We Can Think of 535 Ways to Cut Government Spending

by David T. Bruce

House Speaker Boehner tells us that it is “time to focus on the real problem here in Washington and that is spending.” We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Boehner. How we disagree, however, as do a great many Americans, is how spending should be reduced.

education_deathThis sequester will force federal job cuts in the hundreds of thousands, affecting civilians and military alike. Education in America will further erode, as children will be cut from Head Start programs and teachers and aides will lose their jobs. The mentally ill, the disabled and the elderly will also be impacted, as funds for health and food services will be eliminated or reduced. Are these truly the people and services that are a priority in terms of cutting the federal deficit?

Those most affected are those that are already reeling from an economy that has never quite recovered from the Great Recession, except in the eyes (and the coffers) of those who work on Wall Street. Those most affected are those who already have little or nothing, who have been literally dealt a poor hand.

Doug Bandow, a contributor to Forbes.com, illustrated a variety of ways that our government is wasting money:

 “The Department of State used $306,000 to bring European college students to America to learn civic activism” (we need an exchange program for this one).

“Columbia University collected $606,000 for a study of online dating” (perverts).

“The federal government cut a check for $550,000 to underwrite a documentary on the impact of rock and roll on the collapse of communism” (hell, if that worked, I can think of another government at whom we could sling our guitars).

“A federal grant for $765,828 went to [. . .] bring an International House of Pancakes franchise to Washington, D.C.” (this requires no punch line).

Instead of wasting millions of dollars (which quickly adds up to billions) on discretionary and frivolous spending, why don’t you try balancing the budget (we call it penny pinching in the real world) without passing the buck(s) to the rest of us, asking us to pay for your ill-considered spending?

Instead of pointing fingers at one another, ask yourself what good you have done recently for your constituents and for your country that didn’t somehow benefit you. Instead of chiding or punishing the poorest of Americans (by eliminating support programs) who you believe have made poor decisions that have lead them to fiscal ruin, clean up your own act and demand the same from government employees who are sending billions of dollars in improper payments and overpayments out the door.

We cannot be the only ones sick and tired of the endless bickering that occurs on Capitol Hill. The only time our representatives take a break from throwing stones at one another is when they need time to rebuild their forts, preparing for yet another election year. While our elected representatives engage in yet another pissing contest, the working men and women whom they are elected to serve (those fortunate enough to still have jobs, that is), further struggle to make ends meet in the land of the American nightmare that is politics as usual.

Corporate Greed Fuels Resistance to Minimum Wage Hike

by David T. Bruce

Many analysts and columnists are insisting that the economy is getting better. The state of the economy is a relative condition, however, as over 12 million Americans remain unemployed, with long-term unemployed men and women accounting for 38 percent of that number. At any rate, this perceived economic recovery has prompted President Obama to offer up an increase in the federal minimum wage over the next two years.

minwageThe arguments against raising the minimum wage are predictable, as they are consistent. Business owners contend that an increase in the minimum wage would force them to pass that cost on to the consumer. As well, the costs associated with paying employees more would limit the number of employees that they could hire, thereby further impacting the unemployment rate. This may be the case, certainly for small business owners who are trying to earn a living, but for those larger corporations that are doing well, these arguments amount to pure greed.

The current minimum wage of $7.25 amounts to $15,080 a year; this places a family of two below the poverty level. This is recovery? To pay rent in 1960, a person would have to work 71 hours at minimum wage ($1); a person would have to work 109 hours at the current minimum wage, to afford rent. This is recovery?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (unaffectionatly referred to as Obamacare by dissenters) compels business owners employing over 50 people to provide those employees with healthcare benefits. Companies such as Wendy’s (in Omaha, Nebraska), Papa John’s and Walmart are systematically structuring their workforce to avoid providing benefits. This is greed. And the bottom line of the argument against increasing the federal minimum wage is greed.

