Jobs, Jobs, Jobs is a bit of a pickle

Brian Beutler reports that Democrats are going to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” in order to woo back voters. The only problem is that the first “jobs” bill, the stimulus package, is popularly considered a bust, even though it’s been very successful at saving and creating jobs.

Democrats didn’t defend the stimulus going in – remember how it almost lost because everyone just assumed it would pass – and they didn’t defend it from withering GOP attacks after it passed until it was too late. Now, the conventional wisdom in the public is that the stimulus bill was a massive pork boondoggle that didn’t create one job, even though it actually created a ton. Of course, it didn’t create enough jobs, but Stiglitz and Krugman warned about that at the time the bill was passed – the bill wasn’t big enough, and even then 40% of it was inexplicably devoted to useless tax cuts.

The question now is, how do Democrats focus on jobs in a way that provides results this year (aka pre the 2010 elections) when to do so means passing a second massive stimulus package – something the Democrats are loath to do, and the public is loath to accept, because Democrats didn’t defend it the first time? Even worse, as Krugman noted the other day, because the first bill was too weak, its effect wasn’t great enough, and people now mistakenly think that stimulus bills don’t work at all.

There’s been a lot of screwing up since day one last January. And every screw up has larger ramifications that come together and cause larger problems later on. The mistakes of the first stimulus package and its aftermath are now impacting our ability to show real jobs growth before November, and thus impacting our electoral prospects as well. It’s all tied together.

UPDATE: One more thought. The first stimulus worked, but Democrats didn’t effectively sell it before, or defend it after, the fact. So they got creamed at the ballot box for not focusing on “jobs,” among other things. What’s to say that a second stimulus/jobs bill won’t suffer the same fate? Doing more of the same is not a recipe for success. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t focus on jobs, it’s that they accepted half a loaf (not nearly a large enough stimulus bill), and refused to defend it after the fact.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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