Op-Ed: Job Cuts for American Workers May Equal Job Cuts for Republican Congress

Posted Oct 24, 2008 by Brad Sylvester
Mounting job cuts are increasing voter displeasure with the current administration. Does this mean a super majority for Congressional Democrats? If so we may see sweeping reforms enacted with the Republican minority powerless to intervene.
US Capitol Building
The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC
Vcelloho. Wikimedia
The economy has been in rough shape lately as many Americans find their home prices falling, their retirement fund values dropping, and now, more and more are finding the companies for which they work dropping their jobs. Today, Chrysler became the latest to announce their plan to cut fully 25% of their salaried and contract workers. Reuters quotes Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli as saying “never before have auto industry sales contracted at such a fast rate.”
Chrysler Job Cuts Add to Many Others
Just one day before, Chrysler closed one US plant entirely and announced that more than 1800 hourly jobs would be cut. These cuts come after another 1000 Chrysler white-collar job were dropped in September. This is just the latest announcement from one of many companies shedding workers and cutting costs. Xerox, Yahoo, Merck, Fidelity, Starwood Hotels, and Goldman Sachs have all announced workforce reductions in recent days.
US Jobs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate
In the week ending on October 18th, 15,000 new unemployment claims were made according to US government statistics. It would be interesting to poll those 15,000 Americans to see how they feel about targeted tax credits that would “spread the wealth” from those earning more than a quarter of a million dollars each year. Especially since that category includes those from the companies that I mentioned who made the decisions to eliminate those jobs.
Incumbent Parties Usually Blamed for Economic Woes
Whoever wins the election this November, it’s clear that the economy is going to get much worse before it gets better. Normally, an economy in bad shape spells bad news for the incumbent party. In this case, although the Democrats have had the Congressional majority for the last two years, it is the Republican White House, and the previously Republican controlled congress, that are bearing the brunt of America’s anger. Consequently, the Democratic Party is expected to gain more seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on November 4th.
How Long Are Barack Obama’s Coattails?
If polls continue to put the presidency out of reach of John McCain, we may see many Republican voters lose their motivation to go to the polls at all on November 4th. If this is the case, Barack Obama may find himself president with a supermajority in the Senate. Sixty votes are needed in the US Senate to end debate on an issue and bring it to a vote without any regard to lingering objections of the minority party. This means that sweeping reform could not be blocked or even effectively slowed by filibuster or other procedural techniques.
Sweeping Reform on Tap as Republicans May be Swept Out of Congress
Sweeping reform is just what many Americans are asking for, especially those being directly hurt by the current economic conditions. As election day draws nearer, more job loss announcements, more big stock market drops, and more indications of a failing economy are lining up against the Republicans. Voters are generally more motivated to get out and vote if they are very angry, and as long as that anger is being directed at President Bush and his party, November 4th could be a very dark night for many Republican candidates across the country.