One thing that was supposed to be clear was that the one issue everyone should be focused on in this post-recession economy is jobs.

One thing that was supposed to be clear was that the one issue everyone should be focused on in this post-recession economy is jobs.

You heard it all during last fall’s mid-term elections. Americans don’t want to hear about health care or wars or crime or education. Americans wanted someone to articulate a coherent message about job creation. Americans wanted President Barack Obama or Congress or somebody – anybody, to get them jobs.

Instead, Obama got bogged down with debt reduction and debt ceilings. Congress became a one-note band, hijacked by Tea Party loyalists, who valued spending cuts above any other policy initiative, to the point of holding all other initiatives hostage until cuts were to their liking. And even then, when they had wrung all they could from debt “negotiations,” they still balked.

In the meantime, no one was creating any jobs. In fact, the protracted and public battle over the debt ceiling served to have Standard & Poor’s reduce the country’s credit rating, a slide that makes borrowing money even more expensive. That scenario caused a stock market slide that erased some of the money corporations could have set aside for jobs or expansion or research and development.

And still, no one created any jobs.

It is amazing that many who wish to reduce the size of government don’t realize that also means cutting jobs. Municipal governments reduce their workforce, idling taxpaying workers. State governments slash spending, sending workers home, where they swell the unemployment ranks. The federal government cuts spending on social programs and other safety net agencies, and those workers get laid off, creating even more jobless.

Meanwhile, the jobless rate hovers above 9.5 percent, discouraging workers, scaring businesses and actually reducing government and corporate revenue.

While those who wish to reduce the size of government say that government should get out of the way, it is not that simple. Removing government from the economy – either as an employer or a regulator – does not strengthen the economy.

President Obama has given his blessing for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) “For the People” Jobs Initiative, which includes nationwide job fairs and town hall meetings.

The CBC hopes to encourage the House of Representatives to immediately consider and pass critical jobs legislation to address the growing jobs crisis throughout America.

The CBC has introduced 40 job creation bills since the beginning of the 112th Congress, because they know that residents in the communities they represent struggle with an unemployment rate at 16.2 percent. Most of those pieces of legislation have been dead upon arrival, as Congress was busy wrangling over whether a two or three trillion dollar cut in spending would satisfy those rabid voters who would rather see the country fall into a financial morass than actually negotiate a package that would strengthen the country.

We stand with the CBC members who want to see the dialogue swing back to job creation – not creationism or climate control or even abortion rights. Our communities are crying out for jobs. Saving our communities from despair and neglect is best accomplished when the people in those communities are employed, able to make purchases and, oddly enough, paying taxes. We applaud the president for trying to refocus his energy, and the national spotlight, on this most important issue.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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