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Froma Harrop
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 18 February 2013
Most viewers weren’t dining with the fact-checkers, but even if they had, the news sounded pretty good; over half a million new jobs, more American cars sold, less foreign oil used, a housing market on the mend. As Obama reminded everyone, “We have cleared away the rubble of crisis” created by you-know-who.

Republicans Plagued by Good News

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"Obama says he's going to make middle-class jobs," the breakfast room troubadour bellowed at the Holiday Inn Express to those who wanted to listen — and to those who didn't. "Did he make your job?" he went on, cornering a female employee. "Private companies make jobs."

The commentary was not entirely wrong. Private enterprise creates the great majority of jobs in this country. But the baritone assumes that entrepreneurs can easily grow good jobs in a world filled with smart young people working for less money.

Every successful rich country — Germany, for example — has a government actively building the right economic environment, including an educated workforce able to fill good jobs. It has low unemployment, high wages and a sturdy social safety net.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed "a Fix-It-First program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country." A modern country needs a modern infrastructure. It helps the makers make more.

Here in the Northwest, the aging I-5 bridge over the Columbia River is a major worry for both Oregon and Washington state. It needs rebuilding — and, for that, a good chunk of federal money.

If in the course of rebuilding these bridges, thousands of jobs are made, that's what we call a win-win situation. That taxpayer dollars are involved is no reason to hate the program.

Public investment in energy technology is today's moonshot. Not withstanding some bad bets, such as Solyndra, it multiplies private-sector jobs. It is partly why American manufacturers are selling cars again and why, as Obama noted, wind and solar energy has doubled.

Technology is why, as Obama also pointed out, Caterpillar, Ford, Intel and Apple are opening plants in the United States, rather than in China, Mexico and other lower-wage countries.

Robots are allowing us to compete.

Now Obama does play fast and loose with some numbers, according to the fact-checkers. While wind and solar energy production is way up, it still represents a very small piece of the energy mix — even the renewable energy mix (which includes hydropower and ethanol). But these technologies are still relatively new, and they're way up from nothing.

Obama breaks the truth-meter when he claims that "we have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas." If only. He was talking about his administration's call for raising fuel economy standards by 2025 — a bold goal that carmakers may or may not be able to reach. Suffice it to say, though, the 17 percent rise in fuel efficiency over the last four years is very, very impressive.

Most viewers weren't dining with the fact-checkers, but even if they had, the news sounded pretty good. Over half a million new jobs, more American cars sold, less foreign oil used, a housing market on the mend. As Obama reminded everyone, "We have cleared away the rubble of crisis" created by you-know-who.

Sitting behind Obama, Republican House Speaker John Boehner stoically listened to the progress reports. Next to him, Vice President Joe Biden seemed paralyzed in a grin.

Much of the Republican reaction was self-pity. Official responder Florida Sen. Marco Rubio offered a long list of fictional accusations. Example: When Republicans say that "government can't control the weather" (not quite true with global warming), "he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air."

Hey, it was a tough night for Republicans. Their big voices on the radio and in motel breakfast rooms have little recourse but to raise the volume.

Copyright Creators.com


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ABOUT Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times, Denver Post and Newsday. The twice-a-week column is distributed by Creators Syndicate, in Los Angeles. Harrop has written for numerous other publications, ranging from The New York Times and Institutional Investor, to Harper’s Bazaar and Metropolitan Home. Previously, she covered business for Reuters Ltd., in New York, and was a financial editor for The New York Times News Service. A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary, Harrop was also honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Over the years, the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has named her for five awards.

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18 comments on "Republicans Plagued by Good News"

podgenej

February 18, 2013 2:10pm

Republicans got us into wars, wars of choice. First we "broke" these countries and now we are spending billions of dollars putting them back together. In the process, we are building schools, roads, etc., trying to win their hearts and minds. Why isn't it a priority to win hearts and minds here in the USA?

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:53pm

The comments by Rubio were spot on!

Boris Badenov's picture
Boris Badenov

February 18, 2013 1:46pm

Yes I know, but what do Fox News listeners say. (All 3 of them)
That's what really counts, as that's what the GOP thinks.