Business owners regularly raise prices to keep pace with inflation. Local utilities and governments do likewise. When will big businesses and governments realize that at some point, prices will be raised so much that they will lose money? The federal government does understand this, as government employees have historically received a cost-of-living allowance to help offset inflation.

The unemployed and underemployed Americans cannot give what they do not have. At some point, everyone will suffer. There is plenty of evidence to support that an increase in minimum wage would be a good thing, and the numbers demonstrate that big businesses continues to prosper while the middle class deteriorates. Every time you read or hear that the economy is improving, you can bet that Wall Street is doing very well, while the rest of us are worse off than we were yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall Street and Capitol Hill – Co-conspirators in the Death of Education

by David T. Bruce


student-loan-debt-1160848_1280More people than ever are going back to college, irrespective of age. While younger students are still the norm, students in their 20s and 30s as well as older students are headed back to campuses in record numbers.

The aspiration of many parents is that their children go to college, and these numbers suggest that students leaving high school, the military, and the like believe the message that a better education will equate to a better job with better pay. Older adults are doing likewise, seeking to improve their quality of life through education.

This is what our academic and government institutions have been selling us. 

The cost of obtaining this education, however, has created an economic burden for students and our society that will likely increase over time. Furthermore, the hope and the promise that a better future awaits for those who obtain a higher education is becoming nothing more than another disappointment for a working- and lower-middle-class society that wants to have a shot at economic success.

A report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests that the student loan debt in the United States currently exceeds $1 trillion, a number that eclipses America’s credit card balance.

calloutThe data further shows that middle-age students are “the fastest growing group of borrowers.”  This seems to parallel the increase in middle-age adults returning to school to either improve their level of education or to retrain due to job loss.

Whereas determination and a good work ethic were once enough for a person to succeed, a piece of paper purchased from an accredited academic institution is now the only way for a person to have a chance of realizing the American dream that many of our ancestors achieved through hard work and fortitude.

Once an education would almost guarantee success in the upper-middle or upper class of society; now an education is almost mandated to enter into the middle class of society.  The alternative path is the retail industry.

Academic institutions have joined hands with corporate America and the federal government to ensure that this alternative path is the choice of many, whether or not students complete their education.

An Associated Press report cites that 53.6 percent of graduates under the age of 25 with Bachelor’s degrees are without a job or are underemployed.

The majority of American citizens play by the rules in terms of meeting the requirements for employment in their career, but colleges and universities court prospective students, seeking those that fit their preferred demographic, satisfy federal student-body quotas, and most importantly, generate revenue.

Like any big business in America, colleges and universities are now most concerned with making money and staying in business.

Education, at least as far as academic and corporate executives are concerned, is of minimal consequence. As far as our federal government is concerned . . . well, it is an election year, after all. Better to have a student body indebted to you than a student body in debt.

Both President Obama and the expected Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney agree that doubling of student loan interest rates would only increase student debt, without addressing the issue of un- and under-employment.  Romney is quoted as saying that “what young Americans want and need is a new president who will champion lasting and permanent policy changes that both address the rising cost of a college education and get our economy really growing again.”

Neither the President nor Romney have no idea what we want or need.

We don’t need another “champion.” We don’t need a cheerleader who proposes to know what life is like as a lower- or middle-class citizen in America. We need to assemble a group of elected officials who truly care about the education of their citizens, recognizing that it is the working class that ultimately drives the economy and not the practice of massaging numbers on Wall Street.

Our government seems to care only about the corporations (which colleges and universities are quickly becoming a fundamental part of) who fund their campaigns and ensure their ongoing political victories. These corporations want to make money, and they want a working class that will help them make their money.

An education is not necessarily required to stock shelves, wait tables, or sell inventory.  Colleges and universities will take your money, though, building your hopes of a better future, while corporations simultaneously eliminate job possibilities.

The left hand does indeed know what the right hand is doing, and they are choking the life out of America.

