Brace for the 2014 Wave

election-wave-350On January 24, Gallup released a poll that should send shivers up the spines of Democrats and Republicans throughout official Washington. The full story was titled: “Record low say own representative deserves re-election.”

Gallup found that only 46 percent of voters believe their individual member of Congress should be reelected, a record low that is significantly lower than was reported in the wave elections of 1994, 2006 and 2010. Equally ominous for members facing voters in 2014, Gallup also found that only 17 percent of those voters believe most members deserve reelection, another historic low.

What is happening in American politics is extraordinary and unprecedented. The stage is set for a wave election in 2014 that is not directed against one party but simultaneously against both parties, on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and in both houses of Congress.

Voters remain imprisoned in a decade of depression during which they have believed our nation is on the wrong track. In the latest expression of pervasive pessimism, the RealClearPolitics average of polls finds that almost 63 percent of Americans believe the nation is on the wrong track, and public disapproval of Congress has risen above 80 percent. These trends have poisoned the public mood toward incumbent politicians for a decade, fomenting repeated “change elections” that have failed to bring change, fueling near universal public contempt toward Congress.

The conditions are ripe for an electoral explosion of public discontent that could shake the foundation of American politics. President Obama’s popularity is near the lowest of any president in the sixth year of his presidency, comparable to then-President George W. Bush’s low numbers during the anti-GOP wave of 2006. Public antipathy toward Congress is greater than during the anti-Democratic wave of 2010. Anyone expressing certainty about “winners and losers” in 2014 is betting with fool’s gold. Public anger is now directed against both parties.

The stakes are enormous. The fate of the House, the Senate and the Obama presidency are all in play. The big variable is jobs.

According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a powerful 91 percent believe creating jobs should be an urgent national priority. Major legislation offered by Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), with a growing list of bipartisan co-sponsors, could create a million new jobs and bring a surprise agreement between the president, Congress, business and labor that would reduce public antipathy toward incumbents and help avoid an anti-incumbent wave in 2014.

This bill would allow U.S. multinationals to repatriate $1 trillion of capital, now sitting idly abroad to avoid high taxes, by purchasing low-taxed bonds to finance an infrastructure rebuild of America.

This bill would guarantee the creation of dramatic numbers of good-paying American jobs. It would promote a rising tide to lift all American boats and a “virtuous circle” that benefits the 1 percent and the 99 percent together.

For business, this is the only realistic option to achieve repatriation. Because infrastructure bonds would be publicly traded, firms could convert foreign-held capital to the bonds and then sell them on public markets, turning them into liquid capital while jobs are created, growth is increased, revenue is raised and deficits are cut.

Delaney told me Tuesday: “This bill is gaining bipartisan support because it represents the largest jobs bill in Congress and brings together the Democratic desire to rebuild America and the Republican desire to get capital flowing to create private sector jobs.”

Brent-Budowsky-175If Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen would move to redirect a small amount of quantitative easing programs to buying infrastructure bonds, the job gain could approach 2 million while the net cost of Fed purchasing would markedly decline.

By collaborating to create large numbers of new jobs for Americans, members of Congress could dodge the anti-incumbent wave and save their own jobs.

Brent Budowsky
The Hill


  1. JimmySpriggs says

    The Partnership to Build America Act of 2013 (H.R. 2084) and its counterpart the Partnership to Build America Act of 2014 (S. 1957) are currently in committee. Given the almost unprecedented, abysmal record of the recent congress, Govtrack gives these bills about a 3% chance of passage.

    Americans for Tax Fairness say that the bill(s) will cost taxpayers $100 billion in order to create $50 billion for the infrastructure bank through an “amnesty tax holiday” to, once again, reward multinational corporations for shirking their responsibility to pay their own way. The goal of the bill is good and necessary, but does the end always have to justify the means? These organizations are against the passage of the Partnership to Build America Act:

    Action for the Common Good
    Alliance for a Just Society
    American Federation of Government Employees
    American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
    American Federation of Teachers
    American Sustainable Business Council
    Americans for Democratic Action
    Americans for Tax Fairness Asia Initiatives
    Campaign for America’s Future
    Center for Effective Government
    Citizens for Tax Justice
    Coalition on Human Needs
    Community Action Partnership
    Community Organizations in Action
    Economic Policy Institute
    Every Child Matters
    FACT Coalition
    Fair Share
    International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
    Main Street Alliance
    National Low Income Housing Coalition
    National Organization for Women
    National People’s Action
    National Women’s Law Center
    Natural Investments
    NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
    New Rules for Global Finance
    Oxfam America
    Principled Investing LLC
    Responsible Wealth
    Service Employees International Union
    Tax Justice Network USA
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group
    Working America

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