George Graham

Surely, by Now, You Know What Republicans Want

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives will not pass President Obama’s jobs bill. I heard President Carter on the Rachel Maddow Show last night, and I concede his expertise on the subject, but sorry, Jimmy, you’re giving the Republicans too much credit. They will not listen to their constituents. They will not yield to public opinion and the polls. They have only one boss – the mighty global corporations who fund their campaigns and lavish lifestyles.

If they do break up the bill and pass a few little bits, the pieces will be too inconsequential to make a difference in America’s unemployment crisis. They have absolutely no intention of doing anything that would make the president look good. Their number one goal is to defeat him, remember? As Rush Limbaugh admitted in so many words, they want the president to fail.

What parts of the jobs bill do you think they’ll accept? Probably the tax credits to business and perhaps even the extension of the payroll tax break for employers. I don’t see them extending unemployment insurance benefits.  And they sure aren’t going to end the Bush tax giveaways to rich Americans and global corporations. It will be a cold day in Hell when they vote to end tax subsidies to oil companies, for example. As for the Obama plan to repair America’s aging and dangerously rickety infrastructure? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen as long as the Republicans can block it.

Even Jimmy Carter wasn’t impressed by the bill’s likely impact. He called it “positive but minimal.”

I don’t have much hope even for “minimal” effectiveness. I wasn’t too surprised to hear John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell making conciliatory sounds after the president unveiled his plan. Given the public mood and the fire-and-brimstone way in which Obama delivered his address, they could do nothing else – for the moment. But it wasn’t long before they revealed their true intent. They wasted no time finding flaws in the bill that they just couldn’t accept.

Now, their opposition to the bill is out in the open. Representative Louie Gohmert  has introduced the Republicans’ “jobs bill” in Congress. And – surprise! – it includes only one provision: the elimination of corporate taxes. No infrastructure spending, no payroll tax cuts, no assistance to states to hire more teachers and police officers …

Once again, the Republicans have trotted out their  trickle-down panacea: helping multibillion-dollar global corporations get even richer in the hopes that the rest of us will glean a few crumbs from their table.

It doesn’t faze them that this theory (which Bush the Elder called Voodoo economics) has been tried and tried and tried – and failed and failed and failed.

I suppose they’re counting on the deep pockets of their corporate bosses to saturate the media during next year’s election campaign. They’ve proved in the past that if you spend enough on propaganda and PR you can convince American voters that up is down and wrong is right. They must think they can do it again.

God help us if they’re right.



About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for