Unemployment Benefits Stalled In Senate Because The Electorate Wants Economic Growth Too

Jan 15 2014, 8:22am CST | by

Unemployment Benefits Stalled In Senate Because The Electorate Wants Economic Growth Too

The failure of the Senate to reach an agreement on either a short (3 month) or longer- term (11 month) extension of  unemployment insurance combined with two new polls showing the electorate is moving away from ‘economic fairness’ arguments is the clearest evidence of a pivot toward a preference for ‘growth’ policies.

The reason the issue has stalled is deeper than Republican intransigence over how the extension would be paid for.  This has never been a debate about fiscal responsibility and pay-go rules.  The inability of the two bills to reach the current filibuster threshold and Senator Harry Reid’s unwillingness to allow the possibility of a diverse array of amendments suggests that while a consensus among lawmakers has yet to emerge, the electorate – calling into Congressional offices back home – clearly wants something more productive in return for the extension.

Lawmakers sense this but are confused by all of the inputs and the emotional intensity tied to each preference.  Washington is just too noisy right now.  After returning from their recess, it is very likely that legislative deal-making will better reflect what the electorate is communicating.

My read is that the electorate now wants economic growth policies paired with any major piece of income redistribution legislation.  That is what the latest Rasmussen poll on the economic fairness vs. economic growth question suggests to me. Finding that 53% of Americans rate economic growth over economic fairness, Rasmussen concluded yesterday, “President Obama has declared income equality to be his number one issue this year, but most voters continue to rate economic growth as more important than economic fairness.”

And citing the always elusive (and often biased) ‘internal poll,’ Rep. John Boehner, with glee, pointed out that Republican pollster David Winston has determined that more Americans now blame President Obama for the state of the economy than do President George W. Bush, who was in power at the beginning of the Great Recession.

The Hill reports, “The Speaker shows slides illustrating the numbers. After Obama’s 2012 reelection, according to Winston’s polling, 53 percent of voters said ‘policies of the past’ were causing the nation’s economic problems, while 44 percent blamed policies ‘of the present.’ Polling in November 2013 found those numbers largely reversed; 41 percent blame the policies of the past, while 49 percent blame current policies. ‘Since he can’t blame George W. Bush anymore, the president has chosen to talk about rising income inequality, unemployment, and the need to extend emergency unemployment benefits,’ Boehner said. ‘After five years in office, Barack Obama still doesn’t have an answer to the question: Where are the jobs?

The only problem with Rep. Boehner’s thesis is that if the electorate is asking President Obama ‘where are the jobs?’ they are similarly wondering of Republicans, ‘where are your growth policies?

Clearly, with Republicans polling higher than Democrats on the issue of who is better suited to handle the economy, the electorate is not looking for obstruction of redistribution policies as much as they are looking for avenues which proactively increase employment.

As I pointed out in “Because Republicans React To Obama They Are Controlled By Him,” it is Democrats who are taking the lead in more prominently advancing ideas and legislation in accordance with their economic ideology.  Republicans focus on the errant ways of these policies without offering their own.

Either economic growth is no longer a part of the party’s ideology – replaced by anti-Government Tea Party fiscal populism –  or Republicans have become demand-side Keynesians themselves or the economic growth wing of the party is too marginalized or unorganized within it.

From another direction, Brad Plumer points out the effect of all of this in The Washington Post,  “Economists on both the left and the right who have looked at this problem tend to think the government needs to do a lot more to tackle long-term unemployment. That could include work-sharing programs. Or tax incentives for companies that hire the long-term jobless, as economist Dean Baker has suggested. Or relocation assistance. Or even, as AEI’s Kevin Hassett has proposed, the government could hire people directly. But Congress isn’t doing any of these things. They’re not even talking about any of these things. The only debate is between Democrats (and some Republicans) who want to extend the emergency unemployment insurance program and conservatives who oppose it. But there’s little legislative debate over larger, more comprehensive measures.”

Congress can’t reach a deal over the extension of unemployment insurance because only one side – the Democrats –  or one economic school, Keynesian, proactively offers an agenda.

Once Republicans figure this out, not only will we have a more robust economic debate but one that brings us closer to economic growth.

- Follow Cedric on Twitter

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Islamic State biggest threat to our profession: Scribe panel
Cairo, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) Following the beheading of US reporter James Foley, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has warned that the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist organisation operating in Syria and Iraq is one of the biggest threats to journalists.
 
 
Early porn obsession damaging teenagers' brains: Study
London, Aug 21 (IANS) An early exposure to porn and explicit material online can damage teenagers' cognitive abilities, clarity about relationships and studies later in life.
 
 
Indian wines to participate in Vino Ljubljana International Wine Fair
Ljubljana, Aug 21 (IANS) In a bid to introduce and promote Indian produced wines Europe, the country will participate in upcoming Vino Ljubljana International Wine Fair from Sep 4-6 here.
 
 
City spiders getting bigger, multiplying faster
Sydney, Aug 21 (IANS) If you think that the spiders you see in your garden are getting bigger, you are probably right.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dead
Dublin, Aug 21 (IANS) Former Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds, who played an important part in the Northern Ireland peace process, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 81 and leaves behind his wife Kathleen...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Islamic State biggest threat to our profession: Scribe panel
Cairo, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) Following the beheading of US reporter James Foley, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has warned that the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist organisation operating in Syria and Iraq is...
Read more on Ad Balla
 
Pakistan SC adjourns PTI's case hearing till Friday
Islamabad, Aug 21 (IANS) Pakistan's Supreme Court Thursday ordered the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to file a concise statement by Friday in relation to the petition filed against the party over its ongoing protests...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Army, militants fighting for control over Syrian airport
Cairo, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) Fierce clashes broke out Thursday between the Syrian army and militants of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group on the outskirts of al-Tabaqa military air base, the only bastion still...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pakistan seeks proof after Afghanistan's terror allegations
Islamabad, Aug 21 (IANS) Pakistan Thursday asked neighbouring Afghanistan to share evidence of its involvement in "insurgent attacks, acts of terrorism, and cross-border shelling", officials said. The comments came...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Saudi Arabia sentences 18 over terror attacks
Riyadh, Aug 21 (IANS) A specialised criminal court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 18 people to varied prison terms for participating in terrorist attacks within the country, media reported. The men, who were part of a...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Early porn obsession damaging teenagers' brains: Study
London, Aug 21 (IANS) An early exposure to porn and explicit material online can damage teenagers' cognitive abilities, clarity about relationships and studies later in life. According to a recent study by the...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Two Indians plead guilty to fraud in US
Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) Two Indian nationals on H-1B visas in the US pleaded guilty to taking healthcare benefits by making false claims. Vipinkumar Patel, 30, and Jigar Patel, 27, in the US state of Maryland...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US town where teenager was shot is calm
Ferguson (Missouri), Aug 21 (IANS) Ferguson town in the US state of Missouri was calm as Attorney General Eric Holder arrived for talks with authorities after police shot dead a black teenager. The St. Louis's suburb...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian wines to participate in Vino Ljubljana International Wine Fair
Ljubljana, Aug 21 (IANS) In a bid to introduce and promote Indian produced wines Europe, the country will participate in upcoming Vino Ljubljana International Wine Fair from Sep 4-6 here. However, according to...
Read more on Business Balla