RNC chair: Only real jobs are those business creates
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Sunday February 8, 2009

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Most state governors, including many Republicans, are strongly behind a stimulus bill that will fund government projects to put large number of people back to work and get the economy moving again.

"It comes at a time when we need it," Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, recently stated. "People need jobs. It's about jobs, jobs, jobs."

However, newly-elected Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele believes that government-funded jobs don't count as real employment because "a job is something that a business owner creates."

"What this administration is talking about is 'making work.' ... It's not a job," Steele explained during a Sunday appearance on ABC's This Week. "It ends at a certain point. ... These road projects that we're talking about have an endpoint. ... There's no guarantee that there's going to be more work when you're done that job."

ABC host George Stephanopoulos objected, "We've seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector, just in the last year."

"They come back though," Steele insisted. "That's the point. They've gone away before and they've come back. And the point is, the small business owners take the risks. They're the ones that are out there in the morning putting the second mortgage on the house ... so that they can employ your kids."

Describing the present once-in-a-generation economic crisis as merely "the downside" of a recent period of economic expansion, Steele told Stephanopoulos that all we really need is "tax credits and relief for small-business owners, incentives for people to get back into the credit markets, to deal with the mark-to-market rules that have stymied the banks and deal with the housing crisis."

The idea that the government should focus its efforts on creating "permanent" jobs has recently taken hold among conservative editorial-writers as well as Republican spokespersons. For example, the Kalamazoo Gazette recently wrote, "The smartest way to invest our tax dollars is in initiatives that create and grow jobs for our citizens. Permanent jobs. Jobs that support families. Jobs for the future. ... If the benefits provided don't directly affect job creation or economic growth, we say they shouldn't be included."

As Newsweek argues, however -- responding to comments by Steele, among others -- "Borrowing and spending are pretty much how the government has pulled itself out of every modern recession. ... In a period when Americans are losing jobs at a furious clip, when the economy is shrinking rapidly, when monetary policy is near exhaustion, and when tax cuts aren't likely to work as they do in ordinary times, the highest priority is simply to stop the downward spiral."

A full transcript is available here.

This video is from ABC's This Week, broadcast Feb 8, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com