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While we were watching OccupyWallStreet…

… it appears that our Congress was paying absolutely no attention at all.  Greg Sargent’s Plum Line has the gritty details about how Republicans, and some Democrats, are planning to vote down Obama’s jobs bill.  The entrails do not look good for Democrats in red states that oppose the bill according to Stan Greenberg:

Top pollster Stanley Greenberg is not shy about criticizing the White House when he thinks it’s warranted, and his opinion is widely respected by Democrats in Congress. So if Greenberg tells moderate Senate Democrats that they vote against Obama’s jobs bill at their ownperil, will they believe him?

In an interview with me this morning, Greenberg made a strong case that moderate Senate Democrats in red states would be foolish and shortsighted if they vote against the American Jobs Act today, as some of them appear to be prepared to do. The White House and Dems have been railing against Republicans for opposing the jobs bill, but if a few Senate Dems defect, and a simple majority of the Senate doesn’t support it, that will dilute the Dem message that Republicans are the key obstacle to progress on the economy.

But Greenberg’s case for voting for the bill went significantly beyond this concern about overall party messaging. He argued that moderate Democrats who vote against it are actually imperiling their ownreelection chances.

“They reduce their risks for reelection by showing support for a jobs bill that’s going to be increasingly popular as voters learn more about it,” Greenberg said. “They have to be for something on the economy, and this the kind of proposal they should support. If I were advising them, I’d say you want to be backing a jobs bill with middle class tax cuts paid for by tax hikes on millionaires. Moderate voters in these states very much want to raise taxes on the wealthy to meet our obligations.”

That bill leaves a lot to be desired for sure, but those of us out of work need jobs.  If the OccupyWallStreet movement hasn’t gotten through to Congresscritters yet, let me spell it out: Any organized opposition to putting people to work is going to be extremely unpopular.  Maybe that will fall most heavily on the Republicans, but I recall that it wasn’t too long ago that Tim Geithner said on behalf of the Obama Treasury Department that life was about to get a lot more unpleasant for the unemployed.

You know, I just find that unacceptable.

If the (inadequate) jobs bill goes down, expect a lot more unpleasantness between the 99% and the people who are standing in the way of living wages and decent healthcare.  If Congress is this politically tone deaf, a good number of them need to be replaced.  If I were them, I’d be cautious because OccupyWallStreet looks like the perfect forum to explore starting a third party and there is enough time between now and November 2012 to make a difference.

40 Responses

  1. For some reason, I’m not hopeful that the “jobs bill” is better than the “health care bill.”

    • It isn’t much better but it’s that or nothing. And nothing isn’t very appealing.

      • I find nothing more appealing than more tax cuts.

        • Obama is using this bill to very craftily and cleverly divide the jobless from the not-yet-jobless. For the jobless this bill could be better than nothing if it funds jobs for some of them.

          For the not-yet-jobless, this bill is full of well hidden sinister time bombs designed to steal and destroy our long-term future. For example, Obama has included a further extension of the so-called
          “payroll tax holiday” in his jobs bill. The reason he does that is because he wants to starve Social Security of incoming funds to the point where he or his designated Republican successors can point to this newly engineered evidence of a funding crisis in Social Security to degrade and diminish Social Security in preparation to destroying it.
          Obama wants to be the so-called “Democrat” who pulls a Nixon-Goes-To-China on Social Security. And that means that Obama is plotting to retro-steal from me the money I have already paid into Social Security since 1983. But I only think about such long term things because I still have a job. If I didn’t have a job I would say I want to work for food NOW and if the Obama bill can help me do that, it is better than nothing.

          So the question is . . . if the Obama jobs bill passes now and allows some de-jobbed people to become re-jobbed, will we be able to circle around later and outlaw the hidden pro-UpperClass land mines and booby traps in this bill?

  2. When Obama came up with the jobs bill he said that it had to be passed in its entirety. Oops, he’s going back on his words. Tax cuts don’t stimulate the economy, and it makes the deficit worse. I’m not a soothsayer, but it’s easy to predict that the Republicans will pass the tax cuts and then turn around and say how terrible the deficit is, and that the government must cut spending.

