Friday, January 8, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/8/10-Bad News Bears

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. I for one, could use a break from politics for a few days, but I can't abandon you all before I give you one last blog entry for the week.

JOBS: The latest employment numbers came out today, and they were not good. The economy shed 85,000 jobs over the past month, significantly worse than November, when revised estimates show the economy actually gaining jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 10%, mostly because many people simply chose to stop looking for work. This is horrible news for the country and for the Obama administration. It shows that our recovery will be slow and stagnant. As long as unemployment remains high, voters will be angry and frustrated, and most of all, distrustful of their government.

The House already passed a jobs program in late December, and the Senate is currently drafting its own version. The bill is expected to include tax credits for businesses to create jobs and infrastructure spending. Senate Democrats say that they want to keep the bill "deficit neutral," which means that any spending would have to be relatively modest.

This is getting to be unacceptable to me. Democrats are unlikely to to enact successful jobs programs unless they abandon their ill-fated quest to decrease the deficit. Instead of kowtowing to the conventional wisdom that the government should be "tightening its belt" during a recession, the President and other Democrats need to actively explain to the American people why we need to make investments now and create jobs. They also need to explain that a major cause of the deficit is declining tax revenue, which could only be bolstered with robust job creation. It won't be enough to take half measures. It won't even be enough to enact significant policy changes. We have to change the national ethos against government spending. Right now, I'm very pessimistic that President Obama can achieve that goal.

NIGHTMARES: PPP Polling Institute, a Democratic firm, is in the middle of conducting a survey of the Massachusetts Special Senate Election to replace Ted Kennedy. PPP tweeted that the election "might be a real race" and that the race is now loseable for Democrats. Inexplicably, the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley hasn't really campaigned in the past three weeks, and has been sitting on a giant pile of money while Republican Scott Brown has been out there running advertisements. If Brown somehow wins this race is Deep Blue Massachussetts, the House would probably have to accept the Senate's version of the health care bill, because the Senate would not be able to muster 60 votes for a final merged package. I still can't fathom Ted Kennedy's replacement killing health reform. That's why I'm calling a Brown victory the "Stomach Punch Scenario." Hopefully these warning signs will wake up complacent Democrats so that we can get the job done on January 19th.

That's it for this evening, I'll see you again on Monday!

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