Honor Workers With A Real Jobs Program
– by David Matthews 2
Have you ever looked up the origins of the American holiday known as Labor Day?
It’s not a happy story. There’s actually a lot of guilt involved.
Labor Day was created as a federal holiday in 1894 following a bloody massacre committed by US Marshalls and members of the US Army under orders from President Grover Cleveland. The victims were all members of the American Railway Union, which back in 1893 was engaged in a very caustic workers strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago. 13 strikers were murdered, 34 wounded, and damages were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. (In today’s dollars that a few million.) To compensate for his role in the carnage that took place, Cleveland and the Congress made the first Monday in September into a federal holiday to honor the trade and labor organizations.
How insulting, then, to find out that on the same week that we honor workers, the President of the United States had to haggle over when he could address the nation and Congress over his latest plan to “deal with” the millions of workers that have been maliciously and callously forsaken by this nation.
It has become painfully clear – at least to those not in Washington – that the key to our economic recovery rests with putting the millions of Americans that have lost their jobs back to work. The GOP, the willing whores of Big Corporate, intentionally wrote off those millions of Americans so their friends in Wall Street could reap record profits. Meanwhile, the Democrats, being the perpetual fail machines that they are, have so far skated around the issue of putting those millions of Forsaken Americans back to work. They coddled and catered to the “Too Big To Fail” banks and the insurance companies and the same Wall Street Masters of the Universe that have been pillaging America like barbarian hoards for their own profit margins, hoping against hope that the pillagers would somehow do what’s right on their own accord sooner rather than later.
While Corporate America has been busy shaking down this nation for every penny it can steal, millions of Americans have been intentionally abandoned. Millions that are eager and willing to work, eager and willing to get the economy started again, eager and willing to get their lives back. Millions that have been far more deserving of their attention and government assistance than any member of Wall Street could ever be, and yet they’ve been ignored at best and maliciously slandered at worst. Millions that have become the Forsaken Americans.
These Forsaken Americans are the very people that the economy needs to be working again. It is their productivity that would provide the payroll taxes needed to offset the budget deficit. It is their incomes that would buy the houses that have been stolen by the banks and left to rot. It is their incomes that would purchase the furniture that would fill those homes, and buy and maintain those cars that would be parked in the driveways. Their money would pay for the clothes purchased at the stores and pay for the food consumed at the restaurants. Their money that would keep the local banks solvent so they wouldn’t have to rely on criminal tricks. Their money that would pay for local taxes so cities and towns could pay for the police and pay for the firefighters and keep the roads paved.
And all it would take is for the business world to hire those millions of Forsaken Americans.
There is no legitimate excuse for Big Corporate to not do that. After all, they were the ones that promised they’d do that if Congress and the White House sustained the Bush Tax Cuts. They were the ones that sent out the GOP talking point memos that said that sustaining those cuts would result in job creation. Instead of making good on their promise, they took the money and kept posting profits and then complained like their own spoiled children that it “wasn’t enough”.
So now President Obama has finally decided to supposedly “do something” to deal with the “problem” of the Forsaken Americans. It is a “problem” that he has been talking about and talking about and talking about ever since he took office but he hasn’t really tried to resolve. While he’s been talking, more and more Americans have joined the ranks of the Forsaken Americans, and the economy has slowly been sliding from abysmal to even bleaker still, and all of the political spinning can neither change nor dilute that assessment anymore.
And yet, if history combined with rumors of what this “new program” will contain are true, then the millions upon millions of Forsaken Americans will be forsaken by Obama yet again.
Let’s break it down…
Infrastructure funding: Roads and bridges… the eternal sacred cow for the Obama Fail. Yes, they are all coming apart, but that’s because there aren’t enough taxpaying Americans to fund those programs. Throwing tax money at infrastructure programs is nothing more than the economic equivalent of treading water. It solves absolutely nothing in the long-term, and it fuels the neo-con talking point about “rewarding unions”, which means the GOP would love to do nothing more than to slash this idea into little pieces. If Obama put more emphasis into bitch-slapping Corporate America into hiring those millions of Forsaken Americans, then eventually you’d see the tax money needed to fix the roads and bridges.
