Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reasons For Skepticism

While the debate over whether America should bomb Syria is taking up a HUGE amount of media space, millions of Americans have at least one other major subject on the list of topics at the top of their minds: Jobs & the economy.

Since this is the first week of September, news of jobs and economic data will be dribbling out until the full official BLS report is released this Friday. Already, economics reporters like Lucia Mutikani of Reuters believe the number of jobs created in August will increase over July's numbers. While initially that seems like great news, as Neil Irwin of Wongblog points out, America's growing success at creating jobs could cause all kinds of other economic worries and unintended consequences, especially on Capitol Hill.

In other words, just as the choice over what to do - if anything - in Syria won't be a simple direct action followed by success, neither is deciding how to speed up America's economic and jobs recovery. Americans are frankly skeptical that their politicians today can solve complex problems like Syria or the economy - and with good reason.

In the case of at least one supposed "job creation" project, Americans - in this case, Nebraskans - are still waiting for the positive outcome that was supposed to come their way, years after the "simple" direct solution was implemented.

The "solution" we're referring to is the first Keystone pipeline, a fact pointed out by multiple newspapers in Nebraska this week. The pipeline company Transcanada sold the Keystone 1 pipeline as a simple, direct solution to the job woes hitting the nation after the economy blew up in 2008. As Nebraska Department of Revenue figures show, that promise of a simple, direct solution never panned out. Those living along the new proposed Keystone XL pipeline route don't expect this round promises of jobs and an improving economy by politicians siding with Transcanada to be any more honest than their earlier promises were.

With a failure like that, of what was supposed to be a simple, direct solution to an economic problem, it's easy to see why Americans in overwhelming numbers are skeptical about the complicated issue of intervening in Syria.

If the Pew Research Center Poll numbers don't convince you that Americans want nothing to do with military action in Syria, the ABC News-Washington Post poll that says 60% of Americans oppose a U.S.-only strike should. For those politicians that need a picture, Steve Benen even drew a handy graph that makes clear: No matter what someone's political affiliation is, most Americans are not interested in getting our nation involved in yet another overseas conflict.

While many in the political media continue to try to count heads for the upcoming votes in both houses of Congress, as stories from both Greg Sargent and Byron York make clear, many members of Congress on either side of the aisle have their own severe skepticism of any plans for American-led military action in Syria. After all, Americans have already waited a dozen years for our service members in Afghanistan to come home, after what was supposed to be a simple, direct, relatively quick military incursion with a relatively minor number of casualties.

The American military won't be out of Afghanistan until at least 2014. 2,266 deaths and 19,200 wounded Americans have now resulted from a simple, direct military action that will end up costing $4-$6 trillion dollars.

With examples like these, any politician or pundit pushing for rapid action on either Keystone or Syria might want to wake up. The reasons for American skepticism are the empty promises right in front of their faces.