Friday, October 30, 2020
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Cantor Bashes Obama’s Jobs Bills Publicly, Lauds Them Privately

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From Newsweek (via Andrew Sullivan):
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Republican leadership's tether to the Tea Party, flutters the hearts of the government-bashing, budget-slicing faithful with his relentless attacks on runaway federal spending. To Cantor, an $8 billion high-speed rail connecting Las Vegas to Disneyland is wasteful "pork-barrel spending." The Virginia Republican set up the "You Cut" Web site to demonstrate how easy it is to slash government programs. And he made the Department of Housing and Urban Development the poster child for waste when he disclosed that the agency was paying for housing for Ph.D.s.

But away from the cameras, Cantor sometimes pulls right up to the spending trough, including the very stimulus law he panned in public. Letters obtained by Newsweek show him pressing the Transportation Department to spend nearly $3 billion in stimulus money on a high-speed-rail project-not the one he derided in Nevada, but another in his home state. "Virginia ... will demonstrate that this historic investment in rail will create jobs, reduce congestion, spur economic growth and improve our environment," says a letter he signed with other Virginia members in October 2009, cribbing President Obama's own argument for the stimulus.

Cantor signed several such letters, including an earlier one seeking rail funds a month after he went on national television attacking the Vegas project.

Boy, when he thinks no one's listening, Cantor sounds ... well, downright progressive on government investment in high-speed rail, doesn't he?

But if that's how he feels about jobs bills like President Obama's American Jobs Act in private, why does he bash them in public? Why is he throwing up political roadblocks instead of trying to create more Virginia jobs? If you live in the 7th district, call Cantor's DC office at (202) 225-2815 or his Culpeper office at (540) 825-8960 and let us know what they say in comments.

Obama: Hike Taxes on a Few Rich People to Put Lots...

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P081111CK-0137Our infrastructure is crumbling and millions of Americans are out of work. The wealthy earn a growing share of income but pay lower rates thanks to the Bush tax cuts. Makes sense to ask the wealthy to pay a bit more & use the money to put people to work, right? That's President Obama's plan:
President Obama would fund his $447 billion plan to create jobs largely by raising taxes on wealthier families, White House aides said Monday after the president again called on Congress to support the package.

During a Rose Garden appearance, Obama pledged to send Congress the American Jobs Act on Monday evening when the legislative body resumes its session. Aides revealed for the first time that the plan will include limits on itemized deductions for individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families that earn more than $250,000.

Eliminating those deductions will bring in an additional $400 billion in revenue, said Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The administration also is recommending closing oil and gas loopholes and changing the depreciation rules for corporate airplanes. All of the new rules, which would take effect in 2013, would bring in an estimated total of $467 billion, more than enough to pay for the president's jobs bill, Lew said during the White House's daily press briefing Monday.

House Speaker John Boehner's office is already indicating Republicans will block the plan, meaning the entire GOP strategy between now & November 2012 will be to block anything Democrats try to do to improve the economy and hope voters don't realize what's going on.  

The New Silent Majority is Obama’s

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Today, the University of Richmond witnessed a camaraderie and fellowship you rarely see at non-sporting events. President Obama drew almost 9000 to his first road pitch of the new American Jobs Act. Any claim this wasn't spontaneous is easily dismissed. The announcement was made and they came in droves.
"You expect in a time of crisis, everybody stops the political circus and acts to do something to help people; to help the economy." - President Obama
What you heard while waiting outside, then seated waiting for the President, and afterwards were exactly those things the President spoke to today. It is an eerie realization that what Americans are worried about are the same pocketbook issues that helped define the silent majority that Republicans once claimed as their own. No more. Who you heard this President address are those who "may be looking for a job, or ... know somebody who is looking for a job...make sacrifices to make ends meet; ...work hard to meet ... responsibilities... expect the people (they) send to Washington to do the same thing." No Republican or Teavangelist's mein connects to more than a sliver of this middle America.  

Obama Speech Puts Ball in GOP’s Court

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The November 2012 elections will be defined by how Congressional Republicans react to the gauntlet thrown down by President Obama on Capitol Hill last night. Here are their choices and the political implications:

  1. Pass the American Jobs Act. Puts all the risk/reward for the economy through November 2012 on Obama. If the unemployment rate goes down, Obama gets the credit; if not, we could be looking at President Romney.
  2. Reject the American Jobs Act. Puts all the risk/reward for the economy through November 2012 on Republicans. If the economy improves despite continued inaction, Republicans can bask in the glow; if not, President Obama can blame the do-nothing Congress for the continuing slump.
  3. Pass some elements of the American Jobs Act, reject others. The political ramifications of this option aresn't that far off from #2 - President Obama could still say "Well, I told them what I'd do, and they didn't do it, so if you want to know why the economy still stinks, ask Eric Cantor."

Given how GOP-pushed austerity is devastating employment, this seems like exactly the right strategy for President Obama. If he hadn't introduced a sizeable bill and demanded it be passed right away & as written, Obama faced the possibility of voters blaming him for the terrible results of defacto GOP economic policies. Now Congressional Republicans get to choose their own destiny - and it's hard to imagine they'll choose wisely.