It’s no big secret that things are getting harder for the poor and middle class in America.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. jobless rate currently stands at 9.1 percent overall. As usual, the numbers are much higher for minorities — 16 percent of African-Americans and 11.3 percent of Latinos are currently unemployed.
And if that news wasn’t bad enough, just last week the Congressional Budget Office issued a shocking report detailing just how wide the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us really is: The after-tax inflation-adjusted income of the nation’s top tier grew by a whopping 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, while the income of the middle class grew by an average of 40 percent. Those who occupy the bottom rung of the nation’s economic ladder saw their income grow by a mere 18 percent. Remember, this is over a nearly 40-year span of time. The report has even deeper implications for African-Americans, whose median family income is 38 percent lower than whites.
Needless to say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something has to be done to jump-start this economy soon or we are headed for an economic disaster. This is the major reason why President Obama created a $477 billion jobs bill that would boost the American economy without increasing the deficit one cent. According to economic experts, the jobs bill would grow the economy by at least 2 percent by creating 1.7 million jobs in a nation that is currently suffering from a seriously sagging economy. Although the jobs bill wouldn’t have helped all of the 14 million unemployed, it would have been a good start toward alleviating the situation. Unfortunately, a pared-down version of the bill failed to pass the Senate, falling just ten votes shy of the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, clear it and cut off Republican filibuster efforts.
The GOP’s main objection to a national jobs bill is based on their belief that Government has no business spending money creating jobs programs. However, now that there is a possibility of deep cuts in defense spending due to the legislative super-committee’s failure to agree on deficit reduction plan, the GOP is suddenly changing its tune. Republican lawmakers like California Rep. Buck McKeon, who has attacked Obama for spending too much, have a different view when it comes to the military. McKeon warned the super-committee that any cuts in defense spending would result in the loss of jobs.
So let’s see if I’ve got this straight — Republicans spending government money on creating jobs building bombs that we may or may not use is okay, but spending that same money creating jobs by building desperately needed schools and bridges is unthinkable?
I don’t know about you, but it sounds like good old-fashioned hypocrisy to me.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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