What if Obama's opposition spent two years preparing the perfect script to regain power for themselves? What if all actions were more about denying Obama a second term and less about helping America heal?
What if, the script is playing out as scheduled today?
What decisions were made? What actions were taken by leaders who wrote the script we see on the political theater stage today with regards to jobs numbers? What if the job results we see in America were part of a plan orchestrated over the years to gain more power?
Presidents can be re-elected when unemployment is high if things are headed in the right direction. Today, after 27 months of jobs growth, things are slowing down. Oddly, five months before the election. Was this part of the plan?
Did Republicans sabotage job creating legislation, whose impact would have been felt this year, to deny Obama a second term? Have they begun to pass things now that would trigger growth right after the election?
My intention is to start debate on the quality of our leaders, their actions, and their ideas.
Maybe Obama's policies were good, maybe bad. Maybe some leaders play politics better than others. Maybe those who play politics better should be in office. Maybe, Romney is a better answer. Maybe Obama has the answers, but has been blocked. On this story and the topics involved what do you think?
While this post is long, I know PolicyMic is filled with deep thinkers. You are the kind of people who would dig into this level of information and debate it. Jobs and politics are complex. This post aims at a longitudinal view through some of that complexity. I wrote as short a post as I was able. Out of patriotism, I believe we should have deep discourse on what is best for jobs in America.
The story: Obama proposed a major jobs measure that would have created nearly two million jobs in an election year. Debate was blocked by filibuster. The jobs bill was broken down into small parts, some consisting only of tax cuts. Only one part, to help veterans find jobs, was passed (a tiny fraction of the overall jobs legislation). In total, Republicans blocked entirely (not even allowing debate on the floor, which would put them on record) 17 jobs measures.
I can't say whether I really agree with the legislation or not. I disagree with the fact that all debate on the measure was blocked entirely. All jobs measures in total were blocked in entirety. Obama may have been wrong on everything... but... how could we know? It was just... blocked without debate.
All stories have a beginning, middle, and an end...
Watch the story unfold.
Republicans state their top political priority is to deny Obama a second term.
Obama is launching the American Jobs Act slated to create about 2,000,000 jobs in an election year.
All debate in both the House and Senate is blocked on the American Jobs Act. Republicans even filibuster debate so that they are not on record for being for or against what is in the measure. A majority of the measure is tax cuts, much is focused on helping small business, they want this to see as little daylight as possible. Debate, equals record and news coverage.
Obama breaks the law into 16 different pieces. Only a tiny snippet to help veterans find jobs is passed. All other elements are blocked entirely,not even allowed to come to the floor.
Today, Eric Cantor is running around the news channels talking about Obama's failed leadership on jobs when Cantor single handedly blocked debate on the American Jobs Act. Cantor offered no alternative. He couldn't. Most of the American Jobs Act was tax cuts, which is what his best idea would be.
Mitt Romney is attacking Obama on jobs round the clock. Attacking Obama for things Romney praised at the time and helped to create in the first place.
Video Tells the Story
Watch leaders in their own words as this story unfolds.
Begin with the context.
Economic context: 2010 and Now
Then: Housing was in a depression.
Now: Foreclosures peaked last summer. It takes about three years for one foreclosure to pass through the system. The largest dead weight of the financial crisis is now passing through the system. Housing sales and prices have been rising steadily.
Then: Stimulus spending was working through the system. The job losses at 800,000 per month had turned into gains of a few hundred thousand a month.
Now: Stimulus spending was passed to cover two years, which is now behind us. That support is no longer in the economy while we heal from the deepest crisis since the great depression. We have behind us about 27 months straight of job growth. Around 4,500,000 jobs added to the economy.
Then: Obama sees that one of our largest trading partners, Europe, may fall back into recession and he produces a counter-balance to prevent America from being dragged down too.
Now: Europe is in recession, China's growth is slowing, America is being dragged down too.
Then: Millions upon millions of jobs were lost before Obama took office. So many, that unemployment became one of the biggest drags on the economy.
Now: Things are healing. Layoffs are in healthy territory for turnover in the economy. Slack is coming out of the jobs market for the underemployed and the unemployed. We all wish it was faster. However, as this was a financial crisis, not a business cycle recession, things tend to take a lot longer.
Then: The main tools for restoring an economy had already been fired. Bush had passed tremendous tax cuts already. Interest rates were at zero percent before the economy collapsed. We had very little bullets left in the gun to help turn the economy around.
What happened then?
Beginning: In 2010 what were the top priorities of our leaders?
