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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Jobs Anyone?

Katrina vanden Heuval asks a hell of a good question in her Washington Post op-ed “Why aren’t the powers that be tackling the jobs crisis?” vanden Heuval gives the Republicans a sound and richly-deserved thrashing for their monumental hypocrisy on the subject, spotlighting GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s “Senate Republican Jobs Plan,” which hinges on “more top-end and corporate tax cuts, more deregulation, more corporate trade accords” and a catch-all Republican wish-list which has zero chance of being enacted.
The Dems also have a new jobs plan, which has some good features, though you can’t be blamed if you haven’t heard about it, so limp has been the leadership and media coverage behind it. Here’s vanden Heuval’s description of the package:

The next day, House Democrats unveiled their more ambitious “Make It in America” plan. This recognizes that the country can’t keep shipping jobs abroad while borrowing $2 billion a day from abroad to pay for what we import. The package contains its share of political malarkey — the Braley bill to ensure that all American flags are made in America, for example — but at its center is a serious strategy for revitalizing the country, one that deserves far more attention and debate than it’s getting. It tasks the president with creating a manufacturing strategy for the country. It would establish an infrastructure bank and invest in rebuilding America’s decrepit roads and bridges. A range of incentives are proposed for capturing a lead in the green industrial revolution that will sweep the world. The plan also would legislate buy-America procurement policies to help create markets at home while setting up a mechanism to challenge Chinese currency manipulation.

Not a bad start. I hope it doesn’t get too complicated as it develops. The legal challenges to the health care reform act indicate the trouble “big package” reforms risk in today’s polarized political climate– even after they are enacted. I’d rather see a series of separate jobs bills get floor votes in rapid succession than have congress vote on one big package proposal, which may have a dicey provision or two that give its opponents cover. Better to fault one’s electoral opponent for voting against a dozen different jobs bills, than one big one he/she can nitpick.
Poll after poll shows that jobs have been the central concern of the middle class for a couple of years now. It would be good to see any Democratic jobs bill get some media traction, even if it is late in the game. Let the House Republicans vote jobs bills down, and then make them defend their votes next year, as we remind them again and again of Boehner’s 2010 campaign slogan “Where are the jobs?”

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