Jobs bill ironies, histrionics, and lies

A crime scene under investigation.
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The Democrats complain that Republicans have stopped their jobs bill—and what they say is ironic, histrionic, and dishonest.

Jobs bill votes and rhetoric

The so-called American Jobs Act failed of cloture in the US Senate last week. On Thursday night an abridged version of the bill also failed of cloture. But the way that the White House, and Congressional leaders, tried to drum up support for that bill is the real newsworthy process.

The man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama, said that his opponents were ignorant fools, or saboteurs. That’s nothing new. But the things that Vice-President Joe Biden said are new.

He said that without the jobs bill, the rates of the most violent crimes would rise. Those crimes are:

  • Murder.
  • Forcible rape.
  • Robbery.
  • Aggravated assault.

He mentioned rape and murder by name, and the other two by description. He reasoned thus: the American Jobs Act would give federal money to counties and cities to hire public-sector employees. They include police officers, firefighters, and teachers in government schools. (Biden did not mention school principals, vice-principals, superintendents, deputy superintendents, and their armies of secretaries.) Without the American Jobs Act, cities will have fewer police. Fewer police will result in more violent crime.

Biden expanded on this to several Philadelphia police officers (source: Fox News Channel). In answer to the charge that the jobs bill would give only temporary funding for these jobs, he said, in a voice steadily rising to a near-shout:

Let me tell you, it’s not temporary when that 9-1-1 call comes in and a woman’s being raped. If a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape, it’s not temporary to that woman. It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and has a gun being pointed to his head if a cop shows up and he’s not killed. THAT’S NOT TEMPORARY TO THAT STORE OWNER. GIVE ME A BREAK! “Temporary.”

Incredibly, the White House, according to The Washington Times, stands by every word that Biden said.

Fact checking

Vice-President Joe Biden: over the top on the jobs bill

Joseph Biden, Vice-President of the United States. Photo: The White House

The Washington Post, to its credit, broke the story yesterday that Biden has his facts wrong. Columnist Glenn Kessler cites this ABC News quote from Biden:

Let’s look at the facts: in 2008, when Flint[, Michigan] had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it. And God only knows what that number would have been had we not been able to get a little bit of help to you.

The next day, Biden said this:

In Flint, Michigan, they cut their force in half; murder rates have doubled in the last year…Police departments, as I said, in some cases literally cut in half, like Camden, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan. In many cities, the result has been—and it’s not unique—murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up…I said rape was up, three times in Flint. There are the numbers. Go look at the numbers.

Kessler found the numbers and crunched them. His conclusion: the murder rate (as murders per 100,000 inhabitants) did rise, but not to double its former rate. And rape declined from 2009 to 2010.

Kessler went on to make a point that Biden missed: correlation does not imply causation. You can’t blame a rise in crime, if you see it, on having fewer police. (Even Flint’s police chief did not do that.)

Rich irony

The irony of Biden’s claims that the jobs bill is all that can keep enough police on the beat is starkly rich. By tradition, liberal politicians have never been friends of the police. Occasionally, some of their opponents will call for more police to fight crime. Liberals then speak of a police state, and say that one must address the “root causes” of crime. Those “root causes” always have something to do with “income inequality.” That, of course, is a fancy catch phrase for envy.

But now the Vice-President, and the White House, pretend to be friends of the police. But they actually are friends of police unions, not of police forces.

Furthermore: Biden and the rest now pretend to show concern for the targets of crime. They ought never promise a scenario that one sees only on television police dramas. New York’s Finest have not responded faster than 6 minutes and 54 seconds to a crime-in-progress call in the past eleven years. Yet Biden speaks of a future in which no police cruiser would respond any slower than five minutes.

Outrageous histrionics

Republicans called out Biden on his histrionics, according to Fox News. They found Biden outrageous enough for suggesting that violent crime would rise without the jobs bill. Some took Biden’s remarks as a veiled threat, or even a criminal incitement.

But what is even more outrageous is that any government official would actually promise a level of protection that only entertainers portray.

There’s no need to fear; Underdog is here!

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2005 that the police have no duty under the Constitution to protect any given citizen or lawful resident from harm. (Castle Rock v. Gonzales, No. 04-278.) Second Amendment activists know this. See, for example, Richard Stevens’ answer to anyone who simply says, “Call 911”:

Dial 911 and die.

If Biden is really so concerned with the well-being of a potential crime target, he should encourage law-abiding citizens and lawful residents to arm themselves. (A county judge once told county residents to do just that.) The site On the Issues clearly shows that Biden would say the opposite. So now he uses the failure of his own unhelpful suggestions to try to win passage of a public-sector jobs bill. Worse yet, he offers a pipe dream in exchange for passage of that jobs bill, and he knows it’s a pipe dream.

If histrionics, unappreciated irony, and lies are all that can defend the jobs bill, then the Senate acted properly in not passing it. (Not to mention that any such bill coming out of the Senate first, would be unconstitutional, per Article I, Section 7, Clause 1.)

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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