Tonight in the debate President Obama used the opportunity afforded him to not only critisize the "nation building" policies of the previous administration but to point out that we had a nation right here, America that needs some rebuilding of its own. Not only that, we have millions of Americans who need to be put to work doing that "nation building". While Republicans will tell you that President Obama has no plans to do that in his second term as always with the Republicans the truth is far from their reality. You see, President Obama had a plan to do that in his FIRST term.
It was called the American Jobs Act. It could have put millions more Americans back to work and in the last four years could have gone a long way in repairing our infrastructure. You see, unlike the Republicans in Congress and Mitt Romney, Barack Obama believes our own country and people are worth investing in.
One of the main points of his American Jobs Act would have created untold jobs in one sector crippled by the Republican recession of 2008. Construction:
The President's plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of "D" from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. The President's plan includes investments to improve our airports, support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts, and resources for the TIGER and TIFIA programs, which target competitive dollars to innovative multi-modal infrastructure programs. It will also take special steps to enhance infrastructure-related job training opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure that small businesses can compete for infrastructure contracts. The President will work administratively to speed infrastructure investment through a recently issued Presidential Memorandum developed with his Jobs Council directing departments and agencies to identify high impact, job-creating infrastructure projects that can be expedited in a transparent manner through outstanding review and permitting processes. The call for greater infrastructure investment has been joined by leaders from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
Yes, you read that right. While Republicans squeel about "bi-partisanship" they actually have shunned legislation that even the Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO could agree on.
And that was far from the only way this act would have helped rebuild America:
Putting People Back to Work Rehabilitating Homes, Businesses and Communities. The President is proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Building on proven approaches to stabilizing neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures, Project Rebuild will bring in expertise and capital from the private sector, focus on commercial and residential property improvements, and expand innovative property solutions like land banks. This approach will not only create construction jobs but will help reduce blight and crime and stabilize housing prices in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis.
So what happened?? Rebuilding our nation and investing in our own people were talked about in 2008 and Americans seemed to overwhelmingly vote for that idea. What happened to the 1.3 million jobs that could have been created doing just that? Paul Krugman explains better than I ever could:
Think of it as a two-part strategy. First, obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy's weakness for political gain. If this strategy sounds cynical, that's because it is. Yet it's the G.O.P.'s best chance for victory in November.
You could argue that we're having a genuine debate about economic policy, in which Republicans sincerely believe that the things Mr. Obama proposes would actually hurt, not help, job creation. However, even if that were true, the fact is that the economy we have right now doesn't reflect the policies the president wanted.
And what of the myth that when he was first elected because their were Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and he could have gotten whatever he wanted?:
As anyone who was paying attention knows, the period during which Democrats controlled both houses of Congress was marked by unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate. The filibuster, formerly a tactic reserved for rare occasions, became standard operating procedure; in practice, it became impossible to pass anything without 60 votes. And Democrats had those 60 votes for only a few months. Should they have tried to push through a major new economic program during that narrow window? In retrospect, yes - but that doesn't change the reality that for most of Mr. Obama's time in office U.S. fiscal policy has been defined not by the president's plans but by Republican stonewalling.
The most important consequence of that stonewalling, I'd argue, has been the failure to extend much-needed aid to state and local governments. Lacking that aid, these governments have been forced to lay off hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers and other workers, and those layoffs are a major reason the job numbers have been disappointing. Since bottoming out a year after Mr. Obama took office, private-sector employment has risen by 4.6 million; but government employment, which normally rises more or less in line with population growth, has instead fallen by 571,000.
In other words President Obama and Progressives everywhere did not get what we wanted. Our policies did not get enacted. Instead we must take the blame for an economy that never reflected our vision for this country entirely.
That is because Republican "leaders" told early on what their vision for our nation's recovery was:
And what is the best way to do that? Since Republican "leaders" like McConnell know their sorry asses are covered because they have redistributed most of our nation's wealth to themselves with their never ending "class war" on all of us they know they can merely delay creating jobs while profits rebound and extend pain to all of us. They can punish us for daring to even consider electing someone who would interupt their redistributionist party.
Now they are running on the fact that the recovery from their crash is slower than it should be because "socialist" or "progressive", and even "the President's" policies have failed. The truth is real policies have not been enacted for a reason. Republicans hope to use the slow recovery they are fostering to allow Mitt Romney into the White House to reenact all the failed policies that destroyed our country to begin with, but this time on crack.
Their only reason is that they want to continue the "trickle-down" policy at all costs and keep the good times rolling for a very few. Them.