Thursday, September 13, 2012

Romney on Jobs: Surrender your Democracy!

Romney thinks the public are stupid.  He knows the public want money from the government.  He also is strongly attracted to the nonsense libertarian notion that government by its nature is the uncreative sector of society, always the drag and never the engine.  He doesn't believe it, just as he doesn't believe that markets are efficient and competition good for everybody.  But he believes in upholding the theory.  In this case,  the theory is that because income taxes go to feed the government, which necessarily come mainly from the private sector, only the private sector can create an economy.  Funny, he does not feel that way about the fact that taxes on imported foreign goods financed the U.S. government for most of its history.  He does not say that Protectionism made America great, even though that would be the equivalent argument from American history since before the income tax came along, tariffs financed everything the U.S. government did.  Tariffs built the Panama Canal. Tariffs won the Civil War.  Tariffs built the railroads and won the West.

That government is by nature different than private initiative is  trivial nonsense of course, and Romney, Michigan born and bred, knows it.  The reason a great city grew up at Detroit was because the taxpayers of the State of New York hired tens of thousands of laborers on a little make work project called the Erie Canal.  No private finance created the canal and sped the development of the Great Lakes region.  Without that, Michigan would have been developed later and at the mercy of earlier centers of production.

Instead, Romney's taken a two prong attack on the president.  One is to misrepresent various parts of the government as though they are not government, trusting that people can be confused into thinking the military is not the government.  Romney puts all his proposed make work jobs, a stimulus, which he said did not work when Obama did it, in the military sector.  He also tries this from time to time with Medicare, trying to make people believe that Medicare is not the same as a government program, but with limited success.

The second is to take Republican obstruction of Obama's job creation strategies, and claim that this demonstrates Obama's incompetence.  Fortunately  for the American people, we have Paul Krugman to point out what it going on.   The Republicans actually got what they wanted during Obama's first term: reduced government sector employment of 571,000, albeit mainly at the state and local level. If the jobs and economy didn't grow like they said,  it was their ideology which failed, not the president's.

The question then becomes, under what scenario could the Republicans improve on jobs growth.  If they cut more jobs from government and offer more tax cuts to the rich, the middle class will never develop the spending necessary to create demand.  So Romney plans a stimulus of military money, and military jobs, but he is not talking millions of jobs.  As a stimulus, his plan is less than what the President offered in 2009.

So what can they do?  Pretty much only thing they can do, if they won't embrace protectionism, is to find a way to get business to start hiring again.  To believe that the Republicans can succeed in creating more jobs than Obama, you have to concede that the Republicans have sabotaged the economy by withholding jobs under Obama.  In short, you have ask the public to surrender politically to the rich, to acknowledge that the public no longer has the right to govern themselves, but only to accept the dictates of corporate power.  And that's a bleak vision for America.

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