Greater emphasis on education: An eternal sacred cow of the White House, regardless of who is in there. Everyone wants to be the “education president” and every single one of them has championed programs that have ultimately failed the American people. We’ve gone from “Johnny can’t read” to “Waiting for Superman” to the Atlanta School System’s rampant cheating scandal. When you realize that the bulk of the Forsaken Americans are college-educated, including people with Masters and doctorates, then you realize that this is yet another treading water program, not to mention another one that feeds the neo-con talking point about “rewarding unions”.
Extending unemployment benefits: If Obama brings this idea to Congress then it will be Dead-On-Arrival. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It is dead, and the GOP has no qualms whatsoever telling the Forsaken Americans to “drop dead” alongside it. Half the Congress has been spending the past two years maliciously slandering the Forsaken Americans for having the “audacity” of losing their jobs and not finding new ones immediately, and they have repeatedly allowed those benefits to expire with absolutely no care whatsoever about those millions of Americans. Plus the recent budget and debt ceiling “compromises” have already gutted those benefits to the new members of the Forsaken Americans. Do you really think that the malicious narcissists in control of the Congress are willing to see those political victories overturned just because Obama makes a speech? Even if they were willing to “extend” already-existing benefits, they sure as hell will not sign on to any program that gives a further extension to those that have already exhausted their benefits. In other words, it’s still “Drop Dead” for the 99-ers.
Job assistance to veterans: This actually could stand a chance at passing given how conservatives and neo-conservatives have a raging war fetish. Helping out the veterans newly-returned from Iraq and Afghanistan get new jobs? Oh they’d jump at the chance! Unfortunately this does very little to help the rest of the Forsaken Americans out there. You know, the ones that were working and “supporting the troops”. It’s a good idea, but it’s still a drop in the overall bucket that is our problem.
Payroll tax holiday for hiring the long-term jobless: Remember when the GOP promised that they would never support a tax hike for anyone? Well apparently there is an exception to that promise. There is already a payroll tax holiday that was set up from the Bush years that is set to expire on January 1st. Obama wants this extended, but apparently some in the GOP, for some strange reason, think that it should expire. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those tax breaks that doesn’t benefit the wealthy. The problem with this program is that the tax holiday in and of itself is apparently too small for businesses to want to take advantage of it.
So what do we have so far? We have programs that fail to gain traction against the rampant problem of unemployment, programs that do absolutely nothing to help those Forsaken Americans that truly need help, and programs that probably will never see the light of day because of the rampant narcissism of the GOP.
Let’s get brutally honest here… the American people need a jobs program that actually works! Our whole economic recovery rests with getting those millions of Forsaken Americans back to work. And they need to get back to work today, not six or seven months later after spending money they don’t have on education programs that don’t guarantee employment. The Forsaken Americans have no more time or money to waste waiting around, and every day that they are doing just that spirals the rest of the nation further and further down the economic drain.
If President Obama wants to go through all of that political wrangling to get a public address to Congress, then his proposed “jobs program” better do far more than offer up the wasted ideas already proposed and done with minimal effect. He needs to deliver nothing short of a Roosevelt-style jobs program from the 1930’s, not to mention a verbal castigation on the mindsets of those that have maliciously slandered those millions of Forsaken Americans that are desperately needed for our recovery to actually begin. He needs to abandon the Orwellian redefining of “job creation” as being a job “created or saved”, since it has done nothing but waste our time and erode what little confidence the American people have left in him to actually do his own job. He also needs to get rid of his so-called “advisors” that have so far done nothing but convince him to let this nation continue to rot.
Labor Day became a national holiday because of a needless massacre waged by the federal government. Today a much different massacre is being committed on millions of American people and their families. It is a massacre of spirit and a slow and painful death of our economy. And if the President fails to address that with a Roosevelt-style response, then he will be treated less like FDR and more like Herbert Hoover, and the next layoff will be his own.