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:52pm

Only 3 listeners to Fox. Where's that place MSNBC? In the minus category? I like the photo of Boris. He is such an outdated idiot. Can a parallel be drawn?

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:33pm

This woman doesn't know what she's saying. Germany has an unemployment rate of 7.4%. That sucks! We had 4.5% under Bush before the Democrats took over in Washington and screwed everything up!

pennywise
section five village, md
February 19, 2013 3:54am

I now know everything I need to know about you.

belleville

February 18, 2013 4:29pm

You're an Idiot!!! Bush cut taxes on the rich, and started 2 wars. We need to push Congress, to change the Tax Code to something similar to what FDR did, in order to get us out of the Great Depression. From 1936 thru 1940 we had 33 Tax Brackets in order to reach all range of income. These Brackets ranged from 4% for all income up to $64K, all the way up to a top marginal rate of 79% for income over $79Million. Now that is "Fair & Balanced".

Radsenior

February 18, 2013 1:29pm

More than fictional accusations by the TEA-quest-traitors, but actual lies since Obama has done more than they predicted given the president received no help from the combative and confrontational TEA-Republicans. The TEA-quest-traitors lost decisively in November but still haven't learned one d--- thing! At the state level is where they have the greatest power and influence and there is where massive changes must be made. Texas is a great example of the sham Texans are having to got through. TEA-quest-traitors have been put on notice and many understand a blue shade is coming and they must change to enjoy the fruits of Texas. Arrogant, confrontational and polarizing, Ted Cruz is Ditch Mitch's attack dog and will also have to change if he wants to keep his seat. His arrogance and caustic attitude has soured both parties as his total allegiance is to the TEA party. The Mexican-American Legislative Caucus must choose their battles carefully and stay on the side of the people. Texas is still awaiting outcome of the challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, section 5, in Alabama. That provision has not outlived it's purpose and in fact should be spread out across the entire nation given the actions of many states who have passed numerous state laws abridging voters in a multitude of ways from photo ID's to limiting amount of time or days to vote. The phrase, “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution” holds true today just as much as it did back then. In Alabama, because the city had not obtained pre clearance from federal authorities, it could not revise its voting list using utility records. Nor could it use a municipal redistricting plan enacted by the City Council that had concentrated black voters, who are in the majority, into just two of the five districts, limiting black voting power. Voting should be in proportion to the ethnic diversity of the state and abridging this concept should not be allowed. In fact, this provision does pick on the south, and should be utilized in every state across the board when this type of action is attempted. New data should be considered as states have abridged time, requirements and certification requirements for one to vote. Any methodology to infringe on voter restrictions by any means should be singled out and brought to trial if necessary. Voter intimidation has no place on our society and perpetrators should be singled out and brought to justice if applicable. The south has changed slowly and many pockets of prejudice and discrimination persist in these same states. We well know the truth of the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people and the concentration of power in stricter, less compassionate hands. "Sweep the Texas state Capital CLEAN....in 2014" "Sweep the House CLEAN....in 2014" "Sweep the Senate CLEAN....in 2014"

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:47pm

The reason Texas is so prosperous is because it is run by conservative Republicans who still respect the Constitution. You should give Michigan a try and see for yourself how well liberal Democrats can screw things up. REMEMBER: Liberalism ALWAYS creates the exact opposite of it's stated intent.

pennywise
section five village, md
February 19, 2013 6:26am

Texas is prosperous because your Mexicans do everything cheap. Texas is prosperous because Bush was feeding your state money at a shameless rate. Texas colleges are prosperous because Bush II send billions of research dollars to totally undistinguished schools. Texas is prosperous because Bush made sure Texas got the bulk of contracts from DoD for Pres. Cheney's war. Texas is prosperous because they push all the states expenditure bills down to the counties and cities. Texas is prosperous because you have oil, you couldn't get up early enough to screw that up. Texas is prosperous because NAFTA was written by Texas socialist millionaires with only themeselves profiting. Michigan is constantly being robbed by Texas companies with NAFTA advantages and their TexMex "right to work for less" motto. Texas with every advantage money can buy but the politics of exclusion has an incredible amount of people on welfare. So which Texas are you showing us. Does any state execute more people every year than Texas? You're not counting the drug cartel money permiating the conservative republican's convenient adherence that respected constitution are you? Texas has more people in poverty than Michigan.