Here is Mitch McConnell. As leader of the Republicans in the Senate, McConnell is one of the most powerful Republicans in America. Step back to December 2010.
For Obama to fail... doesn't that mean that America has to fail? Maybe... fail just a little bit longer... until we can get rid of Obama. Maybe... people need to struggle just enough while Obama is President so we can get him out of office.
If America is doing great: Obama is re-elected. If America is doing poorly he is not.
So, would someone whose top political priority is to deny Obama a second term do things to hurt America? Or, to delay growth?
Here is President Barack Obama. His job is to collect the best ideas and lead America to what he believes would provide the most job growth. What does Obama do?
Obama calls a joint session of Congress to propose the American Jobs Act. The full proposal is here. A majority of the law is tax cuts and support for small business. In other speeches, Obama states that Europe may slide back into recession. To prevent America from being taken with it, during a fragile time in our recovery, we need a counter-balance.
Here is Obama at the joint session of Congress.
Whose top priority was jobs? Whose top priority was power?
Here is Obama's weekly address June 19th, 2010 regarding the overall issue of gridlock.
Middle: What happened when Obama sent the bill to Congress?
Debate was filibustered by Republicans in both houses. No conversation was allowed.
Obama broke the bill in 16 parts so that Republicans could block segments that were only tax cuts.
Republicans blocked every part except for one to help veterans.
That is a total of 17 jobs bills blocked.
They didn't say what they disagreed with. I don't even know if I agree with it. They completely blocked debate.
Filibuster Debate? For what purpose? Would this prevent a public record of Republicans having to explain why they are against all sorts of tax cuts and other measures to help small businesses? Would this minimize the time in the public eye? Would this minimize news coverage... so this is... swept under the rug?
Here is Senator Carl Levin as Senate Republicans filibustered debate.
Republicans may have better ideas, but where are they? Without debate, or a counter-proposal (Republican bill) there was no debate to reveal what Republicans actually believe. They just say NOPE! And end discussion on all jobs legislation. They assumed Americans would be too busy with their lives to remember.
That is the Senate... but, what happened in the house?
Eric Cantor used the same obstruction, the same filibuster in the house to block debate on the jobs bill. How did Obama respond at the time? Watch this video.
This was a long speech. Here is a slightly longer clip of Obama challenging Eric Cantor: What don't you agree with? What is wrong? Tell me!
Remember, a member of Congress can pick up the phone and call the President and ask them to adjust legislation.
Obama took Carl Levin's advice. 13 months before the elections. Here is Obama in Texas working to dial up public support.
What were leaders actually doing about jobs?
Want Republican videos? There could have been hundreds to choose from. Every Republican leader could have spoken their views on the floor of Congress for me to post. We could be debating the merits of the Republican ideas vs. the Democrat ideas today... but, there are none from Congress. Debate was filibustered. It was blocked entirely. I can't even find Republican ideas for creating jobs from that time to be for or against.
What were levels of public support for this jobs legislation?
In September 2011, 45% of Americans favored the Obama plan and 32% opposed.
End: What are these same leaders saying today?
Here is Eric Cantor who blocked all debate on job legislation. Most of the jobs bill was tax cuts. Watch him talking about fear and uncertainty about taxes going up. He is on a business news channel right now with the soul purpose of spreading that fear and uncertainty to business leaders about Obama. That is the mission of his entire speech in this video.
I am a small business owner. Obama has slashed my taxes so many times that for the first time in a decade I got money back from the federal government.
Here is Eric Cantor. Watch him talk about getting "the real stimulus going which is the private sector," at 4:50. Now go back and look at the tax cuts for small business that he blocked in the American Jobs Act two years ago.
Is he all talk? Did he block what he says is the solution to the problem? Why would he do that?
Imagine the perfect script. Block all jobs creating legislation. Then bring in your turn around expert to show how to fix America.
I mean it is almost too perfect!
Here is Romney the turn around expert ready to pounce:
He states, "This is a sign that President Obama's economic policies have failed."
I state... this is a sign that President Obama's policy to create jobs has been blocked.
Romney states that unemployment has been above 8% for 40 months.
I state... We've had 27 straight months of job growth. Coming off a period where we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. Unemployment peaked at over 10% in the worst recession since the great depression and has been heading forwards all along.
Romney says, "The President has been more focused on historic legislation than jobs." Well, look at the jobs bill above that Obama was focused on that Republicans blocked. Is it historic to focus on job creation during an economic collapse?
