Wanted: jobs, not cuts. The progressive caucus proposes a jobs program. Cenk Uygur MSNBC TV June 14, 2011 video and transcript

Transcribed by Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC

UYGUR: Since the day that they took over the House, Republicans have laid a bear trap for President Obama. They kept insisting that the deficit was the only issue and challenged the president to do more and more spending cuts. Eventually, the president took the bait, listened, and started playing their game.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am absolutely confident that we can move forward on a plan that gets our debt until control, gets our deficit under control.


UYGUR: But now that the Republicans have the president on their ground and, more importantly, got him to stop focusing in public on creating jobs for the American people, which is in reality, of course, the number one issue in the country, they turn around and hammer him on jobs.


BOEHNER: The American people are still asking the question, well, where are the jobs? Republicans have been focused on jobs creation since the beginning of this Congress.


UYGUR: That, of course, is a joke since they have not put forward one proposal or one bill to create jobs. But they are the masters of spin. They get the president to focus on spending cuts and ignore jobs creation, and then blame him for ignoring job creation.

Now, how many times is the president going to fall for this?

But out of the dark clouds of this misinformation campaign comes riding a posse of progressives, a veritable caucus—the Progressive Caucus. They‘re here to set the record straight.


REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL), PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: And the new Republican majority has not offered one bill, one proposal, one concrete idea that would put Americans back to work.


UYGUR: Now, will you look at that? Someone who actually cares about Americans who are out of work.

The Progressive Caucus announced today they‘re going on a listening tour this summer dubbed “Speak Out for Good Jobs Now.” The 12-city tour will give the unemployed and underemployed a chance to have their stories heard.

It started today in Washington with regular folks who desperately want jobs, folks who just happen to have some pretty astute observations.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The economy‘s just never going to recover if we get rid of the middle class. And that‘s essentially what‘s going on right now in the country.


UYGUR: She sounds like Robert Reich. And she‘s right. How do you get a healthy economy for anybody without a middle class that can buy all those products? You can‘t.

Now, luckily, some Democrats are ready to listen. But can they stop the White House from falling into that GOP trap and focusing only on spending cuts?

Let‘s find out. Joining me now, Congressman Raul Grijalva, a member of the Progressive Caucus.

Congressman, great to have you here tonight with us.

REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Thank you very much. I appreciate the invitation.

UYGUR: No, no problem. Thank you.

So, when you talk about refocusing the conversation on to jobs, is the White House frankly an obstacle there? Because they seem like they‘re playing that Republican game of only focusing on spending cuts.

GRIJALVA: I think the whole discussion about jobs become so esoteric, so hypocritical, so full of spin, that nobody is listening to what the American people are saying, what working families are saying, what the middle class is saying. So, this 12-city, plus more in August, tour is about letting the American people talk about jobs, talk about their families, talk about their aspirations.

I think we‘re missing the boat as Democrats. If we don‘t embrace the idea that jobs are part of the cure for this recession, that good jobs are part of the cure for our economy, we‘re going to miss the boat.

The American people care about jobs. The Republicans have been hypocritical to talk about jobs and then cut anything that would stimulate job creation. And so, this tour is about listening to real people, on real time, with real ideas.

UYGUR: OK. You know, I want the audience to understand this.

Look, if you create more jobs, the government pays out less in unemployment, and they get more in revenue for the taxes of those people who have jobs. So it actually helps both things. It helps jobs and it helps the deficit.

And it seems like we have lost focus on that. Even David Brooks thinks the Republicans‘ strategy is a terrible idea.

Let me read you a quote from him. He wrote in “The New York Times” today, “The Republican growth agenda, tax cuts and nothing else, is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible, and politically impossible.”

So why are we having conversation on their ground? How do we fight on our ground? What would you propose? How do we create jobs as a member of the Progressive Caucus? What do you think is the right way to go?

GRIJALVA: I think the administration and Congress, and particularly the administration, has to get behind the public jobs bill that creates three to four million jobs for the American people, puts people to work on the things that need to be done for this country from our streets to our nursing homes, and puts these good people to work so they can take care of the family, circulate money in our economy, and begin to pull us out of the hole that we‘re in.

Franklin Roosevelt knew that. All his jobs bills were about circulating money and putting people to work, and giving the American people back the confidence that they need. That‘s what we need to do.

UYGUR: All right. You mentioned something really interesting there. I think most people watching go, hey, three to four million jobs, that would be great. Right?

How do you do that? What would you high them to do?

GRIJALVA: I would hire them to take care of America‘s needs—our roads, our buildings, our infrastructure, our nursing homes, to take care of the people that need to be taken care of, as my generation gets older and older. Also to take care of our schools, to make sure that we have all the infrastructure needs that the American economy is going to need to the future. Plan ahead.

We are not doing that. And as a consequence, we continue to fall behind in the global market because America is not prepared to compete in that global market, because we don‘t have the infrastructure to do that. Put American people, their ingenuity, their hard work, their dedication, put them to work to build us up again.

UYGUR: All right. Congressman Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus, with a plan for actual jobs.

Thank you for your time tonight. We appreciate it.

GRIJALVA: Thank you.

UYGUR: All right.

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About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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