A.J. DiCintio
Jobs, Main Street, and the GOP
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By A.J. DiCintio
November 12, 2011

Whatever disagreements people may have with Pat Buchanan, this observation about the man cannot be denied: He's the most prominent national political figure willing to speak courageously and honestly about the loss of good jobs and the decline of America's middle class.

However, before adding my two cents to that ominous reality, I should explain I've omitted the Democratic Party from this discussion not because it doesn't have a jobs policy but precisely because it does.

Problem is, like their leftist counterparts across the globe, Democrats, headed these days by uber-liberal Barack Obama, are a one-trick pony (make that "donkey") on the issue, knowing only how to create government jobs to solve every social and economic ill, perceived or real.

Now, even grade school children can figure out that gorging government dooms a nation to suffer the ingloriousness that is Greece or the pretended grandeur that is the nearly insolvent country whose capital is Rome.

That's why those same kids can appreciate the good sense exhibited by Peter Treadway (thedismaloptimist.com), who cleverly put an American flavor to the Chinese proverb, "When the weasel says 'Happy New Year' to the chicken, this is not good news."

"The recent media report that the government-based Washington DC area now has the highest income of any [other] area in the United States is not good news."

The Democratic Party issue out of the way, I'll move on to advice for Republican politicians, beginning with the imperative that they stop talking about "jobs" in favor of "good jobs."

The reason for this counsel is simple:

Politicians can boast all they want about a jobs report without mentioning that the great number of its jobs pay minimum wage or little more, but their superficial blather won't fool a public painfully aware that a continuous net loss of good jobs has resulted in an American middle class that has been in decline for decades.

(This decline, by the way, explains why the temperature of the middle class is moving steadily toward fever pitch and why voters are increasingly registering under the banner of "Independent.")

As Republican leaders square with the public about the decline in average family income, which for years was offset by boosting family debt, sending mom into the workplace, or increasing the number of hours worked, they will naturally be forced to discuss the impact on the middle class of decades of "free" trade, outsourcing of production, the importation of goods from nations (think Japan and China) that don't buy much from us, the creation of "too big to fail" banks, whose casino operations do precious little to encourage economic growth but a whole lot to endanger the nation's economic life, and the importation of cheap labor through a policy of de facto open borders and outright illegal immigration.

Such honesty will also require Republican leaders to discuss why, according to an article in Bloomberg/Businessweek, "the percentage of men holding a job, any job, full or part-time," has fallen to "the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948."

The article continues by pointing out that today only 81.2% of "prime working age men between 25 and 54" have a job, in contrast to 1969, when the corresponding figure was 95%.

Exacerbating the pain caused by those disturbing statistics, the article goes on to report that adjusted for inflation, "median wages for men between 30 and 50 dropped 27 percent, to $33,000 a year, from 1969 to 2009."

Then, it concludes as follows:

"The danger is that the [job] fixes [proposed by President Obama] will work just well enough to let us pretend, for a while longer, that the real problem is no longer there."

That warning, I think, is well-meaning but unwarranted because there is every sign a solid majority of the public has concluded that Barack Obama's devotion to liberal dogma has not just prevented him from understanding the fundamental problems confronting the nation's economy, including those regarding private sector job creation, but rendered him incapable of proposing meaningful solutions to them.

So Republican leaders have a choice.

They can continue to advocate dogmas preached by their neo-con and Chamber of Commerce brethren and thus, like Democrats, promise the American people that failed policies of the past will eventually work if only they are given the nebulous "real chance" believed in by every close-minded true believer.

Or they can borrow at least some of Pat Buchanan's courage and honesty to help them devise policies under the mantra that "the middle class comes first."

In choosing the latter, they will likely insure the survival of The Party of Lincoln.

Infinitely more important, however, they will insure the survival of the Spirit of '76; for the traditional America of the American Dream is unthinkable without a healthy middle class, ever at work, in Sandburg's words. . .

"Bareheaded/Shoveling/Wrecking/Planning/Building, breaking, rebuilding. . . Bragging and laughing that under [their] wrist is the pulse and under [their] ribs the heart of the people."

© A.J. DiCintio

 

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.

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