Yesterday, the Senate rejected, on a 50-50 vote, a “jobs bill” which was a microcosm of President Obama’s overall jobs-for-public-sector-union-members plan. Every Republican, along with two Democrats and Joe Lieberman, voted against the bill which would have funneled about $30 billion to states to hire/retain teachers and about $5 billion to hire/retain policemen and firefighters. The money would theoretically have come from a 0.5 percent surtax on the incomes of millionaires.
The bill was cynical at best, made that much more so by the words of Vice President Joe Biden who said essentially that Republicans who vote against the bill will be responsible for more rapes. Indeed, it could have been Biden’s reprehensible words which kept northeastern “moderate” Republicans on the reservation. If a Republican had said the same thing, the media would be screaming for his head on a pike.
In short, the bill was designed to transfer money from the most economically productive sectors of our society to members of public sector unions. Have no doubt, dear reader, that that was the reason teachers were chosen to receive the bulk of the money; they and their unions are among the biggest, most consistent donors to the Democratic Party.
Apparently feeling a great desire to spite Republicans, a majority of Democrats then turned around and voted to maintain a three percent withholding tax on federal contracts. The tax was passed in 2005 but never implemented; recently the IRS again delayed implementation until 2012 on the expectation that it would be repealed.
Even President Obama is against the tax, which he called “burdensome withholding requirements that keep capital out of the hands of job creators.” According to a report by The Hill, “The Government Withholding Relief Coalition, a group of more than 140 trade associations and state and local governments, argues that the total cost of implementing the language would be about $75 billion over five years. The measure is expected to raise just $8.4 billion in tax revenues during that same time period.”
Ten Democrats voted with a unanimous Republican caucus, but it wasn’t enough to break the 60-vote filibuster-ending threshold, and the measure lost 57-43. Clearly it now takes 60 votes to do anything in the US Senate.
If the Coalition is correct and the measure costs even a modest fraction of their prediction, the withholding tax that Democrats just voted to keep will kill real jobs in the private sector — exactly the jobs which government needs to promote the creation of since they don’t exist on the basis of government transfers of income and thus are the true generators of wealth in America. (This is not to say that teachers are not important, just that we must remember that their salaries — at least within the public education system — come from taxes, and that because of the “it’s not for the children” views of their union leaders they consistently oppose efficiency and rewarding the best and brightest, thus lowering the quality of their service while raising its cost.)
Although it may be a little too far from election time to be widely remembered, business groups and Republican candidates everywhere should remind voters of what the U.S. Senate did in yesterday’s vote. Although the vote on the small-but-still-disgusting bite of the Obama jobs-for-public-sector-workers plan will get the media attention, it is the failure to repeal this withholding tax which should be the focus of business owners and their employees. It is just the latest example of Democrats’ refusal to get rid of job-killing bureaucratic micro-management designed by people who have never had a real job and never met a payroll.
Finally, when Democrats complain about a “do-nothing Congress” or “Republican obstructionism”, here is more intellectual ammunition to fire back with: the bipartisanship was that some Democrats voted with all of the Republicans only to lose to the true obstructionists in American government.
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