Jobs: The Only Way to Fix the Economy

Last week the jobs bill passed the Senate. It had cleared the House earlier in the month. At a time when so many Americans are out of work, one would think that such a bill would be supported by nearly everyone. One would be wrong:

While the measure won support from some Republicans, others in the party were skeptical that it would help create jobs, or said they were distressed at its cost. “This isn’t so much a jobs bill as it is a debt bill,” said Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican.

This is the same Judd Gregg who didn’t approve of the bill passed earlier in the month that gave tax cuts to businesses and extended COBRA and unemployment benefits.

“Why do we keep doing this?” asked Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). “Why do we keep passing debt on to our children? Why do we keep running program after program out here that is shrouded in sweetness and light but not paid for?”

The last official unemployment report shows:

In February, the number of unemployed persons, at 14.9 million, was essentially unchanged, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent.

These reports only cover those who have filed for, or are still collecting unemployment. They do not count those whose benefits have run out, or those who were never eligible for benefits at all. They do not count the underemployed. The real numbers are much higher, which makes Senator Gregg’s statements even more offensive.

Sadly, there are those who believe that extending benefits for the jobless is a bad idea. The ultra conservative Heritage Foundation suggests that the jobs bill is a bad idea because it expands benefits for TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).

Today the U.S. House of Representatives will take up a new “jobs” bill, HR4849, that includes a $2.5 billion provision to expand the size of welfare rolls and pay states when they add people to their caseloads.

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This anti-reform fund actually pays states ‘bonus” money for increasing the size of their welfare caseloads without any incentives to place people into jobs and move them off of the dole.

Ahem. It’s a jobs bill. It’s a jobs bill that makes some provision for the fact that there aren’t any jobs right now, and needy families need to survive until there are. How can they give “incentives” to put people into non-existent jobs?

Thankfully, here’s Ethan Pollack from the Economic Policy Institute to tell us what we already know – the only way to fix the economy, and reduce the deficit is by creating jobs.

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