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Where Are the Jobs?
There is a political storm brewing on both sides of the aisle and I don't think either party is seeing it. There are now eight people who want jobs for every job opening in the United States. Oddly, there is every indication that they are being ignored by the government at every level. The GOP is too embroiled in "social" legislation; legislating and restricting abortion, cutting social programs and cutting taxes for the top 1% in the nation. The jobless, who voted for these people on the promise of "jobs", are seeing no benefit from this and, in fact, are feeling betrayed as many of the social programs being cut are the same programs supporting them in their joblessness, including food stamps and WIC. Those that do have jobs are hanging on to them tightly and see efforts by the GOP in multiple states to smash unions, both public and private, as threats to their livelihood. In the last ten years the Middle Class has shrunk and those that used to belong to it and want to rejoin it are angry, and getting angrier, that legislators they elected are not only not following through on their promises but act like they never made those promises in the first place.
The GOP swept into power this past election cycle on the promise that economic relief was coming. Many voters are upset and disappointed that, to date, they have yet to see a single piece of legislation addressing it. Even support for the Tea Party is waning as the large numbers of retirees that made up it's membership are seeing their pensions threatened and alarmed at proposed Social Security cuts coming from the party they supported.
The Democratic side of the aisle is in no better shape, although they have the excuse that their efforts are being blocked by partisanship moves by the GOP. The most recent joke is that, "If President Obama came out in favor of oxygen, Republicans would suffocate themselves." When people see this type of extreme partisanship, they despair that anything will get done and, indeed, to date, the Federal government has had to pass stop gap temporary legislation on the budget three times. However, I don't blame just the GOP for this. Both sides of the aisle are engaging in this kind of behavior.
Does this mean that I think the Wisconsin Democratic senators were in the wrong for leaving the state? Yes and no. That was a case where the Democratic legislators were so ignored and their voices silenced so badly that, as their was absolutely no effort to compromise, they did what they felt they had to do. Walker made it plain he was passing the legislation with them or without them, and in the end he did do it without them. Worse, to date, even though an injunction has been issued by state courts to prevent the legislation from going into law, the Governor is acting as though the injunction doesn't exist. This is a situation where elected officials are quite literally running roughshod over their own electorate. Much the same is happening now in this state to the horror, dismay and frustration of the very people who elected these legislators.
What I truly find amazing is that these legislators, voted in on a wave of desire for "change", a hope that politics wouldn't be "business as usual", seem to be completely oblivious to what they are doing. The general attitude isn't, "Let's get to work.". The attitude is, "We won! And boy are we going to make you PAY!" And the general wave in the direction of the electorate is, "Thanks, suckah!".The very idea that they could be "one and done" doesn't even seem to enter their thoughts. All of them seem to believe that their very election was a mandate to do as they pleased. There are probably a number of people who did vote for them with that mandate. However, I don't think anyone realized or expected how that mandate would manifest or it's result.
One thing is for sure; the unemployed, the under employed and those who see their employment threatened are fast becoming a voice to be reckoned with. As the Tea Party wanes, the Coffee Party gains. Believe me, it's not too early for elected legislators to start paying attention.