Friday, November 4, 2011

Putting Millionaires Before Jobs

New York Times editorial
November 3, 2011

There’s nothing partisan about a road or a bridge or an airport; Democrats and Republicans have voted to spend billions on them for decades and long supported rebuilding plans in their own states. On Thursday, though, when President Obama’s plan to spend $60 billion on infrastructure repairs came up for a vote in the Senate, not a single Republican agreed to break the party’s filibuster.

That’s because the bill would pay for itself with a 0.7 percent surtax on people making more than $1 million. That would affect about 345,000 taxpayers, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, adding an average of $13,457 to their annual tax bills. Protecting that elite group — and hewing to their rigid antitax vows — was more important to Senate Republicans than the thousands of construction jobs the bill would have helped create, or the millions of people who would have used the rebuilt roads, bridges and airports.

Senate Republicans filibustered the president’s full jobs act last month for the same reasons. And they have vowed to block the individual pieces of that bill that Democrats are now bringing to the floor. Senate Democrats have also accused them of opposing any good idea that might put people back to work and rev the economy a bit before next year’s presidential election.

There is no question that the infrastructure bill would be good for the flagging economy — and good for the country’s future development. It would directly spend $50 billion on roads, bridges, airports and mass transit systems, and it would then provide another $10 billion to an infrastructure bank to encourage private-sector investment in big public works projects.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican of Texas, co-sponsored an infrastructure-bank bill in March, and other Republicans have supported similar efforts over the years. But the Republicans’ determination to stick to an antitax pledge clearly trumps even their own good ideas.

A competing Republican bill, which also failed on Thursday, was cobbled together in an attempt to make it appear as if the party has equally valid ideas on job creation and rebuilding. It would have extended the existing highway and public transportation financing for two years, paying for it with a $40 billion cut to other domestic programs. Republican senators also threw in a provision that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new clean air rules. Only in the fevered dreams of corporate polluters could that help create jobs.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, bitterly accused Democrats of designing their infrastructure bill to fail by paying for it with a millionaire’s tax, as if his party’s intransigence was so indomitable that daring to challenge it is somehow underhanded.

The only good news is that the Democrats aren’t going to stop. There are many more jobs bills to come, including extension of unemployment insurance and the payroll-tax cut. If Republicans are so proud of blocking all progress, they will have to keep doing it over and over again, testing the patience of American voters.


Anonymous said...

So please explain to me how "extension of unemployment insurance and the payroll-tax cut" will create jobs? Seems to me that extending unemployment insurance yet again will only encourage people to continue to sit idly on their butts instead of actively looking for work. And the payroll tax cut is only a benefit to someone that is already on the payroll, so no job created there.

Taxation is a disincentive to investment in a business, stifling potential job creation since it takes those funds out of the business. Since you'll never get a job from a poor person, I can't see how the Dem proposals make any sense at all. But as usual, they never do.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Rosen has never found a Republican he can't blame for the ills of society or the economic disaster Obama has gotten us into. Dr. Rosen, the Democrats themselves are to blame for not approving/authorizing Obama's joke of a stimulus round 2 (round 1 worked so well didn't it?) - they are in control of the Senate and Harry Reid can't get the votes to pass anything even in his own party - because he knows it won't work and the next election will have devastating consequences for the Democrats/Socialists/Progressives. You can not simply keep taxing the "rich" because the politicians can not make the tough choices to CUT SPENDING, and wasteful spending at that. How about a flat income tax for EVERYONE - just like your union dues flat rate for your local union????

Anonymous said...

You seem to be of the believe of the X theory of motivation. Based on your statement, my guess is that you are lazy and do not care about what you do. If you were out of work because someone decided it was not profitable to continue your position, you would probably just whine and sit on on your butt and not actively look for work.

Your portrayal of the average citizen is unfathomable.

Poor people built this country. Not only with their hands, but the American icons are the ones that were poor and built their riches, which helped their fellow countryman.

America was not built by those with money, but by those with passion. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs built not for money but for their passion.

There has been a perception that has grown for the past thirty years that money is the most important thing in this society. That perception needs to change NOW.

Anonymous 2

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not lazy and I do care about what I do. I have worked since I was 14 years old, and currently work two jobs to make ends meet. What I have, I have rightfully earned by my own efforts, and I'm proud of that. Collecting unemployment didn't get me where I am today, and handouts will never lift anyone out of poverty.

Contrary to your statement, America was, indeed, built by those with money and Carnegie, Jobs, and Ford had plenty of it. Because they had means, they were able to hire people to produce their products, creating jobs. Poor people can't give you a job because they simply can't pay you. So money is pretty important. Just ask those that don't have much of it.

Anonymous said...
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