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Jobs, Not Debt Ceiling, Should Be Priority

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A job applicant greets a prospective employer during a job fair in San Francisco.

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It’s bad enough that the debt-ceiling deadlock makes Washington look completely dysfunctional. But what’s even worse, writes E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post, is that while Congress is consumed by a  unnecessary (Republican-created) crisis, the U.S. government “is kept from doing what taxpayers expect it to do, which is to solve problems that citizens care about.” Like, say, 9 percent unemployment. There’s a lot government could be doing – but isn’t – doing to kick-start job creation, like investing in public works and helping cash-strapped states that have been shedding public workers in droves. Obama says he can’t get anything like that through an obstructionist Congress, but Dionne isn’t buying it. “Excuse me, Mr. President, but if you believe in this policy, why not propose it and fight for it? Leadership on jobs is your central job right now. Let the Republicans explain why they want more cops and teachers let go, or local taxes to rise.” (Emphasis his.) And what about extending last year’s payroll tax reduction and unemployment insurance? “Why so little discussion of how balky Republicans have been on this Obama tax cut, or how resistant they have been for further help to the unemployed” even while they’ve resisted raising taxes on the rich? “Every member of Congress who got us into this debt-ceiling fight should be docked six months pay,” says Dionne. “They wasted our time on political posturing instead of solving problems.”

‘Why did Congress waste six months?‘ [E.J. Dionne, Washington Post]

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