One last word about the jobs bill

posted at 11:36 am on February 25, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As luck would have it, my wife and I happened to be in the Senate gallery on Monday evening when the cloture vote was called on Harry Reid’s jobs bill.  The cloture vote passed, 62-30, with a few Republicans crossing over to end debate: Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and George Voinovich.  One Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against cloture, probably a managed vote intended to rescue him from his own constituents after his Cornhusker Kickback bought his pro-life principles.  I expected that this would create a great deal of outrage, but most of that has probably been misplaced, although certainly understandable.

The cost of this bill is almost an embarrassment for the Democrats.  Its $15 billion funding is less than 2% of the size of Porkulus, and the alternative was a bloated $85 billion cheeseburger with Republican fingerprints all over it.  Neither bill would have done what its authors suggested, which was to create jobs, but the Reid bill at least had the virtue of a big discount.  The Democrats wanted to pass something that made them look like they had completed the “hard pivot” to jobs, but they spend more than this on earmarks in the transportation bill every year.  It’s a non-effort, and a transparent one at that.

It’s hard to call a $15 billion bill trivial at any time, but right now, that amounts to about one-hundredth of the projected budget deficit in 2010 — a sorry state of affairs, indeed.  However, this is a sorry state fully owned by Democrats, and Republicans should consider this an opportunity to let Democrats commit political suicide on their own rather than rescue them from it.  Harry Reid demanded a partisan bill over the bipartisan mess that would have won wide approval otherwise, and so its failure to generate job creation will fall completely on Democratic shoulders.  The loyal opposition will have a splendid argument to make in the fall as midterms approach that the best Democrats could do was to offer a weak and ineffective followup to Porkulus while they schemed for a government takeover of the health-care system for the better part of two years.

That argument would have more force if 13 Republicans hadn’t voted for the Reid bill, of course, and Barack Obama has a point when he questioned why several Republicans voted to filibuster a bill they ended up voting to approve in the end.  That deserves some criticism on both points.  But in the end, Republicans can only cast votes on bills that Harry Reid allows to come to the floor.  Democrats own this jobs bill and the paltry economic effects it will have, especially in job-creation impact.  That will make it a legitimate policy issue in the midterms, as Republicans wonder aloud whether Democrats know anything at all about a private-sector economy — or whether they’re simply more interested in having government seize as much of it as possible.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Republicans wonder aloud whether Democrats know anything at all about a private-sector economy — or whether they’re simply more interested in having government seize as much of it as possible.

That alone would be worth $15B.

Vashta.Nerada on February 25, 2010 at 11:39 AM

I’m not sure where this is going. This bill is the epitome of passing something just to pass something. Its useless.

Punditpawn on February 25, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Republicans wonder aloud whether Democrats know anything at all about a private-sector economy

If they’re wondering, they haven’t been paying attention.

The Democrats are a monkey f***ing a football when it comes to the private sector economy, the only thing they know how to do is to extort campaign contributions from businesses.

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 11:41 AM

What the he1l happened to the stimulus money, only half of which has been spent, I thought that was supposed to be the main funding for job creation? So the ‘rats plop another $15 billion turd on the American taxpayer for nothing while the remaining stimulus money is hoarded to use at election time.

Go**am I hate these people and what they are doing to me and my family.

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Wow, they rejected the $85 billion and passed the $15 billion bill?

They saved or created 70 billion dollars.

Daggett on February 25, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Alternate title: At Least they only pissed away $15B this time.

DrAllecon on February 25, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Oh! Did we tell ya it’s not really bout jobs?

Cybergeezer on February 25, 2010 at 11:44 AM

So it was a filibuster and not a vote to continue debate and amendment?

It’s somehow hypocritical to want to continue debate and amendment and then once no longer having the opportunity, decide based on that reality?

Uh huh…

TheBigOldDog on February 25, 2010 at 11:44 AM

It’s hard to call a $15 billion bill trivial at any time, but right now, that amounts to about one-hundredth of the projected budget deficit in 2010 — a sorry state of affairs, indeed. However, this is a sorry state fully owned by Democrats, and Republicans should consider this an opportunity to let Democrats commit political suicide on their own rather than rescue them from it.

I agree—which is why I am very mad at ALL the Republicans who voted for it and diluted the “us-vs-them” scenario.