American Healthcare Held Hostage

by David T. Bruce

insurance_claim_formNeither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party as a whole gives a damn about the healthcare needs of the citizenry of the United States.  Other nations are criticized for their socialized medical healthcare plans.  England’s National Health Service and Canadian Health Care are two forms of socialized medicine that provide healthcare to all citizens, not just to those that can afford care or afford coverage.  While the systems certainly have their share of flaws and frustrations, the mentality suggests that a government body should logically and morally care for its citizens.

In the United States, many of the elderly cannot afford the privatized healthcare coverage offered to them, let alone can they afford a new heart.  Likewise, American citizens who are born disabled or find themselves disabled are unlikely to have sufficient coverage.  Like the elderly, their income level in general is not enough to afford them access to the level of healthcare required to meet their needs.  Furthermore, the economic instability that still prevails in the United States (regardless of the Wall Street or political spin to the contrary) increases the ranks of the underinsured or uninsured.  Gallup polls point out the state of healthcare in the United States as of 2011, illustrating that over 17 percent of Americans over age 18 do not have health insurance.

The majority of Americans are not asking for handouts; the majority of Americans are not resting on their laurels or sitting on their behinds, avoiding work in order to obtain free medical care.  The majority of Americans are victims of the power struggle that is running rampant in this country between the two major opposing political parties, who use large business companies as their chess pieces of highest rank.  We are merely pawns – very weak and very disposable.  For fear of losing power, our elected officials use their own form of domestic terrorism to make each of us fearful of our neighbors, engendering within each of us the fear that something we have earned will be taken away.

Both the Obama Administration and the Republican Party are missing the point.  Both sides are wrong.  We should not have to force Americans to buy health insurance.  Health insurance should not be for-profit, benefiting health insurance companies more than those receiving benefits.  The relationship between these two entities – the federal government and the health insurance companies – is not difficult to perceive.

The insurance companies lobby on Capitol Hill to benefit from the election of an official who will support the continued financial success of insurance companies.  That is what “for profit” means, and they are indeed very profitable.  These elected officials then seek to mandate that insurance companies benefit from the support for which they have lobbied.  Here we have a conflict of interest.

What should be of interest to all Americans is this: we either care about our citizens or we do not.  England and Canada may not have the best insurance programs, but they do at least give the impression that the wealth of a human being is not attached to their age or ability.  Given the rhetoric spewed from all branches of our federal government and the health insurance companies, the message is that healthcare for all Americans is not a priority.  The message is that if you are too old, too disabled, too poor, or too sick, you are on your own.

Museum of Unnatural History

by David T. Bruce

Festival of art
Grants to patrons granted
Penalty paid with interest
Refuse to play?
Don’t look the other way

Keep a watchful eye for phonies
Facts are rarely represented faithfully
Homogenized canvas
The broadest stroke is used
Statues erected as visions crumble
Readings are rhetorical
Scripted spontaneity

National museum of relics
Carbon copies, misprints
Words of mass destruction
Mementos engraved with dreams of futures past
Symbols now our laurels
We live in yesterday

We preach a fierce morality
While we dance around the truth
The art of diplomacy carves a monument of hypocrisy
Watercolor dreams for our youth
Washed away by pious despots
A country cunningly annihilated

for more of David’s poetry, you can read RAGE, available exclusively on Kindle and free to borrow for Prime members.

If We Don’t Invest in Education, We Pay for Prisons

by David T. Bruce

Image courtesy of the NAACP; please click on the image to sign the NAACP petition to restore education funding
Image courtesy of the NAACP; please click on the image to sign the NAACP petition to restore education funding

Rick Santorum, as have many (if not most or all) Republican presidential candidates and elected officials, has strong opinions regarding the benefits of public education and higher education and the role of the federal government in the preservation and support of these institutions.  In particular, Santorum’s 2005 critique of the public schools in America continues to illustrate how the most economically and politically affluent citizens of this country are grossly ignorant of what it means to be a member of the lower- and middle-class in the United States.

