On Wednesday this week, Robert Reich -- labor secretary under President Clinton -- was a guest on CNN's "Crossfire" for a segment that asked the question "who's blocking good-paying jobs?"
Again, S.E. Cupp was nothing but a huge example of why we can't have nice things.
"Robert, let me start with you," Cupp began, "I think everyone would agree that demand for jobs is greater than the supply right now. We all agree that's a problem. I think where we would disagree is on the solutions."
"You would suggest that we force employers to raise wages, force union participation, raise taxes on the top job creators and force employers to cut off hiring at 50 employees to avoid Obama care mandates. How is that a recipe for job creation?" (*Note that S.E. even wore the signature rightwing "clutch" pearls...)
Naturally, the word "force" jumped out at Reich, "Well, first, S.E., the word "force" I heard at least four times..."
CUPP: "Tell me how it's not."
REICH: "Well, it's not forcing. In other words..."
CUPP: "You want to raise the minimum wage..."
REICH: "Raising the minimum wage, we've been raising the minimum wage in this country since 1935. Raising the minimum wage is good for the country. It puts more money in the pockets of people. Sixty-five percent of Americans want to raise the minimum wage. Most minimum- wage workers these days are not teenagers. They are breadwinners. If you help them, you are helping the economy overall."
"And a lot of employers will benefit from a higher minimum wage. We know empirical studies show that. This is not a matter of government planning. This is a matter of doing what we have done in this country -- in fact, if we had a minimum wage today that was as high as it was in 1968, adjusted for inflation, it would be $10.40 an hour. And if you add in productivity improvements, minimum wage actually would be $15 an hour."
CUPP: "Still forcing employers."
REICH: "It's not forcing anybody."
CUPP: "But we can argue about that!"
Me: Yeah, that'll help create jobs, S.E.
Now that S. E. has been given a few facts that her bobblehead can't process, let alone counter with any facts of her own...it's time for Stephanie Cutter to hand off to the segment's other guest, Tim Pawlenty, the Republican former governor of Minnesota.
CUTTER: "Governor Pawlenty, what's your response to -- to his plan?"
TIM PAWLENTY: "this country, a novel idea. Just out-of-the-box thinking. Ask the people who actually provide the jobs."
Cupp: "Sure, right."
PAWLENTY: "Guess what? There's a consistent answer from those folks about what they want. And they basically say to government, do things to encourage me, not discourage me. Make the load lighter, not heavier. And that includes things like taxation, like energy policy, like health-care policy and more. But they're basically saying don't do things to make my life more difficult, more expensive, more bureaucratic, more inefficient."
CUTTER: "Well, Governor..."
REICH: "Actually, it's..."
CUTTER: "Go ahead."
REICH: "Stephanie, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I just want to say that -- that I'm very proud to be part of an administration that presided over the creation of 22 million net new jobs. That was the Clinton administration."
"And one thing that we heard from businesses again and again and again was "We create jobs when there is enough demand." When consumers have money in their pockets, when you have a growing middle class. That's the issue: how to get money in the hands of the middle class..."
PAWLENTY: "I agree. I think we can agree on that part, Secretary."
REICH: "Well, the question is -- the question is how to do that."
CUTTER: "And, well, here's a question -- here's an answer of how to do that. The president's second-term agenda. And just take a look at some of this. Investing in advanced manufacturing, some of which you talked about today to create those good paying manufacturing jobs that create some of the demand in the economy."
"Reforming education so that kids graduate from high school prepared for the high-tech economy. Raising the minimum wage, which the secretary just talked about."
"And of course, job training. We know that there are jobs out there. We just don't have the skilled workforce to fill them."
"That's the president's economic agenda. There's things left out, like immigration reform. But tell me what is wrong with this economic agenda that Republicans just won't move on it?"
PAWLENTY: "Sure. Well, Stephanie, conceptually, some of those things sound pretty good. Who's against high paying..."
CUTTER: "Who's against it? There's legislative proposals sitting there."
PAWLENTY: "So how you do that -- how you do that is..."
Me: Yeah, stutter, stammer...
The conversation begins to bounce around a bit from here, from S.E. Cupp's "But my problem with the president is I simply don't trust his vision," to Stephanie Cutter wanting to get into "BridgeGate," and you can read the entire transcript here, but I'd like to highlight one more exchange between Robert Reich and S.E. Cupp:
REICH: "I know, but I just want to ask --"
CUPP: "We're almost out of time."
REICH: "I know. But I want to know what the Republican agenda for jobs is. I've asked this."
REICH: "Gingrich, I ask everybody, every Republican, what is your agenda? I can't see it? I can't hear it? Where is it? Is it trickle-down economics again?"
Time for the rightwing bobblehead to completely ignore her guest and...
CUPP: "I have a question and I want to get to it. One industry that is booming is the energy sectors, and specifically mining and oil and gas. Wage growth for that industry has risen 18 percent since 2006. That is twice the national average."
"Now, I know, Mr. Secretary, you probably want a lot of these people working in solar companies instead. But are you going to those people to take a hike, or those companies to pay less? Why wouldn't this booming industry be something that liberals and folks like you are supporting 100 percent, with things like the Keystone Pipeline?"
REICH: "No, no, no. Obviously you don't want to sacrifice the environment. I mean, look what's happening in China. They're having a booming economy, they can't even breathe. I mean, you want to -- you want jobs but you don't want jobs at any cost."
Robert Reich was far too polite during this "discussion." S.E. Cupp's only participation in the segment was tossing out rightwing talking points, and adding distractions from what was the intended topic at hand.
Most impressive was Reich's handling of having the KXL pipeline tossed at him in the last moments of the show.