Jobs Rhetoric from Presidential Hopefuls Continues to Underwhelm
Mitt Romney inched closer to securing the Republican nomination this week, raising his total delegate count to 471. In recent months, Romney’s jobs plan has fallen under heavy scrutiny. And many have rightly asked if someone who earned $21.7 million in 2010 can actually relate to the plight of the unemployed.
The disparity between the average income for someone receiving unemployment benefits and Romney’s income is so staggering that it seems impossible for him to understand the real nature of the unemployment crisis. By one calculation, in 2010, Romney pulled in $15,236 every six hours — that’s roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of benefits for the average American on unemployment.
Infamously, Romney has said he’s not concerned about the poor because they have a social safety net to fall back on. Sure, these programs help keep people’s heads above water. But they’re no substitute for full-time employment.
Worse still, Romney’s actual record on job-creation is underwhelming. As governor of Massachusetts, he was only able to bring the state within roughly 100,000 jobs of its pre-2001 recession employment level. That’s far from a full recovery.
In addition to these glaring problems, Romney has little love for labor unions. His allegiances are to Big Business — not average workers. Within his first term, he’d doubtlessly push for precisely the kind of tax and regulatory reforms that have shredded the American middle class over the last few decades.
So Romney isn’t good news.
And neither is Santorum. Although he regularly promises to bring American manufacturing jobs back home, the truth is that he’s just as bad as Romney — more interested in protecting Big Business than helping America’s workers. In fact, as a Senator, Santorum oversaw his party’s outreach to the business community and its lobbyists. Now, as a candidate, his PAC has received enormous sums from corporate donors.
Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, regularly attacks the nation’s working class.
All this explains why supporting Obama is a no-brainer.
But we must not rest. Despite popular perception, for example, this White House has actually shrunk the size of the public sector. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently pointed out, government employment has fallen 2.7 percent under Obama. Compare that to Reagan’s firm term, during which government employment increased by 3.1 percent.
Today, there are 27.5 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. We’re the largest voting bloc the nation has ever seen. It’s time to be the loudest.
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