Home schooling may certainly have benefits over a public school education, but a majority of Americans do not have the resources to effectively implement a home-school curriculum.  Public education services the majority, and indeed, public education needs an overhaul.  This does not mean, however, that our federal government should wash its hands of public education, leaving states to their own devices as they would like to do with medical programs.  If our states are truly united, then our education system should be united, a program implemented that provides uniform education to all students, not merely to those who live with families who can afford the very best education.

Santorum argues that the environment in which a uniform education is afforded provides an unrealistic image of “what life is like.”  I am unsure of what frame of reference Mr. Santorum has in regards to public education and “what life is like” for the majority of Americans, but many public schools are those in which various socioeconomic groups are represented, and few of them will ever realize “what life is like” for Santorum.

Over 1.2 million students drop out of school every year, according to research data provided by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.  Of those students, approximately half of them are African-American and Latino students.  This report illustrates what life is like for the 90% of American children who rely on public education, while their government leaders suggest that less intervention by the federal government is mandated.

Mr. Santorum speaks as poorly of higher education in America, citing the perceived rejection of religious faith by students who go into college.  Santorum and all of our state and federal representatives should be more concerned about the growing lack of faith in our leaders, our government, and in the promise that our nation will provide for the general welfare of its citizens.  Our federal government rarely wants to provide for anything or involve themselves in any program that involves spending money on its citizens, and our elected representatives endeavor to convince us that fending for ourselves is for our own good.

Our government seeks to cut federal spending on education, again placing the fiscal burden on individual states and citizens who are already strapped for cash.  The burden to our country can also be measured in collective dollars and cents, as research shows that among other detriments to society, “dropouts from the class of 2007 will cost our nations more than $300 billion dollars in lost wages, lost taxes and lost productivity.”  Money not spent on public schools and education will ultimately be spent on prisons and incarceration.

Our government can find certainly find the money (in excess of $700 billion) to bail out the banking and automobile industries for fear of how the foundation of our country and our economy would be affected by the collapse of those industries, but our government cannot find the money to bail out an industry that is shown to directly impact the success or failure of our nation today and for years to come?

Money does talk, and the actions (or inactions) or our government have demonstrated where our elected officials place their priorities.

Insurance Companies Should Cover Deoderant & Soap – Santorum’s Platform Stinks

by David T. Bruce

z1m1_vaginas_2025_g01
Image source: Pride Source, the publisher of Between the Lines

The latest threat to our individual rights this election year is a Republican presidential candidate presenting itself in the guise of Rick Santorum.  All of the candidates proffered to date have been those that quickly and soundly condemn the Obama administration for promoting a socialist agenda that strips Americans of their right to live without the menace of government intervention in terms of how much money we can make, how heavily (or not) we are taxed, and how we may spend our money (in other words, companies are people too).  These same candidates then offer a legislative laundry list of prohibitions that systematically target every behavior and vice considered being immoral or unethical, making them illegal.

The platform of the Republican Party in general is one that encourages less government involvement in healthcare; Mr. Santorum, however, encourages more government involvement when it is fitting with his belief system, advocating legislation that prohibits the use of contraceptives, that prohibits adultery and sodomy, and that prohibits abortions, even in the event of a rape.  Either you want government to be involved in the health of your citizens or you do not.  If you are involved, you should be so for the greater good and not for a personal rationale.

Oral contraceptives are shown to protect the health of woman, as past and current studies indicate that oral contraceptives can prevent ovarian and breast cancer.  This seems to be a valid, life-saving, cost-cutting, preventive form of medicinal therapy that insurance companies might benefit from in terms of dollars saved in the long run.  Do you seriously believe comparisons can be made between such a medicine and toothpaste and soap?  That is your argument?   The only reason that you can offer to prevent insurance companies from covering contraceptives is because it offends your moral sensibilities.  It is none of your business.

We do not hear you raising your voice against the support of insurance companies that cover the cost of Viagra.  Kenneth J. Smith, MD is quoted as saying that “I see Viagra use more as a health issue and a quality-of-life issue than as a lifestyle issue.”  Is the quality of life issue applicable to men only?  Not only is quality of life a valid concern for men and women, the overall health of women and cancer prevention is of higher concern.  We cannot avoid the issue of unwanted pregnancy either, as this too affects quality of life.

