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Chuck Schumer
Sen. Chuck Schumer (Official Senate photo)
Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke on jobs and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute Thursday. His speech contained the core outline of a jobs plan, but as importantly he laid out a forceful argument against the Republican approach on the economy, as President Obama had done in his Wednesday press conference.

Schumer's jobs agenda includes a Highway Bill, National Infrastructure Bank, energy plan, currency exchange rate reform, and a smorgasbord of tax cuts. More details of that plan will doubtless emerge in the coming weeks, and then be endlessly debated, compromised, and filibustered. But Schumer's case for a serious jobs plan and his portrait of the Democratic and Republican approaches to the economy represents a more aggressive stance than we'd been seeing from Senate Democrats:

The evidence is clear: the Republican approach of 'cut, cut, cut' over the last six months has undermined our economic recovery.

Toward the end of last year, the recovery was gaining momentum – GDP grew 2.6% in the third quarter and 3.1% in the fourth quarter. But in the first half of 2011, as the federal government increasingly withdrew support from the economy and Republicans continually blocked us from doing anything to create jobs, growth has fallen to less than 2%.


The Republicans can say all they want that we can cut our way to prosperity, but is at odds with all the empirical evidence we have. We know from history, as well as from what we are seeing in other parts of the world right now, that cuts on the scale they have proposed in the middle of a recession will lead to lower economic growth and less job creation, not more.

We have now been playing entirely on the Republicans‘ field for six months and the recovery has only slowed. We have seen enough to know that their approach is not working.

And then he went there:

And we need to start asking ourselves an uncomfortable question – are Republicans slowing down the recovery on purpose for political gain in 2012? It's one thing for them to block programs they have always opposed. But when they start to contradict themselves by opposing programs they have supported—such as pro-business tax cuts—we are left to wonder.

Perhaps the least convincing part of Schumer's remarks came when he argued that Republicans might actually participate in passing job creation measures; I'm not optimistic that will happen, and without it, we're not going to see anything passed. However, if Schumer's forceful tone represents more than a momentary blip in the Democratic approach on the economy, it might at least shift the public debate a hair away from all cuts all the time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  why didn't they do this in Feb. 2009? (9+ / 0-)

    this is why I hate the Democrats (although not as much as I hate Republicans).

    These are good ideas that should have come up long ago.

  •  exactly, 2 1/2 years too late, I wish 'em well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, HeyMikey, BigOkie

    80 % of success


    JUST SHOWING UP ! ! ! !

    by Churchill on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:40:38 PM PDT

  •  can't forget that smorgasbord of tax cuts (7+ / 0-)

    We've probably just been cutting the wrong ones for the past 11 years.  Just keep on cutting them boys...sooner or later those cuts have GOT to start creating jobs.

    Maybe if you cut gas taxes?  Nah...that won't create any jobs.  It'll just leave me with a few extra dollars at the end of the month, which I'd probably just waste on whole chickens when they go on sale for 87 cents a pound.

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." Hunter S. Thompson

    by Keith930 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:41:48 PM PDT

    •  Cutting taxes doesn't create jobs. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, ferg, Egalitare

      Jobs are created when people are confident in the economy and when the majority of people aren't afraid to spend money.  After what we saw happen to Wall Street, not many people are anxious to spend money or take risks investing in anything.  The biggest joke is when they tell us that cutting taxes increases the amount of money collected in taxes.  Maybe it's not only a joke but also a big fat lie.

    •  With tax rates this low... (0+ / 0-) can question additional tax cuts having any meaningful impact on (presumably) investment decisions made by the holders of capital.

      Including tax cuts in the proposal, however ineffective they may be, do have the effect of mollifying a certain segment of voters who think any mention of tax increases means them, without regard to their particular financial circumstance.

      I don't particularly like it, since it is rhetorically dishonest, but some significant portion of our fellow citizens seem to want to be told fairy tales.

      (sighs heavily)

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  currency exchange reform? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    wow, he's getting serious about this.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:42:12 PM PDT

  •  Sorry for the cynicism, but, well, maybe not. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, Big River Bandido, HeyMikey

    Schumer is speaking up now because Wall Street is getting antsy in their Armani pants because of the games being played with the debt ceiling.  The only other explanation is that the other NewYorker is no longer around to call out the GOP.  The jobs bill will not get through the House, and the TPers there will just point out that the proposed bill is about more spending.  

  •  This is what we are fighting against... (9+ / 0-)

    I just saw Jessica Yellin do her best impression of Mark Halperin/Ed Henry on John King, USA, which she is hosting today.

    She literally asked Gene Sperling and I quote:

       "Part of this has to be politics...I mean it feels like there is political posturing going on right now.  If this is as dire as the White House says it is, and as it seems the capital markets are suggesting, why not just give the Republicans what they want?

        Why not just cave and say, you know what, you want only cuts, fine. To save America, and save the economy, we will give you cuts, we will raise the debt ceiling and we will fight another day on the other issues that matter to Democrats?"

