Reid's Jobs Bill Advances

Celebrating the GOP aisle-jumpers that helped prop up Harry Reid’s stature in the Senate, the Washington Post announces that Reid’s jobs bill has advanced past the filibuster stage:

Five Republicans, including new Sen. Scott P. Brown (Mass.), joined 57 Democrats in voting to break a filibuster of the jobs bill, after a suspenseful buildup in which members of both parties wondered whether Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) could cobble together enough support to clear the legislative hurdle.

The bipartisan result marked a breakthrough for Democrats, who have been frustrated since President Obama came to office by their inability to attract much Republican support for their agenda. The vote was also a vindication for Reid, who is grappling with a tough reelection race in Nevada and faced questions in Washington over whether he mishandled the jobs issue.

“I hope this is the beginning of a new day in the Senate,” Reid said after the vote.

New day or not, the bill (which replaced an 85 billion dollar bill that had broad GOP support) has very little chance of doing much to help the unemployment situation. The LA Times highlights the main elements of the bill which include “hiring” tax incentives, an extension of funding for highway programs, an expansion of the “build America” bonds program (to cover “certain school and energy projects”), and an equipment write-off option (as opposed to the standard “depreciation over time” mechanism in your garden variety business tax scheme.

This might sound good on paper, but it is highly unlikely to do much about the nearly 15 million of us that are out of work…unless, of course, we have skills to offer for helping build highways. It is also unlikely to do much about the nearly 20% of us that are under-employed, but as newly-elected Senator Scott Brown explained as he voted in favor of the bill, “This Senate jobs bill is not perfect … but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work.”

We’ll see if “doing a thing badly is better than doing nothing at all” is a good strategy. And, time will tell just how many people will be put back to work on 15 billion dollars, most of which will go towards laying down asphalt and painting pretty white and yellow lines on it.

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