Again, what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is no one’s business – not mine, not yours.  Does this mean that we promote incest, bigamy, or adultery?  Of course not.  Grow up, please.  This is not a high-school debate.  As we reach adulthood, we tend to be intelligent, responsible, and savvy enough to separate the good from the bad, recognizing the murky area that exists in between.  State and federal laws already exist to deter such behavior, and we do not need a puritanical zealot to tell us right from wrong.  The majority of Americans know right from wrong, and we are not your sheep.

Do not impose your moral and religious standards on all Americans.  We share this country; we share this world.  You obviously do not see the world in the same way as others.   Nor do others see the world in the same way as you.  Do not dare to assume that you can command power over the majority simply because you believe that you and a truly small minority enjoy some pious sense of morality that gives you domain over our existence and our right to exist as we see fit.

You talk in jest about mandates for insurance companies.  You want a mandate?  I move that we have a mandate that every person that pretends that they have a gift for leadership in America must spend some time living as a part of the society they deem to represent, so they have a clue to what it is like to have someone that is fortunate to have power and money dictate how their constituents should live their lives within legal parameters.

Mr. Santorum, you are a part of the same elite (please refer to the definition of “elite”) that you condemn President Obama of being a part.  You cannot see beyond your sanctimonious, narrow-minded view of how you think the world should be.  You perceive that your position of power and wealth give you an edge and give you the authority to condemn those of us who do not measure up to your moral convictions.

Good grief.  Who would have thought that the Republican Party could have come up with a presidential candidate that makes Mitt Romney look good?

SOPA – Drafted and Encouraged by the TRUE Pirates

by David T. Bruce

stopsopaeu-800pxFrom the federal establishment that preaches the necessity of less government intervention (or interference, depending on your point of view), American citizens are being asked to support legislation that is said to minimize online piracy.  Provisions are embedded within the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), however, that potentially infringe upon First Amendment rights and shift the responsibility for online piracy from the perpetrators onto Internet administrators.

While Internet Service Providers and web site administrators should (and do) discourage online piracy, holding providers to 100% compliance with anti-piracy laws is unrealistic.  As well, shutting down entire Internet sites in the effort to purge pirated material from specific web pages is akin to penalizing car manufacturers or dealers for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a vehicle.  We do not need more legislation to combat an issue that can be minimized with the tools and laws already at our disposal.  SOPA, masked as an effort to eliminate online piracy, is one that panders more to the entertainment industry than an altruistic sense of justice.

Both the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) flaunt their lofty objective of protecting the First Amendment rights of artists and distributors, this from an organization that offers up a mere 13% of music sales to the recording artist, allowing the record label to keep 63% of the earnings.  The income for actors in general is not stellar either.  Both organizations, however, are headquartered in Washington D.C., spending time and money to gather support for SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) from the Obama and Bush administrations to the tune of over $400,000 this past year and $2 million in 2007, respectively, seeking additional revenue lost perhaps as a result of the shrinking economy and lackluster entertainment products.  As pointed out by Professors Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman, the measure of the loss to the entertainment industry is unsubstantiated.

Piracy will not vanish as a result of tight-fisted legislation that punishes honest Internet users.  Those people inclined to provide and obtain copyrighted materials illegally will continue to do so, driving the industry further underground.  Those of us who oppose SOPA do not support online piracy or copyright theft.  We can, however, oppose legislation that does not directly target the issue at hand, but instead uses a single issue (albeit an important one) as a façade to introduce additional insidious government oversights that bring us ever closer to a future envisioned by George Orwell.  Online pirates will continue to plunder the Internet, while the majority of us find ourselves victims of a government that takes its cues (and money) from the entertainment industry and other large business conglomerates.