Romney argues that jobs numbers were hit hard by health care reform. Here is Romney praising Obama for copying his health care legislation. Romney makes calls against a single payer, "government run health plan," which never happened, was never proposed, and never was up for debate.
Romney praised Obama for copying parts of his plan. Obama went further. Obama hired the team Romney used to make his health care law for Massachusetts. Now that team is all angry about Romney's dishonesty and is making videos for the Obama campaign.
When business leaders were polled regarding their largest concerns. Top of the list was skyrocketing health care costs, which now eat up 19% of the economy. The highest rate of health care coverage was in Massachusetts where Mitt Romney's plan was passed. Obama used the states as the laboratory of democracy. He searched for the best solution that had been implemented. As health care reform had barely been touched for decades, there were tons of low hanging fruit solutions that would dramatically reduce costs.
Now watch Romney today. Here comes the pounce. The video headline on CNBC says "Romney on CNBC: It's Obama's Fault!"
Romney looks great. He sounds great. Gosh he looks so Presidential.
Sure... but, is he talking about what has really occurred? Or, what he wants people to believe occurred?
If he were to take office... is that when Republicans would pass job boosting legislation?
Is that when Republicans would begin to supply ideas for job creation?
What were the jobs numbers in March?
Jobs were reported as dismal... 120,000 new jobs added.
Layoffs were in a healthy economy territory though.
But, we had the sixth largest drop in underemployment in U.S. history. 441,000 people who were working part time got full time work, or those who were in a job below their skill level (ex. Starbuck's baristas who have an MBA) moved to full employment.
In March 561,000 jobs worth of slack was removed from the economy.
Find some videos from the news coverage. Coverage was so negative it has scared everyone back into hiding, when in fact it was a great month for jobs.
Maybe we need to scare the confidence and job creation out of the economy until after the election if we want Obama out of office.
Where are jobs numbers today?
Well, the American people are the economy. After hearing for an entire month how things were slowing down... business leaders and Americans pulled back into their safety spot.
We had one of the lowest amounts of job creation in April that we've had in the last 27 months... oddly timed 5 months before the election.
What is my feeling on the jobs legislation?
It is less important what is passed. It is more important that America feels like it's leadership is cooperating to solve problems. It is more important that Americans see progress, feel a tax cut, see construction... than the actual construction itself.
I don't care who wrote it. It could be the best Republican ideas. It could be the best Democrat ideas. I don't care.
It is more important that Americans see the two million new jobs added regardless of where they came from because when Americans feel like things are headed in the right direction... when they feel confident... they will take over the job of rebuilding America.
The greatest force for revitalizing the American economy is the American people. I believe that the tax cuts and actions in the American Jobs Act, whether they worked or not, would have at least worked well enough to awaken the American people's spirits - so Americans would rebuild.
More money flowing through the economy would have created that feeling.
Concerned about deficits? Concerned about debts?
Me too. Obama included in this bill how to pay for it without adding to the deficit.
When tax revenues are at 51 year lows in relation to GDP as they are today, isn't growing the economy is the best solution for reducing the deficit?
How do you feel knowing that 17 jobs bills were blocked from even having debate in Congress? Is what you witnessed here patriotism? Does this impact who you believe should be leading America?
Nations don't always recover from economic crises of this magnitude. This is how nations fall. Do you agree or disagree with the actions taken by both sides during the deepest recession since the Great Depression?
Sure jobs numbers are bad today, but they are bad by design? Most of the world wishes they had our economy today as Europe is falling back into recession. In context of a crisis this deep... are the numbers really that bad anyway?
Was America tricked regarding the quality of Obama's leadership?
What was it when Republicans blocked 17 pieces of jobs legislation?
Was this sabotage? Was this an orchestrated power grab? Was this script writing to set the stage for the 2012 elections? Was growth slowed down for political purposes?
What are they doing now? A new law called, "The JOBS Act," just passed with complete bi-partisan support, timed so the impact on jobs is after the elections.
I can't say Romney would be bad. I can't say Obama would be better. But, this is the story I see as it was written. I can say there are elements I agree with Eric Cantor on and each of the leaders. Of course, they all say some things that are good.
But, what about blocking all jobs legislation, offering no alternative, and then running around America going: WHERE ARE THE JOBS MISTER PRESIDENT?
I finalize with... if not tax cuts... which made up a majority of the American Jobs Act... during that major moment in the crisis... what would have helped jobs? What are the solutions? From all political philosophies... what do you think the best solution is for creating jobs today?