    Obama says may have to “break up” jobs bill

    PITTSBURGH (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he could “break up” his jobs bill to push it through Congress, acknowledging the risk that the legislation may fail to advance as the Senate prepared to vote on the plan.
    The Democratic president was in Pittsburgh as part of a campaign to get lawmakers to pass his $447 billion proposal.

  3. Payroll tax is THE ONLY FUNDING for social security. This “Jobs” bill cuts back on that SS funding. I am an employer and I would get a 3% cut in amount I pay toward SS for my employees. That is not going to get me to hire at all and the measly 2% that my employees will save is not enough to make any real difference for them. This is a bad jobs bill.

    It’s sticking a knife into Social Security and will soon be the excuse that Congress ( both sides) have for slashing SS benefits. It’s a trap.

    • Yes, I know. It’s a rotten deal for social security. But the clock is ticking for those of us out of work.
      The problem is that I’m not sure they’re going to try very hard to pass anything.

    • Even if it were sincere, it would be certain damage to SS, but might or might not create any jobs.

  4. Sign at Occupy Lawrence, Kansas:

    The Hand of the Free Market Touched Me in a Bad Place

    • Gotta love the Jayhawks!

      • How far are you from an occupation site?

        • About 30 miles from Occupy Lawrence. But, only about 10 (or less) to Occupy Kansas City. I was there this afternoon … most people were demonstrating at Roy Blount’s office … and took some photos. Really nothing much to see or do today though.

          Now that I know for sure where it is, I’ll be back though!

  5. This Obama Jobs Bill must be studied seriously and in minute detail so that the bad parts of this bill could be removed or at least modified. If we follow the recipe of Obama to pass his bill immidiately without the persons concerned not reading it thoroughly(see Obamacare) we would be stuck with a law that will have its unintended consequences.

    Think Obama has been looking to 2012 when he said to pass the bill immidiately..

    What do you think of this 2 observations?

    • I agree. However, it is unacceptable to do nothing and keep people suffering. I get the feeling that there is a lack of urgency on congress’ part to dealing with the problem of unemployment. IRS almost ad if they had decided that it was better to impoverish people.

  6. I think this jobs bill is a very bad idea. It’s mostly tax cuts and SS cuts on top of that. What little bit good there is like extending unemployment, etc., can easily be passed separately. It’s just a really bad bill.

    I think it’s clear that the bill won’t ever pass the House. And I disagree with the conclusion about red state Senate Dems. I think they are much more likely to lose if they pass the bill. Perhaps they’ll lose anyway, but passing this Obama bill will be the end of them.

    Clearly Senate Dems voting no and not passing it would be a major loss for Obama as he won’t be able to say he would have fixed everything save for Republicans not passing his magical bill that would fix everything. If Dems don’t let it pass in the Senate, he’s toast.

    By the way, I think OWS efforts to push for this bill is an obvious sign of the organizers real goals. Just say’in.

    • Where have you seen OWS favoring this bill?
      I’m not fond of this bill either but my point is that there seems to be a committment to inaction. I’d much rather have a better bill. That’s what the legislative process is about. But it seems like congress is actually backing away from passing any comprehensive bill that will help anyone anywhere. That’s what is troubling.
      My cordless screwdriver just died. Not the battery, the motor. :-/

      • The Seattle OWS had a big effort yesterday to push for passage of the Obama jobs bill. And I seem to remember two or three others following suit. I suspect more will follow.

        I think there isn’t much effort towards a good jobs bill because there is no leadership pushing for a good jobs bill. And given that we’re coming closer to election season, or really in it, I doubt much other than the basic unemployment extensions and similar can happen. Frankly I think this bill was written with the express purpose of not passing as an election year maneuver.

        The time for action was in the first two years when there was a supermajority. Obama and the Dems failed. They’re not going to do anything now. Their opportunity came and went. And the Republicans are being Republicans, that’s not going to change. The only answer is to make a new Dem party or a new party. This current Dem party and its leader will never do anything in our favor. Why would they.