From the federal establishment that preaches the necessity of less government intervention (or interference, depending on your point of view), American citizens are being asked to support legislation that is said to minimize online piracy.  Provisions are embedded within the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), however, that potentially infringe upon First Amendment rights and shift the responsibility for online piracy from the perpetrators onto Internet administrators.

While Internet Service Providers and web site administrators should (and do) discourage online piracy, holding providers to 100% compliance with anti-piracy laws is unrealistic.  As well, shutting down entire Internet sites in the effort to purge pirated material from specific web pages is akin to penalizing car manufacturers or dealers for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a vehicle.  We do not need more legislation to combat an issue that can be minimized with the tools and laws already at our disposal.  SOPA, masked as an effort to eliminate online piracy, is one that panders more to the entertainment industry than an altruistic sense of justice.

Both the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) flaunt their lofty objective of protecting the First Amendment rights of artists and distributors, this from an organization that offers up a mere 13% of music sales to the recording artist, allowing the record label to keep 63% of the earnings.  The income for actors in general is not stellar either.  Both organizations, however, are headquartered in Washington D.C., spending time and money to gather support for SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) from the Obama and Bush administrations to the tune of over $400,000 this past year and $2 million in 2007, respectively, seeking additional revenue lost perhaps as a result of the shrinking economy and lackluster entertainment products.  As pointed out by Professors Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman, the measure of the loss to the entertainment industry is unsubstantiated.

Piracy will not vanish as a result of tight-fisted legislation that punishes honest Internet users. Those people inclined to provide and obtain copyrighted materials illegally will continue to do so, driving the industry further underground.  Those of us who oppose SOPA do not support online piracy or copyright theft.  We can, however, oppose legislation that does not directly target the issue at hand, but instead uses a single issue (albeit an important one) as a façade to introduce additional insidious government oversights that bring us ever closer to a future envisioned by George Orwell.  Online pirates will continue to plunder the Internet, while the majority of us find ourselves victims of a government that takes its cues (and money) from the entertainment industry and other large business conglomerates.

Recycling Is Great for Plastic, Not Politicians

by David T. Bruce

1994 - 2011 What's changed? Nothing!
1994 – 2011 What’s changed? Nothing!

The collective consciousness that is the Republican Party is scrambling to select a viable candidate to run against President Obama in the 2012 elections.  With the relentless in-fighting that has laid bare the faults, idiosyncrasies, and past transgressions of each of the Republican presidential candidates, the new frontrunner for the GOP is former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Gingrich’s political resume has already been scrutinized by the general public, the Republican Party, and the global media.  Americans will be regularly reminded of his successes and his failures, as we are asked to recall how he demonstrated bipartisanship when balancing the nation’s budget and how he was ultimately compelled to resign for overt belligerence and infantile behavior.  Mr. Gingrich was fined for unethical behavior, a first for any Speaker of the House.  With the facts known, polls indicate that Mr. Gingrich is still potentially considered as the best choice for our new president.

At least some Republican leaders seem to remember why Mr. Gingrich was obliged to resign, and given the typical longevity of our elected officials, I suspect that many remember.  As voters, we tend to be fickle and forgetful (you can bet that Gingrich is counting on this).  Our representatives tend to be self-interested.  All of these qualities are human traits and are sometimes forgivable.  Such a combination, however, during an election year in which Party platforms promote cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans (as if they did not enjoy enough tax loopholes already) and cutting health care benefits for the poorest Americans, places our nation at rick of further stagnation on economic, academic, and environmental levels.

We talk of change, but all we see is regression.  When the Republican National Committee considers reclaiming a member of their party once shunned, we must question their motivation, if not their sanity.  If we are hoping to look forward as a nation, why are we looking backward?  Are there no fresh candidates that can speak their minds and not the stale rhetoric of the past few decades?  Are there no fresh ideas that offer some suggestion that we live in the 21st century and not the 19th century?  Is the 2012 Republican campaign about beating Obama or the Democratic Party in general, or is it about selecting a candidate that will unite and lead Americans?

