Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Republicans don't care about creating jobs

On the campaign trail, folks like Mitt Romney criticize President Obama for not doing what needs to be done to create jobs for Americans who are out of work. But if you listen a little deeper, you can tell that's a lie. They don't really care about creating jobs because their diagnosis of the problem differs from the one most Americans embrace.

Here's Gov. Chris Christie explaining all that at a day-long conference on tax policy hosted by former President George W. Bush.

"We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society. That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally," Christie told Bush, Henry Kissinger and an assortment of Republican governors in a theater at the New York Historical Society.

"When the American people no longer believe that this is a place where only their willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity and ingenuity determines their success in life, then we’ll have a bunch of people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check," Christie said.

We've heard this kind of thing before from Republicans. Romney alludes to it all the time. But it was Herman Cain who came right out and said that if you don't have a job, its your own fault.

Now I must admit that I'd love to ask Gov. Christie to clarify these remarks a bit. When he talks about "a paternalistic entitlement society," is he actually referring to entitlement programs? If so I'd agree. My parents, who are in their mid-80's, do spend an awful lot of their time sitting around waiting for their next government Social Security check. And they also take great advantage of the government Medicare program to cover their massive health care costs. Since my mother is likely to need nursing home care in the near future, I also assume they'll have to rely on Medicaid for that one since that kind of care is beyond their means to support. I'm wondering if Christie is suggesting that they need to get off the damn couch, get back to work, and pay their own way. If so, I'd suggest he just come out and say so. My parents, who are the most staunch Republicans I know, might even take issue with that.

But perhaps Christie wasn't talking about them. Maybe he's referring to actual working-age Americans who are part of the 8.2% that are currently receiving "government checks" through unemployment insurance. Oh, and while these people are out of work, they're likely also receiving food stamps so they can feed their families and housing assistance to keep a roof over their heads and sending their kids to public schools. Damn slackers!

What Christie is saying is that we have an unemployment problem because these lazy Americans won't get off their couch and go find a job. According to him, it has nothing to do with there not being enough jobs out there. So it makes sense that Republicans wouldn't support government intervention to create jobs when all that's needed is to get those damn slackers off their couches by taking away their unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing assistance, public education, etc. And that's exactly what Rep. Paul Ryan's budget does. Makes sense now, doesn't it?

Is it any wonder that President Obama called this kind of thinking social darwinism?

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