The president's vision on Thursday night was bold, his plan specific, his dialog brilliant and directly with the American people. A plan and an address that earned accolades even from fierce critics on the Left like Paul Krugman, got this dickish response from Adam Green of the "Progressive Change Campaign Committee" (although, given their history of race-baiting, they might as well be renamed the Pathetic Concerned Citizens Council):
Tonight, President Obama proposed corporate tax cuts paid for with cuts to Medicare benefits. Forcing Americans to choose between jobs and Medicare is unthinkable, especially for a Democratic president. America needs a massive government investment in jobs – not Medicare benefit cuts, not corporate tax giveaways, and not telling the unemployed to work for big corporations for free.Adam Green is a pathetic liar in the mold of the Right wing. Not that anyone should be surprised. After all, just this July Adam Green's cohort and co-founder for the PCCC, Aaron Swartz, was indicted for wire fraud, computer fraud and data theft. Apparently, you can tell a lot about a man by his friends. Birds of a feather and all.
But I digress. Let's go to the fun part and take apart Green's intellectually challenged, lying rank dickishness, point by point.
Taking a position to hurt workers, weaken government and hurt the economy, all ostensibly "from the Left": I will address Adam's last point first, because chances are most people have no idea what he's talking about when he throws out this piece of horse manure: "telling the unemployed to work for big corporations for free." Of course the president is proposing no such thing. Here's what Green is flipping out about: unemployment insurance reform.
Work Sharing: The concept here is pretty simple but effective. Basically, instead of having layoffs where the taxpayer has to pay for the full unemployment benefits, the government makes a deal with the employer. The deal is that the employer, instead of laying people off, reduces their hours. Unemployment benefits are then paid on those reduced hours (if your job was 40 hours before and went down to 30, you would receive unemployment benefits for the 10 hours of lost wages). No employee is asked to work "for free" or even hours that their employer isn't paying them for. This way, the employee gets to keep working, the employer keeps trained employees, and the taxpayer has a lot less in expenses. Win, win, win.
- The most innovative reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years: As part of an extension of unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds to best support job-seekers, including:
- Work-Sharing: UI for workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs.
- A new “Bridge to Work” program: The plan builds on and improves innovative state programs where those displaced take temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.
- Innovative entrepreneurship and wage insurance programs: States will also be empowered to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses.
By the way, a successful implementation of this concept is one of the main reasons unemployment in Germany survived the world financial crisis quite easily. Apparently, Adam Green is against European style social insurance programs.
And if Green is talking about the "bridge to work" program as "telling the unemployed to work for free", his intellectual brain prowess is even smaller than I thought. Note the word 'voluntary' Adam? Where do most people pursue voluntary work at? Community and non-profit organizations. These organizations are hurting for skilled volunteers given their limited resources, and people who would volunteer and gain important skills otherwise cannot do so because they are spending all of their time looking for a job. What if unemployment benefits were available during the time someone volunteers for a non-profit or performs on-the-job training (again, there is nothing forcing them to be there) and sharpen their skills and not actively sending out resumes?
I mean, Adam Green wouldn't be opposed if unemployment benefits were available when someone takes a class at a local community college, would he? But if someone is trained for an important skills and uses their time to help out a non-profit while still being eligible for unemployment benefits, that's suddenly a bad thing? Sometimes it's hard for thick headed people to get this, but people would only pursue voluntary work if it helped them update their employable skills or learn new ones. And that's not going to happen in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Medicare: The President has not now or ever proposed cuts to Medicare benefits to give tax breaks to corporations. In fact, President Obama has done the exact opposite. I have said this a million times, and it's a proven, conclusive fact. As I explained in my article on the debt ceiling deal, this president has in fact increases Medicare benefits by collapsing the Part D donut hole and providing no-copay preventive care and paying for it by cutting private subsidies to private insurers (i.e. to "Medicare Advantage" providers) under Health Reform - which, I might add, the likes of Green were against. In other words, it's Adam Green and the PCCC that advocated to keep corporate tax breaks and subsidies rather than expanding benefits under Medicare.
When the president addressed Medicare reforms last night, he did so in the context of overall long term debt reduction, not in the context of paying for the jobs bill. Adam Green might be too stupid to know that (or maybe he's just playing dumb), but the rest of us shouldn't be. The Medicare reforms the president is talking about are ideas that make for a more efficient system, overhaul the payment system to focus on care rather than the current pay-per-procedure wasteful system, and reform the copayment system so that the poorest and oldest seniors benefit more while wealthier seniors will pay a little more.
Corporate Tax Giveaways: There simply aren't any in the president's proposal. This is another dastardly lie. Every tax break the president proposed for employers is directly tied to job creation, geared towards small business as well as tied to increasing demand in our economy. The payroll tax break only applies to the first $5 million in payroll (small business), the payroll tax holiday is only for new employees hired or increased wages for existing employees (job creation and demand), and tax credits to hire veterans and the long term unemployed are specifically tied to each new hire (see more detail).
Opposing these types of things is a testament to the screeching noise coming from the self-proclaimed representatives of "the Left." It is perfectly clear that the response from Adam Green was written with no more thought than the response from Michele Bachmann. There was only one goal: to tear down the President just at the time he has successfully taken his jobs case to the American people. In other words, rank dickishness.
UPDATE: Action Items: So if you are itching to do something about this, there are some things you can do.
- The original quote was originally published in TPM-Livewire. Contact them and tell them Green and the PCCC should not be considered a progressive voice. Their website won't load at the time of this writing but you can tweet them @TPM.
- Tweet back to Green and PCCC. @AdamGreen, @boldprogressive (no 's' at the end). Tweet this article and tag on those two at the end. Especially @boldprogressive. When you do that, it shows up on their own twitter feed on the PCCC site!