For the past month our country has been embroiled in a contentious debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling, a routine congressional function that has been done without controversy dozens of times. The farthest right faction of the Republican Party was determined to hold the nation hostage in their yearning to dismantle the social safety net and protect the wealth of billionaires. While that carnival was in progress, Washington and the press missed something else that holds some importance to the American people and the economy:
Despite the GOP’s promise to focus on jobs when they assumed the majority in the House of Representatives, they have not produced a single jobs bill. In fact, they have endeavored to kill legislation that would create new jobs. Just before they left for recess after passing the debt ceiling bill, they left unresolved a bill to fund the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, over 90,000 workers will be sidelined until congress returns in September. Not to mention, the Treasury will lose $1.2 billion in fees that will go uncollected.
That’s the GOP’s commitment to working families and reducing the deficit. In other words, it’s a hoax. And the media is their accomplice. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that 52% of news stories last week were related to the debt ceiling debate. Notwithstanding the fact that polls show that the American people are more concerned about jobs than debt, the media virtually ignored the issue of job creation and unemployment.
Now that the debt ceiling debate is at least temporarily resolved, it will be interesting to see what issue dominates news coverage next week. Jobs or the Obama’s dining at a fast food restaurant?