Yesterday when I saw the movie Made in Dagenham, I decided it was time to do the post.
"Jobs" has replaced 'terror' as the ultimate political reason for or against anything. Today politicians use the word "jobs" to justify almost any proposal. But it's important to demand of politicians:
- "Excuse me, but could you tell me the specific number of jobs in question?"
- "Could you please outline the evidence that shows how many jobs will be gained (or lost)"?
Here are a few examples starting with probably the most bizarre - US House Bill 2 that just passed the House:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act''.
Obama mentions jobs every time he can:
"We will be increasing U.S. exports to China by more than $45 billion, and China's investments in America by several billion dollars. Most important, these deals will support some 235,000 American jobs," said Obama. [VOA]Alaska Governor Sean Parnell made jobs the key reason the state should cut oil taxes:
Gov. Sean Parnell said Thursday that the issue of whether to cut oil taxes comes down to a simple question: How important are new jobs to legislators?
Parnell has proposed changing the way Alaska calculates its oil production tax as a way to boost industry investment, create jobs and get more oil flowing through the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline.
And a couple days later, Parnell used the word "jobs" 17 times in his State of the State address. To put this in context, here are the frequencies of some other words (and close variants such as economy, economics, economically, etc.) in the speech:
|harvest (timber, fish, salmon)||3|
Note: These are just some of the key
words that seemed to be used frequently.
words that seemed to be used frequently.
Parnell has submitted legislation to change how we tax oil companies to stimulate the economy and increase the number of jobs.
"We can, quote, 'lose' $5 billion in state revenue with tax changes and create more jobs for Alaskans, and Alaska's savings account could still grow, depending upon the assumptions used," Parnell said. (The News Tribune)From the fiscal notes to the Governor's bill (SB 49)
Using the Fall 2010 forecast assumptions, this provision is expected to result in revenue impacts as follows:
- FY 2013: -$ 382 million
- FY 2014: -$ 961 million
- FY 2015: -$1,126 million
- FY 2016: -$1,341 million
- FY 2017: -$1,423 million
Note the minus signs before the dollar signs. He's saying, "Let's cut their taxes (our revenue) by $5 billion in five years and see how many jobs they'll add to the economy."
"Excuse me Governor, could you tell me the specific number of jobs that will be gained?"
Because if it isn't 30,000 jobs a year, I'm not too interested.
Because that average of $1 billion a year could create 30,000 jobs at $33,000 a pop. Why gamble on what the oil companies might do? That would give jobs to each of the
"estimated 29,300 Alaskan workers [who] were without jobs but looking." (ADN)
And, as the governor said in his speech, we have $8 billion in reserves. And we have $33 billion in the Alaska Permanent Fund. We can take this risk. Most of the other states are in the red. If we started to tap 5% of the Permanent Fund for the state budget - that was the original intent of the fund - say in 2018, that would go a long way to paying our bills. Or we could reduce the tax sometime in the future if someone can demonstrate with more certainty than the Governor has offered it would stimulate the economy more than we'd lose in revenue.
My feeling is that like the Ford threat to pull out of England, the job promise the Governor offers in exchange for the oil tax revenue is an empty promise that will simply benefit the oil companies and do Alaska token benefit at best.
Would you give away large amounts of your income on the vague promise of better times to come in the future, with no backup evidence, let alone a signed contract? Of course not. Neither should we.
One last note. Labor unions missed a great opportunity to educate their members and the public by not promoting Made in Dagenham. It shows what united workers can do, but it also shows the tensions that arise when there's a strike. And it shows the important contributions unions have made to equal rights, though the union itself doesn't come off unscathed either. It's playing at the Totem for $3.