Many of us have breathed a sigh of relief that Congress hasn’t been foolish enough to pass Barack Obama’s jobs bill. However, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) says Congress’ failure to pass the legislation is an act of rebellion — and that Obama should declare a “state of emergency” and simply give government jobs to 15 million unemployed Americans.
It’s always seemed that logic was purely optional in the Jackson family, and it seems that Jesse Jr. hasn’t turned out any better than his crazy father. The scary part is that the younger Jackson is actually a member of Congress, not just a publicity-seeking gadfly the way his father’s always been.
To make sure you see that his words aren’t being taken out of context, watch the video here. Jackson compares Congress not passing Obama’s jobs legislation to the Confederate states seceding from the Union. Jackson said Obama simply needs to act on his own, in the way he imagines Abraham Lincoln might have in the face of rebellious states. In addition to employing 15 million Americans for five years — at an average salary of $40,000 a year — Jackson says Obama should also unilaterally spend hundreds of billions of dollars more to bail out all cities and states across the country. He says the total cost of the plan would be $804 billion.
“President Obama tends to idealize — and rightfully so — Abraham Lincoln, who looked at states in rebellion and he made a judgment that the government of the United States, while the states are in rebellion, still had an obligation to function. …On several occasions now, we’ve seen … the Congress is in rebellion, determined, as Abraham Lincoln said, to wreck or ruin at all costs. I believe … in the direct hiring of 15 million unemployed Americans at $40,000 a head, some more than $40,000, some less than $40,000 — that’s a $600 billion stimulus. It could be a five-year program. For another $104 billion, we bail out all of the states … for another $100 billion, we bail out all of the cities.”
If you wonder about Jackson’s economic literacy, well, wonder no more. This is the same economic illiterate who earlier this year blamed the iPad for killing thousands of jobs in the United States, which makes nearly as much sense as blaming the advent of CDs for mostly putting vinyl-pressing plants out of business for the past few decades or for blaming the development of automobiles for killing off buggy whip makers. (Of course, Obama himself recently sounded a bit ignorant of economics when he claimed in an interview that one problem with the economy is that businesses are learning to be more efficient. He cited the example of banks’ increasing use of ATMs instead of human tellers as a problem.)
Jackson and people of his ilk care only about one thing. They care about getting the money and power to do what they want to do. They don’t care about legalities. They don’t care about the Constitution, which you’re supposed to care about if you’re a member of Congress and supporting the whole state system. To be fair, there are people on the other side of the aisle who would be just as happy to unilaterally seize power, but that’s the real point: This isn’t an ideological issue. It’s an issue about the kind of power-hungry people who just want their way and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
The coercive state is dangerous to all of us even when it obeys its own rules in how it decides what we have to do. It veers way off the path into serious tyranny when loose cannons such as Jackson become taken seriously. At this point, I see no evidence that anyone is going to take him seriously, but the very fact that a demagogue such as him can be elected to Congress should be all the evidence you need of the kind of results a majoritarian system is going to give us as things get worse in the future.