Oklahoma could get a $1.2 billion boost from President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, which would help the economy here, but don’t count on much support from the state’s Congressional delegation.
On Friday, U.S. Senate Democrats released a state analysis of the $447 billion American Jobs Acts. One noteworthy part of the analysis shows Oklahoma will receive $489 million for road and transit projects as part of the overall $1.2 billion. The state has a critical need for road improvements.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in July was 5.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is much better than most of the nation, but it could be lower. The national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, an extremely high rate that prompted the president’s proposal.
Republican leaders, including House Majority Lead Eric Cantor, didn’t immediately dismiss the president’s plan, but U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe issued a blistering, political attack against Obama after Thursday night’s speech.
Here’s a sampling of that attack:
It has been said that the lowest form of learning is trial and error. Unfortunately this President just doesn’t learn. He pushed his failed $800 billion so-called stimulus package that failed to stimulate. Since then, we’ve lost nearly 2 million jobs and our unemployment is over 9 percent. Now he’s offering more of the same and expecting different results.
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s statement was more conciliatory, but it simply renewed the Republican call to “fix” entitlement programs through cuts. It also included this:
However, singling out and ridiculing tax breaks for oil companies while touting tax credits for renewable energy doesn’t move us any closer to the kind of fundamental tax reform we need to stimulate real economic growth and job creation.
The de facto public relations arm of Inhofe and Coburn, the editorial page of The Oklahoman, weighed in like this on the jobs plan:
If we see a repeat of the health care bullying from the administration, voters will know he isn’t serious about working together for the greater good. They’ll know instead, as they do now, that Obama is much more concerned with keeping his own job than he is with creating thousands of new ones for the rest of us.
It’s absurd for The Oklahoman to accuse the president of “bullying” in the face of the petulant, Republican obstinacy when it came to raising the nation’s debt ceiling recently. The editorial writers at The Oklahoman are the real bullies, using a monopoly business to present only one, narrow-minded worldview. Will the newspaper ever offer consistent, dissenting views to its extremist, right-wing opinions?
The bottom line is that Oklahoma will benefit from the president’s jobs plan. State leaders, including Gov. Mary Fallin, should welcome the new money and urge Congress to pass the president’s proposal, parts of which have had bipartisan support in the past.