Why Washington Doesn’t Act to Create Jobs

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes this week, in “Rule by Rentiers,” that all the hoopla in Washington about the U.S. debt is a smokescreen for policies favoring the usual suspects: bankers and their wealthy bondholders. Krugman calls their Washington representatives the Pain Caucus.

Those policies amount to Cuts, Cuts, and More Cuts, and Krugman says they are not just ignoring the plight of the unemployed but are crippling the entire economy.

The Pain Caucus puts up other smokescreens too, Krugman says: interest rates (which are near-zero), inflation, deficit spending, etc., etc. “Members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.”

How did the Pain Caucus come to represent the wealthy elite instead of We the People?

image of moneyKrugman explains: “The process of influence doesn’t have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what’s good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings — hey, they’re rich, they’re smart, and they have great tailors — must be good for the economy as a whole.”

In the minority are members of the Senate and House who have enough integrity to fight for Main Street – to argue against the painful spending cuts in unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs, against privatizing Medicare and Social Security, and for cutting huge subsidies and tax loopholes for global corporations, and for federal programs to create new jobs and offer real foreclosure relief.

These few senators and representatives with integrity do more than just talk, they put their votes where their mouths are. So pay attention to your senator and representatives – not just their talk but especially their votes. You can follow their votes on the Washington Post’s U.S. Congress Votes Database.

And when you vote, remember who was on Main Street’s side, and who voted with the Pain Caucus.


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