Michael Steele, if millions of Americans have been kicked to the curb by their employers and are behind on your mortgage payments, I don’t think they whether the job is created by private enterprise or the government. Talk about out of touch. (Raw Story):

[N]ewly-elected Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele believes that government-funded jobs don’t count as real employment because “a job is something that a business owner creates.”

“What this administration is talking about is ‘making work.’ … It’s not a job,” Steele explained during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week. “It ends at a certain point. … These road projects that we’re talking about have an endpoint. … There’s no guarantee that there’s going to be more work when you’re done that job.”

…Describing the present once-in-a-generation economic crisis as merely “the downside” of a recent period of economic expansion, Steele told Stephanopoulos that all we really need is “tax credits and relief for small-business owners, incentives for people to get back into the credit markets, to deal with the mark-to-market rules that have stymied the banks and deal with the housing crisis.”

What is this cat smoking? if we left it all to private enterprise/small business, we’d never see our infrastructure improved, something that has been sorely needed for so long. The fed and state governments, sadly, would never willingly pour the necessary billions into repairing and revitalizing our country’s “physical plant” without a catastrophe of this magnitude. Look at the levee neglect pre-and post-Katrina. It’s just like repairing the roof of the house — no one wants to spend the money with “nothing to show for it.” A lot of people would rather wait for the torrent of leaks rather than take enough preventative, but expensive measures and hope nothing happens on their watch.

Anyway, we tried it the GOP way — tax cuts infinitum, and look what the American worker has to show for it.

Karl Frisch of Media Matters tears up the right wing revisionist history on what was accomplished by federal funds during the New Deal. 

During a recent broadcast, Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski kicked off a string of attacks against the president's recovery plan, using the New Deal as their dubious weapon du jour. Mika said of Obama's plan, "I think we're going to have the same unemployment in three or four years, just like the New Deal." That just isn't true — unemployment fell every year from 1933 through 1937.  

Her buddy Joe didn't fare much better, cherry-picking data in telling viewers that unemployment was at "20 percent" in 1938, ignoring the downward trend in unemployment that occurred under the New Deal.

Joe isn't alone — conservative columnists George Will and Mona Charen have played the same numbers game to falsely claim the New Deal failed to reduce unemployment, a contention disputed by historians and economists.

Don't take my word for it — data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate in 1933 clocking in at 24.9 percent and falling each year thereafter (to 14.3 percent in 1937) until 1938 when it rose to 19 percent. Why the increase from 1937 to 1938? As Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has noted, it was a reversal of these very same New Deal policies, which had reduced unemployment, that actually led to recession and drove the numbers back up. It's worth noting, by the way, that these numbers do not include those in federal work-relief programs (at the time, BLS counted those employed by the New Deal's emergency work programs as unemployed). So, the unemployment numbers were actually lower than reported in these years.

The strengthening of the social safety net during the 1930s stimulated the economy while also providing assistance to those waiting to feel the economic recovery for themselves. That's perhaps why Fox News' Bill O'Reilly saw fit to lambast portions of the president's plan aimed at assisting those most in need during these difficult times, claiming last week on his television show that increased funding for programs like food stamps has "nothing to do with stimulating the economy." Though his ego will never let him admit it, O'Reilly is dead wrong.


Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding