The Spectacle Blog

Jobs Bill No Better in Small Bites

By on 10.19.11 | 5:52PM

Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he'll bring up part of President Obama's "jobs" plan for a vote on Friday (October 21).

In particular the bill aims to give states $35 billion to retain public sector union employees (teachers, police, firemen), while adding a 0.5 percent surtax on the incomes of millionaires. About 86 percent of the money would go to teachers.

Reid made the remarkable statement that "private sector jobs have been doing just fine" while trying to make the federal government pay for the state-and-local responsibilities of teachers, cops, and firefighters.

It's true that government sector employment has been on a modest but steady downward trend for most of the past two years.

And thank goodness that's true. The bloated bureaucracies and budgets of state and local governments are leeches sucking the blood of the productive members of society, and I say that without animus toward any individual state or local government employee.

The last thing that the federal government should do is take billions more dollars from the private sector to ensure that the coffers of public sector unions are filled with dues. And make no mistake, that's what this "jobs bill" is about.

Reid's move is purely, cynically political -- part of the Democrats' only remaining election strategy: class warfare.

In a minor victory for Senator Chuck Schumer over Barack Obama, the war against the "rich" has now been shifted from those who make at least $250,000 per year to those who make at least $1,000,000 per year.

Thus, the Democrats are portraying this vote as the millionaires versus your kids and your safety.

Vice President Joe Biden was none too subtle on Wednesday, saying "Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms, are you going to put 18,000 cops back on the street and 7,000 firefighters back in the firehouses? Or are you going to save people with average incomes of $1 million a one-half of 1 percent increase on tax on every dollar they make over a million?"

Beyond the fact that this is a big pile of Marxism with a "for the children" frosting, even if one were inclined to support the measure (which I am not) it nevertheless leads to a question: "Where will you then draw the line?"

Furthermore, the moral hazard of the federal government bailing out state, county, and local governments is a recipe for keeping the government bubble inflated, in much the same way that the Fed is inappropriately keeping interest rates near zero in order to force Americans to invest and spend rather than to save. The federal government has enough financial problems without taking on the problems of the state. What Obama, Reid and friends want to do -- taking from a rich guy to give to teachers (and more importantly teachers' unions) -- would get an individual thrown in jail if he tried the same thing. It is nothing more than what Bastiat termed "legalized plunder."

Even "moderates" like Mitt Romney, himself playing the class warfare game with his proposal to give capital gains tax relief only to those who make less than $200,00 per year, must come out aggressively against this bill. It must be called out for what it is: the camel's nose under the tent, the first step toward implementing Obama's second stimulus -- a plan to fail just as surely as the first one did -- in one small bite at a time rather than choking down the whole disgusting platter of Progressivism.

I hope, but do not have great confidence, that Republican leaders will aggressively stand up against this truly cynical plan, particularly explaining how Democratic leaders have not a single clue how to create a private sector job.

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