Last week President Obama told us “we can wait no longer.” He then issued a series of executive orders that will lighten the burden on millions drowning under the weight of home mortgages and student loans, will help veterans with medical skills to be integrated into the workforce, and will speed-up public-private research partnerships.
No doubt that the announcements were made in the context of the campaign. That doesn’t make them any less meaningful. This was a skillful way to signal to the House of Representatives that it is stalling the president’s jobs bill, which is designed to boost employment through a combination of tax cuts and investment in people and infrastructure.
Given that Obama’s proposal is being blocked, the President declared we can no longer wait and decided to go around Congress. It was about time that he took this path. Beyond the words, most of these initiatives are a necessary life line for millions of individuals and this shouldn’t be minimized.
At the same time, 15 proposed bills approved by the House Republicans and sent to the Senate became the basis of their jobs proposal to counter the White House’s strategy.
The majority of the “forgotten 15”, as the GOP calls them, reduce regulations including those on air and water quality, weaken Environmental Protection Agency standards on greenhouse gases, cement manufacturing and industrial incinerators, reopen offshore oil drilling, create a pipeline from Canada, oppose preserving the Internet as an open network, and delay indefinitely the Bureau of Consumer Protection which was established as part of the financial reform package.
No doubt many of these government regulations need some updating, but the Republicans proposal has it all wrong. There is absolutely no direct and apparent connection between deregulation of the private sector and jobs creation. Furthermore, it is difficult to accept that air and water pollution, favors for the oil industry or blocking consumer protection in the financial sector will in any way reduce unemployment.
In Washington there is only one real proposal to create jobs that directly helps the individual. Unfortunately, it is being blocked and these Republican proposals are offered as an alternative. The “forgotten 15” indeed deserve to be forgotten.