Friday, October 24, 2014

Republicans Ready for Senate Takeover With 46 Job-Related Bills: How Good Are They?

As of Thursday evening, says the Republicans are 9 to 4 favorites to take over the United States Senate.  If and when that happens, the House, which has been Republican-dominated this term, will not see a need to work on any bills designed to improve United States employment.  It has already cleared 46 of them, which Speaker John A. Boehner has been pushing. 

What’s on the list, and how much would they help the American jobs situation?

  • Approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  Positive, as it would create jobs, and take America one step closer to, though still far away from, maximizing its energy resources and opportunities. 
  • Block federal regulation of fracking.  Slightly positive, for the same reasons.
  • Open national forests to timber companies.  Slightly positive, as jobs would be needed to cut it. 
  • Water projects in Oregon and California.  Positive, though may not be very labor-intensive.
  • Allowing business owners to record phone calls and meetings with federal government regulators.  Neutral – no real job loss or gain here. 
  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Negative.  Obamacare is adding jobs and will continue to do so.
  • The Ryan Plan, making changes to Medicare and Medicaid, cutting military and other spending, and reducing taxes.  Slightly negative. 
    How do these stack up, as a group, as jobs initiatives?  Puny.  And extremely partisan.
    The last three are not jobs bills at all.  The first and fourth are useful, though small and incremental.  There is no mention of the badly-needed infrastructure effort, or anything else nearly that broad-based and large.  Passing off these things as significant employment legislation shows Republican priorities are elsewhere.
    So, does that mean I’m happy with the Democrats instead?  No!  They are little better, with their emphasis on raising the minimum wage (negative) and climate change (slightly negative). 
    The 2014 midterms look bleak for jobs.  Maybe the unemployment drop is the reason, though both sides agree employment, and the rest of the economy, is the most important issue for voters – above Ebola, beyond the alleged evils of the National Football League, over the real or imagined need for more “diversity” in high-technology and other careers, even over guns. 
    So, vote for whom you will – but check their websites first.  Some have plenty to say, some have almost nothing.  We’ll get the leaders, and the jobs efforts, we deserve.  Yes, I’m grouchy this time – that will get better when both sides see the need to work together for the good of the country.  Such an epiphany may precede a severe and obvious need, but I’m not betting on it.    

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