On June 23rd, Van Jones, MoveOn.Org, and the Roots will be kicking off a movement to “Rebuild the [American] Dream” in New York City. Its purpose is to promote the creation of jobs, affordable education, affordability of home ownership, retirement with dignity, and a secure future for our children and communities.
Cenk Uygur: Unemployment is about 9%. America need jobs. We all know it, and Republicans know it, too. So they made it their rallying cry during the 2010 campaign.
Mike Pence: “We are determined to fight for the future of the American people, to create jobs….”
John Boehner: “Where are the jobs?”
John Boehner: “Where are the jobs?”
John Boehner: “Americans are still asking the question, where are the jobs?”
Cenk Uygur: But then they got elected and they changed their tune. They didn’t propose a single jobs bill. Instead they started talking about something entirely different.
Cynthia Lummis: “We will continue to fight for the deepest spending cuts that we can get….”
Mike Pence: “We voted to cut spending….”
Eric Cantor: “We are about accomplishing major spending cuts….”
Cenk Uygur: So just spending cuts. It’s all they care about anymore. Yesterday John Kyl called for $2.5 trillion in cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. But while spending cuts may be dominating the national conversation about our economy, they simply don’t create jobs. In fact, they usually cost us jobs. But don’t worry, President Obama says job creation is his top concern:
President Obama: “There are too many people out there who are still out of work…That’s unacceptable to me. It’s unacceptable to all of you. So we’ve got to do everything we can, everything in our power, to strengthen and rebuild the middle class.”
Cenk Uygur: But just last night, the White House rejected the Senate Democrats new jobs bill, complaining that it was too expensive. It was $200 million more than the White House wanted…not billion: million. That’s nothing compared to the cuts that they are making, but even that was too much for the White House. I honestly don’t know what they are thinking there.
But some progressives in the country do get it. The folks at MoveOn.Org are trying to bring the conversation back to jobs. They just announced their “Rebuild the Dream” rally to push the message that we don’t need cuts as much as we need jobs for the middle class.
Now here’s a crazy political idea in the middle of a horrible economy. Ignore what the Republicans want you to do and propose a massive jobs bill instead. I know, people in Washington will lose their minds. Here’s my question. So what? Remember you want to appeal to the American people. Who cares what Washington thinks.
Alright, joining me now is Jared Bernstein, he’s a former Chief Economist for Vice President Biden. He’s now senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Now Jared, I read your pieces, I know that you think jobs is the right way to go, and we’ll talk about that in a second, but you were inside the White House. I got to ask you. Why isn’t this as clear to them seemingly as it is to us from the outside?
Jared Bernstein: I think it is clear to them. I think that they are stuck in a box where one side is saying cut spending this much and the other side is saying, oh, that’s too much, let’s cut spending less than that. I think that the kind of pivot to deficit reduction has really taken hold in this town and there are a lot of people who think that the message of the 2010 loss for the Democrats in the midterm was a message to cut spending. But, in fact, as you heard the President say, there is a very strong belief within the White House still that we’ve got to do everything we can still on the jobs front while we’re walking and chewing gum at the same time, while we’re planning a path to deficit reduction.
Cenk Uygur: But the thing is, Jared, should we concentrate on jobs, the fact that they kind of understand that…of course, of course, you’ve got 9% unemployment. My God, of course you should concentrate on that. But it seems like from your description and from their descriptions so often, it’s as if they’re powerless. Oh, they’re caught in this Washing bubble. What are we going to do? We can’t get out. Right? He’s the President of the United States of America. They control the White House. So can’t they do something?
Jared Bernstein: Cenk, you have a great point, and these things are dynamic. And what may have been a reasonable position a month ago strikes me as morphing into a much less reasonable position now. So I’m with you and I’m with MoveOn.Org on this point. But I’d like to take it a little further.
You know there are 20 million people out there who are un- or under-employed and I guarantee you they are not all liberal Democrats. Why is it just a MoveOn.Org rally to create jobs? Why not instead of a Tea Party, a jobs party, a movement across political interests that really has jobs at the heart of what they are about right now. I guarantee you a deficit spending cut kind of agenda in the short run, aggressive cuts to spending, getting rid of Medicare, the whole Republican agenda right now, can’t be resonating with the American people, who really believe that jobs are the biggest problem out there. So I’d like to see this go way beyond MoveOn.Org.
Cenk Uygur: Of course. The Republicans won the 2010 election by pretending that they were going to create jobs. So obviously conservative voters, Independent voters, we all care about jobs. Now you’ve got a proposal of your own. Let me just summarize for the folks at home real quick.
· You’ve got fiscal relief for the states.
· You’ve got infrastructure investments.
· Protecting entitlements.
· And balancing between revenues and spending cuts in budget negotiations.
Right? Now that seems like a very reasonable proposal. Again, why doesn’t it get a hearing at the White House? You were just at the White House.
Jared Bernstein: It’s very possible that that kind of an agenda starts to get more of a hearing now. Now you just had this one month of a very tough jobs report. But I look at it, average it into the past few months and maybe it isn’t as bad as it looked in May but we’re still growing much too slowly. So I think that we’ve really got to press for this agenda, for the White House and the Congress, because it’s got to happen together, to really pivot towards this focus and target on the budget deficit to the jobs deficit now. That doesn’t mean that you abandon your path to budget sustainability. It means that you look at the kind of issues that you just listed off. I think those are all on the list of coulds, things that we actually could do if we put our political shoulder to the wheel on it.
Cenk Uygur: Alright, Jared Bernstein, thank you for your time tonight. And we hope that your former employers are listening.
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