Friday, September 7, 2012

The Rude Awakening

I certainly had my own thoughts on what happened last night, but what about the people who were actually there?

[Delegate Laurie Haley from Reno] said she is anxious to go home and start making phone calls and knocking on doors for Obama and for U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas, who is running for U.S. Senate.

“I’m ready to go home and make a difference,” she said. “I’m so energized that my husband probably won’t be able to live with me for the next 60 days until the election.”

Haley said she is better off than she was before Obama took office, in part because of his support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue employers for paying them less than men for the same jobs. The law was the first that Obama signed after taking office.

“It means that women like me won’t be paid 23 cents less than men for doing the same work,” Haley said. “That adds up to a lot of money per week,per month, per year and over the course of a career. It affects the quality of our lives.”

And this is exactly what the Democratic Convention was aimed to accomplish. With all the pundits' talk of "enthusiasm gaps" and "disillusionment", Democrats wanted to dispel that talk and show how Democrats are still fired up and ready to go. This week's convention in Charlotte went a long way in doing this.

But today, it looks like the economy is chiming in... And frankly, it isn't sounding all that great. However, we can't forget that exactly one year ago, President Obama offered a solution.

The American electorate was clamoring for action on jobs; the Obama White House crafted a credible plan that would be helping enormously right now; and congressional Republicans reflexively killed the Americans Jobs Act for partisan and ideological reasons.

With this recent history in mind, how are we to assign responsibility for high unemployment? Should we condemn the person who threw the job market a life preserver, or those who pushed it away? Or put another way, are we better off now as a result of Republican obstructionism and intransigence, or would we have been better off if the popular and effective job-creation measures had been approved?

By any reasonable measure, the GOP argument, which will be trumpeted loudly today, is completely incoherent -- they were wrong a year ago and now we're paying the price.

When we really think about it, we're lucky the economy created 96,000 jobs last month. Despite the constant G-O-TEA obstruction and economic sabotage, we're still seeing some kind of economic recovery.

However, it can be better. That's precisely why President Obama proposed the American Jobs Act last September. It would have created 1.9 million more jobs and an extra 2% worth of GDP growth this year. Yet instead of working with President Obama to speed up economic recovery, G-O-TEA politicians just kept obstructing.

Oh, and some G-O-TEA acolytes actually went further in proposing legislation to worsen our economic problems and throw America into depression! In fact, Nevada's own Dean Heller and Joe Heck both proposed bills last November aimed at slashing public investment in our economy precisely when our economy needed that investment the most.

Again, when taking this into consideration, it's actually a bit of a minor miracle that our economy is still growing and creating jobs. And it's become increasingly clear that our economy needs more investment, NOT LESS. This is what we started to hear from President Obama last night in Charlotte, and this is what we need to hear more from him about next Wednesday here in Las Vegas.

But let's face it, we still won't see enough progress if we don't see significant change in Congress. And this is the case President Obama and Congressional Democrats must make in order to sweep away the austerity nonsense and work on delivering real economic growth.

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