On behalf of the 15.9 percent of Americans who compose the real jobless rate and their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who compose the 30 percent of Americans suffering misery from unemployment, I write this angry dissent against the culture of callousness of official Washington, which is doing virtually nothing to create jobs in America.
The ugly housing numbers released Tuesday suggest a double-dip collapse below earlier crash levels. The ugly jobs numbers released Wednesday by ADP remind us why 55 percent of Americans believe the nation is in a recession or depression, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Never before in American history has unemployment been so high, yet neither the president nor Congress pushes for a major jobs bill. With so many Americans crushed by personal and family economic tragedy, there is no attempt to enact any program worth a damn to help the jobless, except by House Democrats, whom I credit for trying.
My mission here is to give voice to the jobless, who have little voice in this town. I must offend some friends as well as adversaries.
I angrily dissent from the lack of a major jobs program. I angrily dissent from a Federal Reserve policy that provided some $20 trillion to bankers in the greatest trickle-down exercise in world history, which created vast wealth at the top, rampant speculation throughout markets, the cash-starving of small businesses and a tidal wave of foreclosures by bailed-out bankers who showed neither common sense, basic decency nor economic patriotism. Then they whine to the media that their feelings are hurt because they are unpopular.
I called for a foreclosure freeze in this paper in 2007. I angrily dissent against incompetent foreclosure programs under two presidents and many banks that poison our economy by extending the collapse of housing and reinforcing the collapse of jobs, which small minds call “the new normal.”
The acceptance of current jobless levels is the lowering of our standards to miserable levels, the shame of our time, the scandal of our age and the source of public contempt toward Washington and Wall Street.
The president deserves great credit for rescuing the auto industry, but this is not the moment for victory laps. It is a time for taking responsibility, not taking credit. If Martin Luther King Jr. were here, he would express great pride that President Obama was elected while calling millions of people to Washington to protest against the neglect that I deplore here.
It is not acceptable for the president and Democrats to fail to fight for a major jobs program and take their fight to the voters. It is not acceptable for Republicans to blockade programs to create jobs, propose many actions that will destroy jobs, and try to blackmail America into an economic crash by threatening to defeat the debt-ceiling increase unless their anti-jobs ideology is enacted into law.
It is an outrage to punish the jobless with Marie Antoinette economics, where the same old policy pigs are dressed in new tuxedos, the same old bromides are falsely called job creators, the jobless are told, “Let them eat public relations” and those jobless for 99 weeks are treated like human garbage to be thrown away and forgotten, or degraded and humiliated by the sickening lie that they want to be jobless.
Let’s bring back the housing tax credit, now. Let’s put a jobs program into the budget talks. Let’s promote buying American and rebuilding America. Let’s not burden our children with costs and deaths of bridges that collapse and cars that crash on roads that decay.
Let’s find Ted Kennedy Democrats and Jack Kemp Republicans and take the best of their ideas for jobs.
Today I condemn the consensus in this town and write on behalf of the jobless. Those whose failures caused their pain should have the moral decency, economic sense and political courage to make America great by putting Americans to work.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at [email protected]