In the "Can't See The Forest For The Trees" department, new RNC chairman (and clearly a MENSA-level economic specialist) Michael Steele bemoans the Stimulus Bill as it stands now. Why? Because it cuts out aid to those who need it the most (really, how will extending COBRA benefits to those poor saps who have lost their jobs recently help--that's just pork!)? Surely, you jest.
No, Steele objects to the Stimulus Bill because it doesn't offer jobs, it offers....wait for it...work. Say it with me now: WTF??
STEELE: But you've got to look at the entire package. You've got to look at what's going to create sustainable jobs. What this administration is talking about is making work. It is creating work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's a job.
STEELE: No, it's not a job. A job is something that -- that a business owner creates. It's going to be long term. What he's creating...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So a job doesn't count if it's a government job? [..]
STEELE: ... That is a contract. It ends at a certain point, George. You know that. These road projects that we're talking about have an end point.
Okay, let me see if I follow this: we have historic unemployment levels not seen in decades and Steele thinks we shouldn't create jobs if they don't last forever...like in the private sector? Because those 600,000 layoffs last month alone and massive outsourcing in the private sector indicate such security for people...Steele continues this marvelous example of Republicanlogicspeak:
STEELE: As a small-business owner, I'm looking to grow my business, expand my business. I want to reach further. I want to be international. I want to be national. It's a whole different perspective on how you create a job versus how you create work. And I'm -- either way, the bottom line is...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess I don't really understand that distinction.
STEELE: Well, the difference -- the distinction is this. If a government -- if you've got a government contract that is a fixed period of time, it goes away. The work may go away. That's -- there's no guarantee that that -- that there's going to be more work when you're done in that job.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but we've seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector just in the last year.
STEELE: But they come -- yes, they -- and they come back, though, George. That's the point.
They come back? Really?
So, the answer for Steele is to not put money in people's pockets right now (money that generally goes right back into the economy for needs--unlike those tax cuts for the wealthy) and not employ them now, because the jobs may be gone in a few years? Not to mention the implicit idea that we are unable to walk and chew gum and that by providing "work" in the stimulus bill will keep us from helping small business owners at the same time.