I am headed to Washington, D.C. for a business trip soon, and as a result, have been paying closer attention than usual to the goings on in the nation’s capital. And what I have noticed going on is a lot of talk about jobs. But unfortunately that’s about all it is…talk. Almost every bill in Congress is now declared a “jobs” bill, but the divided, partisan Congress can’t seem to agree on legislation that would actually create jobs.
Blaming the other side of the aisle for log jamming a transportation bill that did eventually get out of the Senate with Republican support, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said this week, “The time has come to either get a bill or acknowledge that you don’t care about 2.8 million jobs.”
As this article in the Los Angeles Times points out, the Speaker of the Republican-led House, John Boehner, often reaches into his suit jacket pocket to pull out a card printed with the 15 “jobs bills” that passed the Republican-led House but stalled in the Senate. He is often quoted as saying “his party is relentlessly focused on its jobs agenda.”
Both sides claimed passage of a “jobs bill” when the Senate completed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that cuts farm subsidies and land conservation spending by about $2 billion a year but largely protects sugar growers and some 46 million food stamp beneficiaries. Many Washington observers predicted that legislation so expensive and so complicated would have little chance of advancing in an election year, and it may not clear the House, due to its high costs, particularly for the food stamps portion of it.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, declared, “This is a jobs bill,” and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) similarly exclaimed, “This is a jobs bill if there ever was a jobs bill.”
“This is a jobs bill if there ever was a jobs bill.”
However, during a time of increasing anxiety and consternation over the federal debt, even extending unemployment benefits has become an onerous political task.
I’m no expert on politics, but several articles I read recently say even if all this partisan political bickering magically went away somehow, most of the bills on the table would not substantially change the immediate jobs outlook.
That assessment, however, has not stopped either party from trying to convince unconvinced voters they are working to improve the economy.
What do you think? Has either side done enough to help spur job creation in this country? Has Congress done anything to create jobs? Should job creation be left in the hands of federal lawmakers, or is is the private sector that needs to make it happen?