This is all they’ve got

by David Safier

Here's part of a televised interview George Stephanopolos held with new RNC Chair Michael Steele:

 STEELE: You’ve got to look at what’s going to create sustainable jobs. What this administration is talking about is making work. It is creating work.
   STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s a job.
   STEELE: No, it’s not a job. A job is something that — that a business owner creates. It’s going to be long term. What he’s creating…
   STEPHANOPOULOS: So a job doesn’t count if it’s a government job?
   (CROSSTALK)
   STEELE: Hold on. No, let me — let me — let me finish. That is a contract. It ends at a certain point, George. You know that. These road projects that we’re talking about have an end point.
   As a small-business owner, I’m looking to grow my business, expand my business. I want to reach further. I want to be international. I want to be national. It’s a whole different perspective on how you create a job versus how you create work. And I’m — either way, the bottom line is…
   STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess I don’t really understand that distinction.
   STEELE: Well, the difference — the distinction is this. If a government — if you’ve got a government contract that is a fixed period of time, it goes away. The work may go away. That’s — there’s no guarantee that that — that there’s going to be more work when you’re done in that job.
   STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but we’ve seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector just in the last year.
   STEELE: But they come — yes, they — and they come back, though, George. That’s the point. When they go — they’ve gone away before, and they come back.

Steele is holding to his position that the government only spends money, it doesn't create jobs. He's using the time-tested Republican strategy: if you say something absolutely ridiculous enough times with enough assurance and never, never back down, it eventually sounds like it makes sense. It's what a friend refers to as the "strong and wrong" strategy.

I don't write much about national news, but this sounds so much like our Arizona Republicans' logic drivel that I had to spotlight it. I would love to hear some of our state Rs comment on Steele's strange distinction between people being employed by government and jobs.

8 responses to “This is all they’ve got

  1. I just want to know something here.

    According to economist Ravi Barta, tax cuts to the middle class will not be spent on the economy, but only paying down their debt.

    Now if, according to Barta, you give them a job, they’ll be able to pay for the necessities.

    I’m for the stimulus just because it will stop the ship on the direction of the iceberg. I wonder why the republicans are against this stimulus when it will actually help the economy and start providing a step of help to the middle class?

  2. Steele’s position is simple. He does not want our government to mortgage our children’s future with jobs that will just be a short term band-aid fix. He wants the government to promote long term employment that will grow our economy not spend BILLIONS of the taxpayers money on pork barrel, special interest spending that has absolutely no long term effect but put money in the pockets of special interest. Steele wants to see the “CHANGE” that Obama campaigned on but couldn’t define or deliver.

  3. By the way, everyone serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is a “public” employee. Let Michael Steele tell them that they do not have a “real” job.

  4. I understand what Mr. Steele is trying to communicate.

    However, to the unemployed construction worker who needs to money to feed his/her family, the distinction matters little. Also, by the end of the government contract, part of this money will have been transformed (“moved”) into bridges, roads, etc.–which are societal assets (“wealth”). Decent infrastructure is the “support” needed for economic development.

    Also, if one wants to view wealth creation quite narrowly, one could say that there are a lot of private sector jobs that don’t create wealth–accountants, lawyers, bankers, real estate agents, retailers, wholesalers, transporters–but these professions are the support/support services usually needed to create wealth. Under a narrow definition, the creators of wealth are the entrepreneurs who directly fund businesses that create/produce goods/end services, the inventors/engineers/scientists/artist who conceive the good/end service–and the farmers, miners, factory workers, doctors, nurses, artist, hair dresser, carpenter, electricians, bakers, etc. who actually make the good or provide the end service.

    President Obama is not indicating that the stimulus plan is any kind of silver bullet. Part of the goal is to at least take the edge off of what is likely to be a very bad recession. These waters are quite uncharted.

  5. Is it possible that Michael Steele believes what he says? Calling his position ridiculous doesn’t explain to anybody what is wrong with his reasoning. If he is wrong can’t you explain what is wrong with his reasoning?

    In short, it does seem that Mr. Steele says that government jobs don’t count as a job. Modern day liberals may disagree with his position but it is one that I can understand the angle he is asserting.

    I think that there are those that think that government work counts as a job and there are those that say that government work in the end is just moving money around but doesn’t create wealth.

    I’m going to again assert that impugning your opponents through disparagement isn’t going to help your position. Those people who are looking for an answer and insight on the issue being discussed want to be educated and not told that the Republicans are wrong without hearing an explanation of WHY the Republicans are wrong.

  6. At least he didn’t quit!

  7. i almost threw my shoe at the tv on sunday when he said that – i could understand if he was trying to make a distinction between a job and a career, wtf? he’s insane – i think george thought he was too. and what’s up with george will and his incessant ranting about the capital gains tax?

  8. It must come as a surprise to the millions of employees “working” in the public sector as a municipal, county, state or federal employee that they do not have a “job” but a “contract” for a definite duration of time. It’s a wonder how any of them can put in 20+ years and retire on a “government” pension.

    What jobs did 8 years of Bush Republican tax cuts create that are still around today? None. Their jobs “went away,” and there is no guarantee that they are ever coming back, any more than the millions of jobs private sector employers outsourced to foreign subsidiaries over the past 35 years that are never coming back.

    Michael Steele is a complete idiot.