Texas is the most thankless state in the union towards the Federal Government. Tons of military bases and posts. the Bush's sending every new government agency to Texas. You people never have anything thankful to say about the rest of the country. Stop being whores. If you take the rest of America's money, stop running down the rest of America. At least the conservative republicans should be honorable enough not to beg money from the butts of your jokes.

Can you give an example of Texas' strick interpretation of the constitution rewarding the state in an exclusive way? I don't think the states have been given the right to deceide what the US constitution does or doesn't say or mean.

RonniV

February 18, 2013 1:18pm

How can the Republicans scream "We're spending too much money" when we want to rebuild the infrastructure? It was taxpayer money that built the infrastructure in the first place, and WE, the taxpayers that reaped the benefit of having that infrastructure there. Of course WE should foot the bill to rebuild.

If the Republicans don't like it, they can build their own roads and bridges - we won't use them. I can imagine their quality - bet they's crumble in 10 years due to shoddy workmanship - they will find out the hard way that you get what you pay for, and they don't want to pay.

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:28pm

RePublicans DID build their own roads; they pay taxes also.

danh

February 18, 2013 10:39am

How can we "compete" economically while we carry the heavy burden of hundreds of overseas bases and multiple multi-trillion dollar wars?

(In fact, already we're conceding too much ground by talking about "competition": the goal should be a rising standard of living in a clean, healthy country where all adults have a good job. That is not logically the same as trying to sell or buy the most goods on the international marketplace, and may not even be compatible with it.)

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:39pm

The answer to your question is capitalism and a return to the tenants of the Constitution. Throw out this socialist nonsense and you'll see a surge in good jobs and prosperity.

ccrider27

February 18, 2013 10:36am

Part of Obama's SOTUS: "Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow."

Wonder if Ms. Harrop would like to take a shot at that one. But I'm thinking probably not.

He was talking about the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule. Remember that the 'meltdown' was caused by a lack of regulation? The QRM basically says that buyers have to actually be qualified to pay back the loan, remember 'liars loans' and that the original lenders actually have to have a stake in any foreclosure loss if that were to occur - so they will have some skin in the game.

Without the QRM and the Volcker rule we are right back where we were pre-2007. Well we are anyway, but these would be the last two items that make any difference at all.

But Oblahblah's Wall Street Robber Baron overlords want those regulations to just go away. And he was just following orders.

That's what he was talking about.

Yep, it was a bad day for idiot Rethugs. But it was another great day for the 1%.

Where are those Obama-bots who were so vocal before the election?

pennywise
section five village, md
February 18, 2013 10:12am

If a "socialist millionaire" has a venture in the works, needing just the tiniest of laws to be passed, in order for the entire scheme to now be legal or financially viablefall, in who's hat goes the feather? I'm sure the "socialist millionaire" won't mind if his taxes get bumped up a little in order to pay his billable hours to congress for the favor.

Mister B

February 18, 2013 1:42pm

Certainly you are referring to George Sosrs.

pennywise
section five village, md
February 19, 2013 6:01am

Does Soros bitch about paying his share to America? Does Soros make his money getting the Republican obstructionists to do him favors? Does Soros stand to make millions if only he can get the government to build 1000s of
alternate energy fueling stations? Did Soros draw the line between Brent Crude and WTI somewhere in LA, so they can purchase at one price and discharge 5 miles away at a higher price, thousands of miles from the North sea? Did Soros get the Virgin Islands excluded from refining laws for all US holdings? No B, I'm not talking about Soros. I'm talking about T. Boone Pickens, I'm talking Oscar Wyatt, I'm talking about Dick Cheney of Halliburton. I'm talking about Carnival Cruise Lines, that makes $1B on a good year but pays zilch US Taxes. I'm talking about Facebook, not a nickle here in Taxes. What would bring Soros to your mind except that he's a democrat and you're not? It's pretty obvious you had a empty desk today, must be nice.

I asked one question and made one statement for comment. If you can't comment on either, don't bother me. Go open a new comment tab and say what you want.