        • Boston OWS did the same. There are others, but I’ll have to hunt for it.

        • It looks like we agree on a lot.
          Not convinced that all occupations are pushing for this bill but that doesn’t mean that some of them couldn’t act independently.

    • BTW, I’m not convinced OWS is AstroTurf. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. There are few Obama fans among the occupiers and the occupation itself has spurned the endorsements of any political party.
      Yeah, it could be a fiendish plot but as I said before, if Obama let millions of people slip into poverty because he did nothing fir two years when he had a majority and now thinks he can use this movement to help push him to the left, well, if that ever got out, he’d be toast politically. Much more likely is that OWS will backfire on Democrats in general. They’ve been totally inept for the last three years.

      • If OWS is real, it will either transform one or both parties or help the creation of a third. If it isn’t, then it’s main purpose will be to distract and help to expend the energies of progressives. That may be enough. And if they’re really good, it will pull the disenfranchised progressives, both former Obama supporters and Dems in exile, back into the fold. And if they’re really, really good, they will make the members think they’re transforming the Dem party when they’re not.

        • Here’s a way you can tell if the last item mentioned is happening: there is support for Obama or any Dems that have been part of the problem. And the corollary is that there is a lot of effort to make people mad at the enemies of the previously mentioned Obama and Dems that have been part of the problem.

          • There is not a lot of energy spent trying to get the occupiers to turn against Obama and the Democrats. It’s already there.
            No one at OWS was twisting my ear trying to get me to despise Obama. As you know, I already had fairly low expectations of his performance and he has exceeded those expectations. But more than that, there just wasn’t any banging the drums to turn against him. It’s just this look of disgust on people’s faces when obama’s name comes up.
            What drove me to OWS was not the desire to dump on Obama. It was to lend my support to a growing movement that seems determined to hold Wall Street accountable. I don’t need to be lead and neither did the rest of the participants. You may question the target but I think the movement is spreading like wildfire precisely because we know who our enemies are.
            It’s probably not a good idea to think of the occupiers as easily lead simpletons who don’t know when they’ve been used. Even Paul Krugman is supporting OWS as much as he can as a NYT columnist. And he is definitely not an Obama fan.

        • From what I can tell, there is very little chance that the occupiers will be pulled back into tge fold. They see obama as being the servant of the 1%

          • That’s what I’ve seen at the OWS forum. A few articles are neutral about Obama, but then the comments are all negative. ‘Sold out’, ‘tool of Wall Street’, etc. They sound like they rejected him long ago.

      • Today’s “March on the Millionaires” did not include a single one of Obama’s donors who live in NYC and who have closer ties to Wall Street than some of the Republicans who were targeted. I don’t think that was a coincidence. I do agree with you about this backfiring on the Dems, though. As those of us who were adults at the time can attest to, the riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention and the “Summer of Love” did not bring us a more liberal administration. It gave us Nixon in a landslide.

        I know from personal experience how frightening it can be to be unemployed, worried about losing your house, and scared you won’t be able to give your child what she needs, and it can make you vulnerable in lots of ways. Perhaps you should step back a minute, and ask yourself how you would feel about the integrity of the OWS folks if you were still getting up every morning and going to a job you love. I’m surprised that the skeptical, Democrat-in-Exile Riverdaughter whose blog many of us have been following for a long time would be this susceptible.

        • I’m sure it was just an oversight that OWS forgot to get your approval for the list of people to include in their march. It’s really a shame they may have bothered some of those billionaire republicans who were not big Obama donors.

          Of course, perhaps being CEO of JPMC or a huge hedge fund could be related to why they’re there, if the movement is real. I’m kind of surprised no one would consider that.

          It would be best to accept that the agenda of OWS is not the same as we might desire but that does not make it astroturf or any less valid.

          • Honk. We may disagree with them on many points, but as you say, “that does not make it astroturf or any less valid.”

            It’s good that people who might have been attracted to the Obama cult are meeting in a cult-like situation — but sharing rejection of Obama.