    I sh*t you not...

    Your liberal media ladies and gentlemen...

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:51:08 PM PDT

  •  Where's the budget.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross

    where's the budget? 2+ years and counting. Nothing will be fixed until we fix our own accounting structure.

  •  Corporations are sitting on huge amts. of $$$ (7+ / 0-)

    They're definitely not investing it in creating jobs.  I wouldn't be shocked if we discovered that Republicans and corporate America were doing their best to get total control of the government, and the best way to do that is to make sure that Obama fails in everything he does, especially the economy and jobs.  First they financed the teabaggers, and it worked, and now they're going for total control.

  •  We are headed backwards. (6+ / 0-)

    U.S. Oil consumption dropped in the last 2 months (or so). Unemployment is turning upwards.

    The Republican plan is working.

    Obama will be blamed for the worsening economy if he buys into more Republican austerity and breaks for the rich.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:52:25 PM PDT

  •  Too little, too late (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro, HeyMikey, ferg, wsexson

    A highway bill.  Great, more subsidy for the very industries that are suffocating the planet.  While our railways are pitifully underdeveloped and our power grid a laughable joke.  

    The situation that geniuses like Schumer have gotten us into requires all-new infrastructure, which in turn requires nothing less than spending in Marshall Plan-like dimensions.  

    No timid political party will be able to make the case for what's urgently needed.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:54:33 PM PDT

  •  Exactly right, Senator Schumer. (4+ / 0-)

    This deep recession, which decreased job revenue, did much to expand the deficit. Budget cuts now will lead to layoffs and higher unemployment, with lower revenue, again decreasing the deficit.

    Therefore, we need a jobs program. When unemployment is lower, then we can start cutting the deficit. First things first.

    For relevant sci-fi and fantasy, go to

    by Kimball Cross on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:55:12 PM PDT

  •  A change in tone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro, 4Freedom, Cassandra77, filby

    I welcome this from the Senator and it seems to me that this is part of the larger playbook coming into focus. Hope so anyway.

    •  Too little, too late. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This smells like mere campaign rhetoric. If he meant this, he could've done something about it in 2009 and 2010. With the House in GOP hands, this has zero chance of becoming reality.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:00:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Too late for what? (0+ / 0-)

          Too late to make headlines? No, you can always do that.

          Too late to make legislation? Yeah, it's too late. We needed 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House to do that. And we had a House majority and a shot at 60 Senate votes thru 2010, but not anymore.

          We'll have those things again, someday, but only after the GOP is in power long enough that they can't avoid blame for how badly things are screwed up; and by that time they'll be screwed up even worse than they are now.

          So, too late to put a lot of people back to work in 2010-2022 (not a typo)?

          Yeah, too late for that.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 08:16:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Solution is to keep talking like this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and draw major distinctions between Dems and Repubs...

    actually win the ensuing public debate.

    Once "won", Repubs will have to support some job bills because they lost the jobs debate.  They will begin to take on damage if they obstruct.  This is opposed from them getting a "free lunch" repeatedly for obstruction.  Who would obstruct and take hostages if it actually works?

    But the key is to highlight major differences (none of this we welcome their ideas, blah, blah blah) and try, try, try to actually win the ensuing debate (and yes, this will take time, effort, repetition, and sticking to principles).

    Little late, but go get'em Dems!

  •  How about an industrial plan, Senator? ... (5+ / 0-)

    ...I am all for Democrats making serious job proposals that they know can't get through the current Congress. Such proposals give us something tangible to go into the 2012 election campaigns with. But stop thinking small.

    How about, besides and National Infrastructure Bank (which is a good idea), a National Infrastructure Plan? How about a grand Manhattan Project/Apollo Project (like electrifying the rail system with green energy)? How about a permanent federally funded jobs program?

    Can those get through the House now? Nope. But if you want more votes in 2012, putting forth such proposals NOW could mean these proposals might become reality in 2013. It's not time for suggesting small-potato ideas.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Does anyone truly know how to create jobs? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here we have one guy with his ideas...then there's some other guy with his ideas...then there's this group of people and then there's that group of people.  

    I'm wondering if ANYONE knows what to do to actually get jobs creation happening in our country again...that is, private jobs, not public jobs.

    I also have my own ideas...posted them a kazillion times here on DKos...but, then, they're just my opinion and what the heck do I know?  I personally wonder what the heck ANYONE knows.  

    Truth is, I think the only way we're gonna see a real big change in our economy/jobs is for the country to get so far down in the tank and so far near the bottom that we MUST do something and we can magically come together...dem and repub, conserv and liberal etc.  

    I wonder if we're not in a downward spiral and the people that have their hand on the stick haven't got a clue how to fly the plane.  We can't compare today to anything in the past really.  I see that done not only here but in many professional columnists' presentations and on financial networks and everywhere else.  We're in new territory completely.  And, we don't seem to have a map telling us how to find our way out at this point in time.

