’t remember a single proposal from Republicans in recent history that would actually create jobs, yet all we’ve heard from them is some variation of the same old talking point about how President Obama is holding back the economy.
Once Speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell repeat their usual “it’s all Obama’s fault” speech, then they mention all of the legislation Republicans claim will create jobs – and by create jobs, they mean give more tax cuts to companies who will put the money in the bank, not hire more workers or give employees a pay raise.
In case you didn’t know, writing here at Forward Progressives is not my full time job. I work for a company that makes a lot of money every year and not once have they ever said, “Hey, we had huge profits last quarter so we’re giving everyone a bonus to thank you for your hard work.” Seriously, if that ever happened, I’d probably have a heart attack and keel right over. In fact, just like almost every other large corporation, they’re always trying to find new ways to cut expenses, and labor is almost always the first place they start swinging the axe.
Despite everything Republicans keep saying about cutting taxes for the Haliburtons and other multi-billion dollar companies of America, corporations have zero incentive to hire more workers unless they get to the point where they cannot stretch their labor force any thinner. Corporations also have zero incentive to raise wages in order to retain employees so long as the job market remains in their favor. Right now unemployment is low, but the pre-recession middle-income jobs that were lost have been replaced by low-income jobs.
This brings us to some much needed legislation that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be introducing in the Senate:
Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Saturday that he will introduce legislation when the new session of Congress convenes this month to authorize a $1 trillion, multi-year program to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges and invest in other infrastructure modernization projects. The investment not only would begin to address a growing backlog of badly-needed repairs, it also would put 13 million Americans to work at decent-paying jobs, according to Sanders, who will take over this month as the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
“America once led the world in building and maintaining a nationwide network of safe and reliable bridges and roads. Today, nearly a quarter of the nation’s 600,000 bridges have been designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Let’s rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Let’s make our country safer and more efficient. Let’s put millions of Americans back to work,” Sanders said. (Source)
While Republicans have dragged their feet and stalled any attempts to do anything to help our economy over the last 6 years, they don’t have any excuses now that they control both the House and the Senate. The legislation that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be putting before Congress would be a welcome stimulation to our economy for a couple of reasons, and here’s why.
First, it would tilt the job market back in favor of workers. As I said previously, employers aren’t willing to pay anything more than the absolute minimum they have to in order to retain employees. Wall Street is doing great, corporations are making big profits, but the promised “trickledown” has yet to happen. Corporations will only pay people more if they have to do so to keep workers from going elsewhere, and the possibility of hundreds of thousands of well-paying construction jobs would certainly create some competition and incentive for employers to raise wages.
Second, these jobs wouldn’t be a short-term boost to the economy. Fixing over 100,000 bridges and hundreds of thousands of miles of roads isn’t something done in a short amount of time. The money paid to these workers won’t be sat on like corporations are doing with their profits either. Republicans have repeatedly stated that the Keystone Pipeline would create thousands of ongoing jobs and stimulate the economy, but that has been mostly debunked, and you’ll certainly hear them complain and oppose Bernie Sander’s legislation.
If Republicans want to stop being seen as the party of obstructionists, then they need to get behind Bernie Sanders and support this bill. They now control both houses of Congress, there’s no valid excuses for continuing to hold the American people hostage for political gain. There’s a little less than 2 years between now and the 2016 election, and they have a lot of work to do to show voters that they’re anything more than the party of the 1%, by the 1%, and for the 1%.
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