Saturday, September 15, 2012

Judging by the Jobs

I had an unusual experience on Facebook Friday.

I posted something with which both Republicans and Democrats with whom I associate on Facebook all agreed.

This is what we all agreed upon.
Of course, it's easy to agree on a sign. Now, try to agree on how that performance would be measured.

The debate would surely be hotter than the debate over teacher evaluation methods.

It turns out I'm not the only person to have this thought.

The same day I write this, Carl Gibson posted an article with a similar theme in Reader Supported News.

He says if students and teachers will be measured by standardized tests, so too should elected officials.

Gibson wrote:
According to the standardized test we just drafted, all members of Congress would immediately be ineligible for re-election, as they have held as low as a 9% approval rating in the last year, and job growth has slowed to a trickle largely due to Congress's failure to act on job creation bills, like the American Jobs Act in fall of 2011. And seeing as our Pentagon budget has surpassed $700 billion, which greatly surpasses the money spent by Uncle Sam on environmental protection, education and job training, Congress gets a big fat F in the spending category. 
No doubt the members of Congress would have their own very distinct ideas about how their performance should be measured.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I opened up my e-mail Friday to find two press releases regarding local members of Congress, one from each party, that give some indication of the kind of measures they would most likely prefer be used.


 The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association, today named U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6th Dist.) a Guardian of Small Business for his outstanding voting record on behalf of America’s small-business owners in the 112th Congress.
Jim Gerlach

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised Rep. Gerlach for “standing for small business.” In presenting the group’s coveted Guardian of Small Business Award, Danner said, “Small-business owners pay close attention to how their lawmakers vote on the issues affecting their businesses and employees and stand by those who stand for them.”

“In the 112th Congress, Rep. Gerlach proved that he is willing to stand up and do big things for small business,” said Danner. “Guardian-award winners are genuine small-business champions, consistently voting to promote and protect the right of small-business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses."

In all, NFIB will present Guardian awards to 245 Representatives who voted favorably on key small business issues at least 70 percent of the time during the 112th Congress.


 U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13th Dist, received the Claude Pepper Award this week from the Alliance for Aging Research at their 19th Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Gala.

The Claude Pepper Award is presented to a Democratic congressional leader for their leadership in health care policy on behalf of seniors. The Alliance for Aging Research is a national citizen advocacy organization working to improve the lives of Americans as they grow older by advancing biomedical and behavioral research in aging and health.

“Rep. Schwartz is one of the prime movers in Congress for bipartisan solutions for better healthcare for older Americans.  She provided our audience with a powerful vision of what we might learn from scientific research and delivery to advance healthier aging for the American people,” said Dan Perry, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research.

Excerpt from Rep. Schwartz’s acceptance speech as prepared for delivery:

“Moving America forward means never going backward on America's great promise of health care for our seniors.
Allyson Schwartz gets her award

“I hope that together, we will fight for policies to ensure the health and economic security of our nation’s seniors – now and into the future.

“I commend the Alliance for Aging Research for their leadership on important health care issues and their willingness to take on tough challenges.”

Schwartz has been a champion for seniors in America and has dedicated much of her professional career to improving our health care system for all Americans. 

As a senior member of the House Budget Committee, she has fought back against efforts to end guaranteed benefits for our seniors, and instead has worked to strengthen and protect Medicare and Social Security for current and future seniors. 

One of her signature pieces of legislation is a bipartisan plan to protect seniors’ access to their doctors by repealing and replacing the flawed Medicare physician payment system that has caused uncertainty and instability for patients, providers, and the federal budget for a decade.

Through the Affordable Care Act, Schwartz successfully worked to expand benefits, increase access to primary care providers, reduce prescription drug costs, and provide free preventive care services to seniors.

The Pennsylvania Congresswoman has also been a vocal advocate for the National Institutes of Health, which plays a significant role in promoting and advancing better health for all Americans. Schwartz is committed to harnessing the power of America’s world class scientific community, cutting-edge technologies, and innovative spirit in order to promote our nation’s health.
So what do you think?

Does this sort of stuff equal job creation?

In a perfect world, it should be more specific, and perhaps tied to legislation they write, sponsor or vote on.

But let's face it, I also think, given their previous history, that the likelihood that any members of Congress will agree to live by or be judged by any kind of standard they happily apply to others is about equal to the chance of me being named Pope any time soon.

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