Chris_Balsz on February 25, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I’m sorry, Ed, but those 13 Republicans who voted for this waste of taxpayer money have nothing to crow about or point fingers at. They either voted for this thing because they are as completely clueless as the Democrats or they voted for it so they could claim “bipartisanship”, eventhough they knew it would be a waste of money. Either way, it’s going to come back to haunt the fools who voted for it and it should.

Redneck Woman on February 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM

With the House version costing either $85 or $150 billion, and cloture now out of the picture, they can use reconciliation. Wanna bet that the final version costs nearer to $100 billion? With just 51 votes needed to get it through the Senate the next time.

A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there, and soon you are talking about some real money.

How long until we start hearing the number ‘quadrillion’?

GnuBreed on February 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM

As luck would have it, my wife and I happened to be in the Senate gallery on Monday evening when the cloture vote was called on Harry Reid’s jobs bill.

You should have shouted “You lie!” to Harry.

KS Rex on February 25, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Gee….I wonder which ONE job is going to be created, and only cost us 15 billion?

capejasmine on February 25, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Can I repeat a story I posted last week when I was heading home from CPAC?

I flew down to Reagan, but took the Amtrak back up to Manhattan. I decided to sit near these two older broads, because one was of a particular hotness, so I figured that perhaps I’d be able to snag a number.

Anyway, turned out her friend was a high level DNC op. Another friend of theirs got on at another stop, and after a while, they began talking politics.

DNC op said:
“Yea, and the Republicans? What’s their solution to EVERRRYTHING? Fckin cut taxes. Great.”

Her friend goes (and I sh!t you not):
“Yea — someone doesn’t have a job but you cut taxes. Great. So you cut taxes, and they still don’t have a job.”

…this is the mentality controlling the people in the Democratic party.

blatantblue on February 25, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Barack Obama has a point when he questioned why several Republicans voted to filibuster a bill they ended up voting to approve in the end. That deserves some criticism on both points.

What’s the problem? A person can think that a bill needs more debate to make it even better but still think that the current bill is good enough to be better than nothing.

OBQuiet on February 25, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Just another fine example of politicians who have no clue what is needed to get this Country rolling again. They are splashing around in the water just before they sink. I wish they would just do nothing. Collect their pay, feel important and step aside.

Wade on February 25, 2010 at 11:52 AM

God I hate Mccain…..Palin is screwing up big time!

Beware of McCain’s Freedom-Destroying Dietary Supplement Regulatory Bill

http://www.jbs.org/health-care-freedom-blog/5957-proposed-dietary-supplement-regulatory-bill

jsunrise on February 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Barack Obama has a point when he questioned why several Republicans voted to filibuster a bill they ended up voting to approve in the end.

My understanding is that a cloture vote is whether or not to end debate and vote on a bill. A “nay” is a vote to continue debating the issue and not a vote to filibuster a vote on the bill. So, in fact, Obama is wrong when he said that anybody voted to filibuster. I guess that is what you get when you hire an ex-Senator whose only experience in voting on bills was “present.”

highhopes on February 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Well, to slightly defend the Republicans who voted for this…they can always vote against cloture on the bill that comes from Committee because we all know the Committee bill will be much larger than $15billion. They could say the democrats are not serious about job creation, just more pork.

SouthernGent on February 25, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I don’t have an objection strategically to Republicans passing this bill, though I do object on principal.

Holding up stupid bills in the Senate, is pointless when the nuts in the House can be counted on to take it to crazy town.

The $15 billion plan is a distraction, and will be inflated to $150 at least in the House. No need to argue right now. Finally some strategery.

The House can always be counted on to make Obama look bad.

Agrippa2k on February 25, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Well, to slightly defend the Republicans who voted for this

Don’t be so gay.

*peers cautiously from bunker*

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM

It’s hard to call a $15 billion bill trivial at any time, but right now, that amounts to about one-hundredth of the projected budget deficit in 2010

That’s only the Senate version. The House version is ten times the size. What do you think will happen in conference or reconciliation?

neurosculptor on February 25, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Impeach Scott Brown!!!

Akzed on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Don’t be so gay.

*peers cautiously from bunker*

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM

:-P

SouthernGent on February 25, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Don’t be so gay.
*peers cautiously from bunker*
Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Gay? Where?!