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:07:03 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, ban imports. (0+ / 0-)

      Require the things we eat, wear, and drive to be "Made in USA".

      By buying goods with foreign labels we just encourage American corporations to offshore.

      Look for "UnionMade" on the web.

      "Don't dream it, be it" - Brad, Janet and Frank

      by captainlaser on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we ban imports... (0+ / 0-)

        ...others will ban or levy huge tariffs on our exports.

        There's virtually nothing that we make that isn't available from other countries or could be available in short order. Newsflash: Americans don't have some sort of genetic superiority that gives them superhuman abilities to make things others can't.

        True, we do have some large swaths of land that are well suited to agriculture and we are quite efficient at growing food (partially due to giant factory farms with heavy mechanization), so perhaps we could still sell some food products overseas even with a huge tariff but even at recent production levels, only 1.9% of our employed workforce was engaged in agriculture in 2000 without significant export obstructions and I don't see why the number employed would increase per unit of output in the future.

        Other countries will move in to make whatever we are currently exporting since the tariffs will give all the other countries a built in price advantage on the world market.

        As a result, American companies will have little choice but to move all they can offshore so they can export their products to other countries w/o huge tariffs (or even be able to at any price). As some physical products require natural resources that are not available in the US or are not economically feasible to extract, companies that require those will have little choice but to move manufacturing offshore (and presumably Americans just could not buy these products at any price if the natural resource isn't available in the US).

        A trade war with the world won't end well for us, isolationism rarely has in the past.

        I'm not seeing how you think this would end well or improve the employment situation in the US at all. I think you need to use a very sharp scalpel, not a doomsday nuclear weapon to craft trade policy.

  •  Good for Chuck (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Irons33, Tommy Allen, Matt Z

    Mabye too little too late, but I like to hear this coming from the Dems.  Hopefully it's the start of a trend and that they can pound this message through the media.

    They need to do what the Repugs do - repeat, repeat, repeat.  "The last 6 months of cut, cut, cut has clearly failed - let's go back to what was working."  I want to hear that in every interview by every Dem from now until the end of the year.

  •  Devastating 2.4 Trillion Deficit Cutting Goal (0+ / 0-)

    The Agreed Goal totals 2.4 Trillion.  There is also current agreement on 1 Trillion in spending cuts with another Trillion to be hacked on the table.  There is a spat over some 400 billion in "new revenue."  Senator Schumer give me a break.

    This Austerity Plan will blow out any stimulus you could build by diverting Social Security contributions.  That is the only source that team O mentions for funding a stimulus.

    Here is a comparison of team O's plan with the Republican plans out there.  Notice how close they are?  Almost like Romneycare and the ACA.

    These chats from the fighting D's are just a joke when you consider what is already agreed to be carved.


    Social Security Benefits


    Nothing proposed in the way of stimulus does not involve hacking Social Security contributions for funding.  How can that possibly turn out?

  •  Republicans would destroy the economy and trash (0+ / 0-)

    the stock and bond markets in order to make Obama a failure.  And to protect millionaires.

    Let them.

    Screw the debt limit bill.  I hope the economy tanks and every Republican is wiped out in the market.  A social economy will not be built incrementally on this corrupt system.  Once the rich are broken and their companies go under, they can try moving elsewhere and watch people throw them back across the borders as illegal aliens.

    Obama should call their bluff and make it known that he will not crush the poor to feed the wealthy. No paserons!

    "Don't dream it, be it" - Brad, Janet and Frank

    by captainlaser on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 05:57:17 PM PDT

    •  How would you be selective? (0+ / 0-)
      I hope the economy tanks and every Republican is wiped out in the market.
      How are you going to keep the Democrats and the Progressives from being wiped out also?
      •  I, for one, (0+ / 0-)

        don't have a single damned thing to get wiped out.

        Then again, I suppose that the Republicans that "vote against their own interests" don't have much either.

        •  Much of the middle class has... (0+ / 0-)

          ...been saving (admittedly inadequately) in retirement accounts (401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, pension funds [i.e., by proxy], and just investment accounts) and ARE invested in the market.

          I'm not sure how to figure out in a politically palatable way to, for example, determine which portions of GM pension funds, public employee pension funds, and private retirement accounts are owned by "Republicans" and which by "Democrats" (let alone figuring out how to deal with Greens) and trashing just the Republican's interests.

          Fascinating problem. Let me know how that works out.

  •  Cant cut? (0+ / 0-)

    WE cant cut our way to prosperity?  How has the government spending an extra trillion dollars worked out for the economy?  And dont start with the saved this many or that many jobs, its bogus.

    There is no rocket science to growing the economy.  JFK did it, Reagan did it, Clinton did it.....who has the courage to do it again, apparently not our current government leaders...

    There are states that are growing jobs right now, go find out how they are doing it, i bet they arent borrowing and spending their way to prosperity...

  •  About time they put something forward (0+ / 0-)

    Even if it doesn't pass, it's worth making the contrast with the Republican plan to screw over the little person and give more to top 5%.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

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