Letters and Editorials

“Jobs, jobs, jobs” was the mantra that helped sweep the Republicans into control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. We all agree that more jobs are needed and that we need to keep people in good-paying jobs they already have.

President Obama has laid out a jobs bill that will do just that — create and save as many as 20,000 jobs here in Wisconsin. This jobs bill will not add to the deficit, as it is paid for with added revenue raised by eliminating tax loopholes for corporate jets and other loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. At the same time, there are new tax breaks for corporations that hire new workers or increase wages.

In Wisconsin, some 110,000 businesses would receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act. That is precisely what this economy needs: more money available for the middle class that drives the growth of this country.

I want my country to succeed, regardless of who controls Congress or the White House. I hope that the Republican Party will put the American people first by supporting this reasonable plan to create jobs and to grow our economy. I am disturbed by the flippant way Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, when asked about the provisions that would help to rehabilitate schools and homes, said “I don’t believe members are going to be interested in pursuing that.” Just saying no is no way to run a country. We should expect and demand more from our elected officials.

Politicians are elected to serve the people of this great country, not to strategize about how to win the next election. Unfortunately, the stated number-one priority of the Republican Party is to unseat President Obama in 2012. What about serving the American people?

If the jobs bill passes, the state of Wisconsin will see about $1.5 billion dollars for improving transportation, education and neighborhoods. Our infrastructure is in need of repair throughout the country, and this bill will make possible much of the repair to keep our roads and rails safe by fixing bridges and providing funds for other construction projects. Good-paying construction jobs held by our great Wisconsin workforce will increase as a result of this bill. Good-paying jobs mean people have more money to spend in the local economy, and that is what generates growth.

Now, before someone starts complaining about taxing “job creators,” I would like to point out corporations and the wealthy have not been creating many jobs. Their tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in more than 50 years. Many have seen record profits despite the poor economy, and they need to pay their fair share. They benefit greatly from the use of our infrastructure and the labor of our skilled workers. Many working folks have been told that shared sacrifice is needed, and they have given dearly.

It is time for the wealthy and the corporations to share in the cost of kickstarting our economy. Just giving more money to those at the top does not stimulate economic growth; we’ve used that model for 30 years and it doesn’t work. Let’s get the economy going by working together for a change.

Jeff Johnson is chairman of the Marathon County Democratic Party.