Akzed on February 25, 2010 at 12:14 PM

blatantblue on February 25, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Lucky for us Democrat incompetence outpaces GOP incompetence.

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Don’t be so gay.

*peers cautiously from bunker*

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Hotair goes gay. Ed Morissey’s wife and Allahpundits cat hardest hit.

=)

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Gay? Where?!
Akzed on February 25, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Racist Homophobe.

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I think some of you miss the point on this bill…

This bill is once again about using Government money, to pick winners and losers. It uses Tax dollars to socialy engineer society.

If the Repubs were not Progresives, then they would understand this… but once again, they vote for a bigger Government solution, to a problem which, if they just got out of the way… would solve itself.

Romeo13 on February 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Its $15 billion funding is less than 2% of the size of Porkulus, and the alternative was a bloated $85 billion cheeseburger with Republican fingerprints all over it. Neither bill would have done what its authors suggested, which was to create jobs

It would have created jobs, according to many sources on Wall Street. Let’s see, the last bill was called ‘porkulus’ for spending too much (mainly transfer payments, not so much pork) and this bill is inadequate and a waste of time?

Is the only goal at this point to whine and block any and all legislation or is there actually a plan to stimulate the economy in the wings? While politicians play games, the economy is heading toward a second recessionary dip. Most people on the right don’t seem to understand whether spending cuts or stimulus is the better strategy- the tea party crowd often supports a lethal mix of tax cuts and spending cuts. Most on this blog don’t seem to understand what the real capitalists- Wall Street and mid to big companies- would like to see happen out of Washington. No action isn’t generally a favored option.

You can cheer every failure, but we’re all on the same ship and this ship is going in the wrong direction.

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

From what I understand the cost of this bill is purely in terms of what the government would otherwise take out of the market. That is, of the $15B cited as a cost $13B is money that wil be kept by business owners to hire people. Since when did not collecting taxes become a cost? As far as I can tell, this is a tax cut. What’s wrong with that?

commander0 on February 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

How about this plan: cut taxes drastically and stop regulating businesses into the ground?

It has the virtue of creating jobs, increasing tax revenue and (if you actually have a balanced budget) reducing the deficit.

A plan does NOT have to include government spending and intervention.

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM

the bill ius worthless, the GOP and brown voted for it so they can not be the party of No. It’s all politics when our country is in need of leadership. Washington and both parties could care less about thye people they simple care about how things look. and about their power, always there power

unseen on February 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Fatal mix of tax and spending cuts? Do you know what our deficit is? You do realize that higher taxes dampens economic growth? You do realize that government doesn’t actually crate private sector jobs (it only increases federal or state bureaucracies)?

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM

The only reason for the bill is so Hussein can pad his accomplishments…see we passed a JOBS bill.

Alden Pyle on February 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Fatal mix of tax and spending cuts? Do you know what our deficit is? You do realize that higher taxes dampens economic growth?

I was one of the few ppl on this forum calling out the severe risks posed by federal debt as it expanded by $4 tril during the Bush years, at a time when many said “deficits don’t matter”.

The standard cut spending and taxes mantra isn’t very effective in this economic climate. When consumers and businesses are fighting broken balance sheets and not inclined to spend, tax cuts have little impact. Do you know happened in Japan when that government cut spending in the middle of it’s great recession? The answer is that the deficit increased as spending cuts caused the economy to slow, eroding the tax base. Regardless of the high level of national debt, the only way to cut the deficit is by helping businesses create jobs. Businesses create jobs when there’s consumer demand to justify hiring. When the private sector fails to create demand, the only known remedy is to have the public sector step in. Many economists on both the left and right agree with this principle.

Long-term, yes it’s essential that the government aggressively cut the size of the federal budget- back to where it was in 2000. But to do so in the middle of a deep recession is economic suicide.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching the economy enter another retraction is the wrong answer. Real unemployment is almost 15%- a higher rate than the first years of the Great Depression. Things can get a lot worse.

http://www.mint.com/blog/finance-core/a-visual-guide-to-the-financial-crisis-unemployment-rates/

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

If they simply use the $15 billion to hand out $50,000 checks to the 300,000 most desperate people who are in honest mortgage default (with their primary residence only) because they are suffering from being out of work or are underemployed, this folly would at least help keep the economical downward spiral in abeyance until the natural economic forces kicked back in and revived the fiscal doldrums.