          • I’m with you bemused. I don’t understand the reluctance to believe that this might be worth supporting. I have no idea what my employment status has to do with it. Saving the banks at the expense of everyone else is everyone’s problem, not just the unemployed. And for those of you who are still employed., enjoy it while you can. When your employer figures out a way to make you a contractor, your days are numbered.
            Oh, no, it couldn’t *possibly* happen to you, right? You’d better hope not.

        • Nixon didn’t win against Humphrey in a landslide. In fact we didn’t know for sure who won until sometime the morning after the election. It was pretty close.

          And I’ve always believed that RFK would have won if he’d lived.

          • I’ve always been sure that RFK would have won.

          • I was too young to know whether he would have won or not but his tour of Appalachia and his death made a great impression on me as a little kid. So, that’s saying something. He must have been a remarkable and charismatic person.

        • If I were still working when this was going on, I’d be bummed I couldn’t be there in person. A movement like this was bound to happen. We talked about starting one ourselves after the election, remember? I was still employed then. I was also very moved by Elizabeth Warren’s lecture on the declining middle class on youtube. Considering the pressure that the middle class is under and has been for years, I’m surprised there are people who even question the need for such a movement.
          In my head, the one that formed after 2008 would have been very similar to this one, except not in a public park. I have no idea why I should question their integrity. They’re getting people together and in the streets and it is growing. They’re not targeting either party. That doesn’t mean the movement won’t have an effect but I doubt they really care at this point who comes out on top. It’s a pox on both their houses. Something is resonating with millions of Americans. Rather than asking why I am susceptible, maybe you should ask yourself why you are resistent.
          I don’t think anybody has been able to convince me that this isn’t a real movement. It has struck a chord with the rest of America. I just read an article at the NYTimes that says that the phones are ringing off the hook at restaurants in the area that want to contribute and the highest number of calls are coming from California.

        • I got a bit suspicious of the list – especially the exclusion of Bloomberg

          • Koch and Murdoch are on the list because they are the benefactors behind the right wing noise machine. Bloomberg’s news service isn’t as awful as you might think. His reporters occasionally look like journalists.
            Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being rich. The problem is when you start thinking anyone not making a million is not worth a living wage.

  7. If this is astro-turff, it’s not been mounted to help the establishment Dems, but to bury them.This is an aim of the those who engineered the Obama phenomenon generally imo. To continue the Bush2 work of destroying government norms. It helps them that both parties are the walking dead.

    At my local OWS , obots abound…it was a week day afternoon admittedly. But one gets 2008 obots reactivated in 2012 by giving them a target other than Obama …so no having to say one was wrong about The One, who they have been making excuses for for years now…it’s almost seamless. Now they are back in their comfort zone

    After Oct 31, no one can run against him for the Dem ticket …Is it crooked caucuses by another name? Time will tell…of course I’m not speaking of those who are there in all sincerity…but of those who we aren’t allowed to know about…the hidden leaders

    • Like I said, there weren’t any overt Obama fans at OWS at Zuccotti park when I went nor were there a surplus at the march. I saw some Obama negative signs and got the distinct impression that he was not popular.
      I don’t know what will happen when the filing deadline for the primaries expires. For one thing, the Democratic party tends to change the rules when it suits them. For another, if the party is so worried about losing, it needs to do something to attract voters other than bashing them over the head with fearmongering and accusations of racism.
      If it turns out that the party is going to stick with Obama no matter what, there is the possibility that OccupyWallStreet could become something else entirely.
      Obama might be popular with the Obots but there are a lot more people who think Obama had his four years and is not entitled to four more. Before OWS, a lot more Democrats might have gone back to the fold and said they had no other choice.
      NOW, they might have one.

  8. No jobs bill is better. The more unemployed, the more anger. The more anger, the more creativity is loosened on the world.

    • Good point. But it’s hard to eat anger.

    • Abby, is that you? Are you going to start cluttering up the threads with Focoult and DeLillo again? Because no one here is into that stuff mostly because it makes no damn sense.
      Could you stop with the sock puppets already?

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