A simple choice on jobs

It’s probably safe to assume the latest jobs bill will die in the Senate, today or tomorrow, following the latest in a never-ending series of Republican filibusters. But it’s worth clarifying the nature of the choice facing lawmakers.

On the table is a plan that would save or create hundreds of thousands of jobs through state aid, boosting teachers, police officers, and firefighters. It would be paid for, not through the kind of deficit financing Republicans pushed in the Bush era, but with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires.

It leaves senators in both parties with a choice: create jobs or shield the very wealthy from paying just a little more in taxes.

But Greg Sargent had a clever idea: what would the impact be on the states represented by on-the-fence senators or GOP “moderates” who would, under normal circumstances, consider legislation like this? As Greg discovered, the impact on workers in those states would he very positive, and the impact on wealthy taxpayers would be minimal.

* Nebraska, home to Senator Ben Nelson: The aid proposal would provide $176 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Nebraska taxpayers.

* Montana, home to Senator Jon Tester: The aid proposal would provide over $90 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Montana taxpayers.

* West Virginia, home to Senator Joe Manchin: The aid proposal would provide over $162 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,600 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of West Virginia taxpayers.

* Maine, home to senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins: The aid proposal would provide over $117 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Maine taxpayers.

* Tennessee, home to senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: The aid proposal would provide over $596 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 9,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Tennessee taxpayers.

These pesky details — also known as “pertinent facts” — probably won’t sway any votes. But it’s worth appreciating the fact that opponents of these job-creation proposals have run out of excuses. They can’t complain about the deficit; they can’t complain about the impact on small businesses; they can’t complain (as Snowe did this week) about the administration failing to act with a sense of “urgency” on jobs; they can’t complain about efficacy, since we know exactly what this bill would do if approved.

And as Greg noted, they certainly can’t object on the grounds that the jobs bill is a bad deal for their constituents.

If reality had any meaning at all, this vote would be practically unanimous. Instead, it’s going to fail. If Americans aren’t satisfied with this outcome, they’re going to have to say so.