Call it an Entrepreneur Investment Bill, and say that those receiving it will be able to preserve their neighborhood’s home values (no abandoned houses rotting the market), and give these recipients a chance to reinvest and start their own businesses, get needed re-education for new jobs, etc., etc.

Money in the pockets of hurting consumers gets spent.

Either at box stores to fix up their houses or in schools for refurbishing their resume-bound skills.

Money in the hands of politicians gets cunning distributed for vote buying games.

profitsbeard on February 25, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Either at box stores to fix up their houses or in schools for refurbishing their resume-bound skills.

I agree there are a lot of very hard working people who face unemployment or under-employment. There simply aren’t enough jobs. Barrons recently pointed to the jobless rate as the driving force behind the recession.

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 1:17 PM

I was one of the few ppl on this forum calling out the severe risks posed by federal debt as it expanded by $4 tril during the Bush years, at a time when many said “deficits don’t matter”.

The standard cut spending and taxes mantra isn’t very effective in this economic climate. When consumers and businesses are fighting broken balance sheets and not inclined to spend, tax cuts have little impact. Do you know happened in Japan when that government cut spending in the middle of it’s great recession? The answer is that the deficit increased as spending cuts caused the economy to slow, eroding the tax base. Regardless of the high level of national debt, the only way to cut the deficit is by helping businesses create jobs. Businesses create jobs when there’s consumer demand to justify hiring. When the private sector fails to create demand, the only known remedy is to have the public sector step in. Many economists on both the left and right agree with this principle.

Long-term, yes it’s essential that the government aggressively cut the size of the federal budget- back to where it was in 2000. But to do so in the middle of a deep recession is economic suicide.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching the economy enter another retraction is the wrong answer. Real unemployment is almost 15%- a higher rate than the first years of the Great Depression. Things can get a lot worse.

http://www.mint.com/blog/finance-core/a-visual-guide-to-the-financial-crisis-unemployment-rates/

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

I wasn’t a fan of the Bush deficits either.

How does government spending increase demand?

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Seems Ed is doing “Yeomans Work” in trivializing the fact that 13 Republicans voted to spend $15 BILLION DOLLARS of our grandchildren’s money. Money – that they don’t have.

Ed seems to be reduced to pleading the case that this could have been a lot worse. Well, yes – I suppose it could have. But in general, in accordance with CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES – it could have been a lot better! So the 13 Republicans who voted FOR this bill and, some of whom *cough* ScottBrown *cough* campaigned on CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES actually voted AGAINST those principles yesterday.

My calculator says that 31 percent of Senate Republican voted to spend more of our kids money that THEY DON’T HAVE.

THIRTY ONE PERCENT.

THAT’S BI-PARTISAN BABY!!

It damn SURE is!

And further – let me tell you this – in 2012 the Republican nominee is going to come from this THIRTY ONE percent of the party that believes in expanding government at a “slower” yet still “bankrupting” rate.

And when we in the tea parties tell the GOP to go stuff themselves – WE’LL BE THE BAD GUYS?

If the GOP really “gets it” – they’d better nominate someone that isn’t in this 31 percent of the party that believes in staying on the same old path – just going down it a little slower.

The GOP better nominate someone who wants to take a different path – one that freezes this spending and puts the budget under control.

Thirteen Republicans EARNED the title RINO yesterday – and Scott Brown was one of ‘em.

HondaV65 on February 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Hmmmm… so with this bill, an employer does not have to pay their portion of Social security tax on a new employee for ONE year.

Uh… isn’t the Social Security trust fund already now underwater?

Romeo13 on February 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM

You know, my “final” thought on this is that the GOP just doesn’t get it still. Yeah – I know that some do get it, but there’s still way too many that don’t. We keep getting told … “Hey! There’s a difference between Barack Obama and Mike Pence!”

Uhm … yeah – that’s true. But does Mike Pence represent the thinking of ALL Republicans?

No … he really doesn’t. He doesn’t even represent the Republican “establishment” if you ask me.

So … that’s really a false choice – because mark my words – the GOP isn’t going to give us a choice between Mike Pence and Barack Obama in 2012. We’re going to get a choice between Obama and another McCain. Or a “Grahamnesty” … or … a “Brown”. Somone who will grow the government a little bit slower – yet grow it nonetheless.

HondaV65 on February 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM

It would have created jobs, according to many sources on Wall Street.

