A week or so ago, the Mass. GOP announced that they would soon be introducing new legislation to promote jobs in the state. One of their members, having spent a morning with folks on the unemployment line, hinted that, instead of attending to the needs of employers — the usual focus of the GOP in these matters — this time the GOP would be attending to the needs of workers struggling through the worst recession in a lifetime: “Much of our legislative agenda is driven by lobbyists, but somebody’s got to stand up for people who are jobless….There’s no lobbyists for them.”
If only it were true. The “innovative” jobs package was unveiled on Wednesday, and any workers expecting the innovation to be about them would have been reminded of the line delivered by Bette Midler’s egotistical character in the movie Beaches: “But enough about me, let’s talk about you…what do you think about me?”
Because the new jobs package is yet again about employers. As in:
“Reduce costs for employers.”
“Simplify and eliminate corporate fees and taxes.”
“Streamline and consolidate processes for business.”
And the part about standing up for people who are jobless? Well, the GOP plan includes a highfalutin’ reference to reforming the “unemployment insurance paradigm.” Uh-oh — that means reducing benefits and restricting eligibility.
Any good news for workers? Well, maybe the GOP won’t be using them as props for press attention to promote their plan. According to the press release, workers won’t be the audience for this sales pitch:
In subsequent weeks, members of the Republican Legislative Caucus will travel to local businesses throughout the Bay State to discuss the proposed legislation.