Okay, Congress, then do nothing.
That is Congress’s option to President Obama’s jobs recommendations in his speech to the nation Thursday night.
Of course, that is what Congress has already been doing: nothing. That’s why the vast majority of Americans from both sides of the political aisle steadily use the refrain, “Do Nothing Congress,” when describing our Washington lawmakers.
I thought the President’s speech was — I am searching for the right word here — solid. Solid enough to perhaps entice Congress off its collective rears — and that means Members of Congress from every party imaginable — and pass some sort of legislation that will put some of the unemployed millions of Americans back to work.
This was likely Obama’s finest hour (or half-hour) behind a podium. He attempted as best he could to set aside politics and correctly and courageously issue a call to action to get America back to work.
Well, he did go political at least once when he described Congress as a “political circus.” What an apt description!
I felt watching members from both (it’s not even correct now to say ‘both’ when the Tea Party has made it a three-ring circus) sides that some Republican members actually wanted to give President Obama applause when members of his own Democrat party were doing so.
But, even the Republicans could not sit idly by and crack their knuckles when Obama mentioned that returning U.S. service personnel should not have to “fight for a job when they return home.” No, they shouldn’t.
Obama’s plan hit home for me in several areas. As a former employer, I can remember trying to come up with the money needed to pay excessive payroll taxes (and unemployment taxes). There never seemed to be enough revenue in my small business to meet the demands of the federal and state tax men. I wholeheartedly support reductions in those areas.
I like Obama’s plan to create jobs to improve and rehabilitate America’s infrastructure. It — state and federal highways, city streets, sewer and water systems — are in pathetic shape. Cities and counties — the governments usually required to make these improvements — simply do not have the revenues needed for these renewal projects.
I hate paying taxes as much as anyone, and I am strictly relying on a couple of government transfer payments to fund my existence — Social Security on the federal side and a state government retirement pension on that end.
But, if I am forced to pay another $25 monthly to help put millions of Americans back to work and at the same time help to fund improvements to our crumbling infrastructure, so be it. That is, of course, is if far wealthier Americans also are willing — or, are forced — to pay a larger share of the burden.
The ball is clearly in Congress’ lap after the President’s speech urging them to step up and say “let’s play.” Or, they can do nothing and let us continue to refer to them as, well, You Know Who.
Mac Gordon is a retired reporter who lives near Blakely and writes an occasional opinion column for The Albany Herald.