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Cognitive dissonance leaning right
by Joshua H. Silavent
Sep 06, 2011 | 495 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jobs, jobs, jobs. With 14 million Americans unemployed, it appears the 2012 presidential election will hinge on getting people back to work.

President Barack Obama and Republican challengers like Mitt Romney will be unveiling plans to create jobs and cut into the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate this month.

But the truth is there is little a president, a political party or the whole of Congress can do to create jobs. And even less when it comes to growing the private sector.

Yet for all the posturing on both sides of the political aisle, the fact that Republicans claim to know how to create jobs is both disingenuous and downright hypocritical.

Since Obama took office in January 2009, Republicans have decried the growing size of the federal government.

Conservatives say there is too much regulation of the private sector, though the economic fallout of 2008 happened precisely because there wasn’t enough oversight of the financial markets. And the Wall Street reform bill won’t do anything to change that.

Conservatives also are fond of defining what they believe to be the true role and responsibility of government – namely, to fight wars, enforce the rule of law and then stay the hell out of the way.

Education, welfare programs and even disaster relief are outside the purview of Washington, some conservatives say.

Moreover, the Republican love for the U.S. Constitution is entirely conditional on the premise that the First Amendment doesn’t create a wall separating church and state, and that the 14th Amendment should indeed be amended.

Yes, the conservative mantra that government is not the answer but the problem only applies when it suits the Republican agenda. It also smacks of nihilism.

For instance, when it comes to jobs, Republicans now magically believe the federal government is the answer and Obama isn’t providing it.

Meanwhile, the private sector bears no blame, even while corporate profits soar – they increased $57.3 billion in the second quarter after a $19 billion rise in the first three months of 2011.

But that money isn’t being spent on investment or new hiring. No, it’s just being sat on.

We also hear a lot about the ‘redistributionist’ policies of the Democrats and how their tax and spend nature is killing job growth.

But conservatives never talk about the fact that wages for the middle class have remained stagnant for more than two decades while income inequality grows to record levels.

The 2010 Census reports that the gap between the rich and poor is at its widest margin ever. The top 20 percent of earners, who make $100,000 or more annually, took in nearly 50 percent of all income in the country last year.

But Republicans are going to save the working class by creating jobs in the private sector. Or so they say.

And if they do, I’ll be the first to issue a mea culpa. But I’m betting the cognitive dissonance continues in much the same way. After all, it is this trait that allows conservatives to look upon the world and dismiss the science of evolution and climate change. And also hate homosexuals while loving thy neighbor.

I know, I know. Not all conservatives are this way. Republican moderates do exist. Presidential contender Jon Huntsman proved it so when he came out in support of evolution, climate change and even civil unions for gays and lesbians.

But Huntsman is polling the lowest of any Republican hopeful. And he’s also got a jobs plan.

So what does that tell you?

I’ll see you around.

Joshua Silavent is a reporter at the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at
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