Given President Obama’s lack of success in uniting both parties, and given his failure to employ a firmer hand when dealing with Congress, the desire to find new leadership is understandable.  The Democrats could indeed find another candidate, but they want to save face, thus becoming part of the problem as well.  Congress is part of the problem, and Newt Gingrich is representative of why Congress is part of the problem.  He has proven that much.

American voters must give up the mentality that we have to look to the past for answers.  We must give up the notion that our elected officials deserve to be reelected, including the President.  If these men and women are not doing their jobs effectively, we have the right to ask them to step down.  We have the right to elect new leaders.  The challenge for our elected officials is how to keep their jobs.  Our challenge as American voters is to unite ourselves in the endeavor to mold this country into what we want, not what career politicians want.

Recycling is great but the last thing we need to do is recycle old politicians. As a group, we need to get off our asses, educate ourselves, and begin recruiting people to hold office who are capable of putting the country ahead of their own personal agendas.

Unemployment in America Is a CAPITOL Offense

by David T. Bruce

gechartThe same General Electric that is able to navigate enough tax loop holes to enjoy a zero dollar tax burden has also recently awarded American jobs to residents of Beijing, as the American Job Czar/GE CEO, Jeff Immelt, has opted to move the company’s X-ray technology headquarters to China.  The national unemployment rate remains at 9.1% (20 states have an unemployment rate of 9.0% or more), with over 44% of the unemployed measured as those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. While companies nationwide continue to layoff employees, major businesses such as GE look out for their own bottom line by sifting through tax code to avoid paying taxes and sending jobs overseas in the effort to save even more money.

In the effort to create jobs at home, the President has presented yet another jobs bill. A Wall Street Journal report compares two opposing scenarios regarding the possible result of spending $447 billion on this bill, suggesting that President Obama’s job bill will at best create 1.2 millions at the cost of $100,000, at worst $350,000. Of no surprise to anyone, the majority of Senate Democrats favored the bill, while enough Senate Republicans and a couple of Senate Democrats more concerned about their own jobs than the jobs of American citizens blocked the vote on this proposal.

Even as 63% of Americans are said to be in support of the American Jobs Act, Senators and Republicans continue to bicker over whether or not the bill should be passed, and if so, what parts of the bill should be passed and what parts of the bill should be eliminated.  The stalemate continues on Capitol Hill, with American citizens falling victim to the pathetic squabbling of pubescent bureaucrats in three-piece suits.  Democrats blame Republicans.  Republicans blame Obama.  In 2012, Senators and Representatives from across the aisle will blame a newly-elected president.  The rhetoric is the same.  The snowball affect, however, of a government waylaid by posturing and terminal campaigning is a constituency fed up with rising unemployment in tandem with rising food, energy, and health costs.

Admittedly, I do not know the inner-workings of Capitol Hill and the effort required to draft and promote a bill.  I suspect that our elected representatives make this process far more difficult than it needs to be, and I also suspect that they have their own selfish interests (and that of wealthy corporate donors) at heart.  When a bill is drafted to promote jobs, we would hope that this job targets promoting the growth of jobs, without various other frills, wants, or needs tagged onto the bill.  This is what happens, however.

Enough garbage is added to a bill that gives virtually every member of Congress a way to put a wedge into the promotion or passing of the bill. Congress: will you please adopt a “Schoolhouse Rock” method of passing a bill?  Pick a goal, write a plan, and get the job done.  The United States is not your personal Monopoly board, and American citizens are not a stack of Chance or Community Chest cards.  We have as much of a chance of winning at your game as we do of winning the grand prize playing McDonald’s Monopoly.  Americans are obviously losing, and many of us are tired of playing by your rules.

There’s a huge outcry in America about bringing in foreign workers to fill American jobs, but where’s the outcry for companies who outsource jobs to other countries? Corporations who outsource jobs should be heavily penalized for doing so, making the cost benefit of sending jobs overseas an expensive consideration.