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:26 PM

But why should we listen to the janitors?

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 2:24 PM

There is no soc sec trust fund. Never has been.

commander0 on February 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I wish they would all just stop!

kringeesmom on February 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

As luck would have it, my wife and I happened to be in the Senate gallery on Monday evening when the cloture vote was called on Harry Reid’s jobs bill.

Ed, you & the First Mate spent Monday night of your vacation in the Senate gallery? Geez, you real are a fun date!

Fynxbell on February 25, 2010 at 2:40 PM

I was one of the few ppl on this forum calling out the severe risks posed by federal debt as it expanded by $4 tril during the Bush years, at a time when many said “deficits don’t matter”.

The standard cut spending and taxes mantra isn’t very effective in this economic climate. When consumers and businesses are fighting broken balance sheets and not inclined to spend, tax cuts have little impact. Do you know happened in Japan when that government cut spending in the middle of it’s great recession? The answer is that the deficit increased as spending cuts caused the economy to slow, eroding the tax base. Regardless of the high level of national debt, the only way to cut the deficit is by helping businesses create jobs. Businesses create jobs when there’s consumer demand to justify hiring. When the private sector fails to create demand, the only known remedy is to have the public sector step in. Many economists on both the left and right agree with this principle.

Long-term, yes it’s essential that the government aggressively cut the size of the federal budget- back to where it was in 2000. But to do so in the middle of a deep recession is economic suicide.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching the economy enter another retraction is the wrong answer. Real unemployment is almost 15%- a higher rate than the first years of the Great Depression. Things can get a lot worse.

http://www.mint.com/blog/finance-core/a-visual-guide-to-the-financial-crisis-unemployment-rates/

bayam on February 25, 2010 at 12:52 PM

You are operating under the completely false premise that recessions and depressions can and should be avoided. Then you must also argue against economic booms and expansions. Both are a part of the cycle.

You have to let the country go into recession. Propping it up with government spending, which TAKES MONEY OUT OF THE ECONOMY FIRST, spends part of it on bureacracy and then spends a portion in the economy just lengthens the healing process.

It is like the seasons and trying to make sure winter never happens. Many things in nature would die and fail to ever grow again if it wasn’t for the cold of winter. Heck, I know from personal experience that yellow jacket populations would become dangerous to human existence if not for cold.

Japan finally realized that they needed to let the economy pick the winners (those that played smart) and the losers (those that overleveraged during the good times) and recover on it’s own.

And just to note: Bush’s 2nd to last fiscal year, $200 Billion in deficit. Bush’s last fiscal year, $400 billion. Obama’s FIRST TWO YEARS: over 3 TRILLION dollars in deficit.

When the government spends a dollar in the economy, on average it costs $.62 to write RFP’s, request bids, process the bids, review the bids and get the money out the door. So they have to take a $1.62 out of the economy to put a dollar back into the economy where politicians decide.

Take all this and add in that they aren’t just taking current dollars out of the economy but borrowing hand over fist against the dollar our great-great-grandchildren might make and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Leave the money in the private sector and let entrepenurs and businesses use it. Cut spending and drop taxes and let the economy go through its winter so we can have spring again. The longer we “prop” it up with spending, the longer winter will last. I’d rather have a few months of below freezing than five years of 33 degrees . . .

PastorJon on February 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Oh, there’s a government in history that tried to use government dollars to avoid ever going into depression: The USSR. Of course, you could either argue they had a permanent depression or that they never once had a boom. Either way you’d be right, and Russia has a huge surplus of oil, the most demanded natural resource on the planet. I spent six weeks in intensive language study there in 1989. I vote for permananet depression.

Government gets money from two different places:
1) From taxes taken from the private sector, a portion to the bureaucracy to spend it and a portion spent back to the private sector. Either way, a lot of it is eaten up.

2) By printing it. Weimar Republic and Nigeria both tried this, and caused hyper-inflation that meant a wheelbarrow of money for a loaf of bread. Right now our Fed is buying treasury bonds (our debt) from investors that buy the bonds and thus monetizing our debt.

I think our politicians are just trying to kick the can down the road until Europe or Asia collapse hard enough to blame them, then let us collapse and do that – blame Europe or Asia and not our own mistakes.

PastorJon on February 25, 2010 at 5:03 PM