In case you haven’t heard, 62,000 jobs disappeared into the ether yesterday. And not just any sort of jobs: many of them were good jobs -- with nary a Wal-Mart greeter, pancake house waitress or maid among those mentioned in the published reports (although, no doubt, many of those sorts of jobs are disappearing too). No, the jobs we lost yesterday sound largely like the sort of employment that can pay for an honest middle class lifestyle, send kids to college and, by the way, keep the economy purring. 62,000 gone in one day -- poof, and just like magic they’re no more. From The New York Times:
Monday’s toll included 20,000 cuts at Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machinery; 8,000 jobs at the wireless provider Sprint Nextel; 7,000 workers at Home Depot, and 8,000 from the expected merger of the pharmaceutical makers Pfizer and Wyeth. The beleaguered automaker General Motors announced that it would cut shifts at plants in Michigan and Ohio, where the downturn has hit hardest, eliminating some 2,000 jobs. And Texas Instruments said after the market closed on Monday that it would cut 3,400 jobs or 12 percent of its work force through 1,800 layoffs and 1,600 buyouts or retirements. In Europe, the banking and insurance group ING said it would cut 7,000 jobs; the electronics company Philips, 6,000; and the steel maker Corus, 3,500 worldwide. “We’re now into the danger zone,” said Brian Bethune, chief United States financial economist at IHS Global Insight. “It really becomes pernicious because the uncertainty increases, corporate confidence is badly battered, and you get these severe measures being taken.”Great news, huh? Even more confirmation, as though we needed it, that our economy is going to hell in a roller coaster (the saying “to hell in a hand basket” just doesn’t do it for the current situation, does it?). And what’s the best the Grand Old Party has to offer in response? The short answer, of course, is they ain’t got nothin’ -- or at least nothin’ other than a wheelbarrow full of game playing and a cesspool of worn out rhetoric. If it weren’t for the sheer nostalgia of reliving the greatest hits of GOP lunacy of old, there’d be no reason to pay even the slightest bit of attention to anything they’re saying. Here, for example, is that perfect representative of the Republican mainstream (sad but true) Rush Limbaugh, “patriotically” wishing both Barack Obama and America ill:
Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I only need four: I hope he fails! See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. Look, even my staff says, 'Oh, you can't do that.' Why not? Why is it any different? What's new? What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the drive-by story is. I would be honored if the drive-by media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh says: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."Clearly, Al Franken was too kind to Rush. Calling him a big fat idiot doesn’t begin to cover it. Unfortunately, statements regarding the crisis being offered by the GOP’s “far more respectable” elected representatives have been only slightly less absurd. We have, for example, John McCain’s recent call to arms in favor of a GOP “stimulus” proposal based almost entirely on renewing and extending George W. Bush’s disastrous tax cuts. Ah, yes, a little of the hair of the dog that bit us. George W. Bush’s economic policies (which can be summarized as government of the tax cuts, by the tax cuts and for the tax cuts) helped to drive the economy into the ditch. So what better way to try to dig our way out than to adopt even more of the same? Jesus. Can someone tell me how the political discourse of this nation became so inane? And these are the guys Barack Obama wants so desperately to find common ground with? I’ll admit to being a wee bit pre-post-partisan here, but isn’t that sort of like the captain of the Titanic trying to find common ground with the iceberg? 62,000 jobs disappear in just one day and the best these bozos can come up with is to play political games and rehash long disproved talking points. I don’t know if, as some people are suggesting, modern conservatism is dead, but if this is the best the right wing can offer it sure ought to be. Something close to 397 percent of Americans currently approve of the job Obama is doing, while the GOP is sitting at approximately a minus 764 percent approval rating. Mr. President, not only are you sitting in the catbird seat, you just got 62,000 more good reasons to tell the GOP to shove it. I suggest you give it a try. Believe me, it will feel oh so good.