After failing for 2 years to put forth any serious alternatives to the ambitious Democratic agenda they obstruct, Republicans today unveiled “A Pledge to America,” aimed at repairing their image as the Party of “No.”
In their Pledge, Republicans say they plan to cut $100 billion in government spending. But do they identify where these cuts will be made?
During Monday’s Town Hall Discussion on Jobs, President Obama noted,
We’ve already identified $250 billion in cuts on the discretionary side of our budget. We’ve identified $300 billion worth of loopholes in our tax code that are not helping economic growth. If we just did those two things, as I’ve already proposed, that would make a huge difference. We’ve proposed to freeze discretionary spending for three years, to start whittling down some of the debt that I inherited.
Republicans are protecting those loopholes — and yet refusing to say what cuts they would make instead. Big Tea is in an uproar about spending and the deficit, but has no plan of their own. You can understand why Obama is frustrated:
And so the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It’s not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it’s important for you to say, I’m willing to cut veterans’ benefits, or I’m willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I’m willing to see these taxes go up.
Jobs: Republicans vs. Democrats
One thing everyone supposedly agrees on, though, is the need for jobs.
Republicans are fighting are fighting as hard as they can to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent. Their mantra for this is “jobs, jobs, jobs.” They say that raising taxes will cost America jobs.
But history disagrees. President Clinton raised taxes, yet his record of job creation was far, far better — 6 times better — than that of his successor President Bush, whose famous tax cuts are now at issue.
Here is former New York Times tax reporter David Cay Johnston (bestselling author of Free Lunch) last night on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Economic theory says that there should be less job creation when you raise taxes. Well, Bill Clinton had Congress raise taxes in 1993, and 8 years later they were cut and again 10 years later, under President Bush. During Bush’s 8 years, 3 and a half million jobs were created. During Clinton’s years, 6 times as many — 21 million jobs. In fact, during the Clinton years, more jobs were created in those 8 years than in the 20 years of Ronald Reagan and both Bushes in the White House. So, I think you have a tough time making that argument. What matters is what the taxes are spent on.
US budget deficit reduction
Another thing you hear the Tea Party screaming about over and over again is the federal deficit, and the long-tern national debt accumulated through it over the years.
My own Republican Tea Party congressman, Paul Ryan, has branded himself one of the key GOP “Young Guns” by yammering on and on about how we have to privatize Social Security and take whatever other drastic measures may be necessary in order to save our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren from the crushing burden that “Washington” has built for them (much of which, like the Iraq War and the Bush Tax Cuts, he vigorously supported).
Today, on the Marketplace Morning Report, I heard a serious plan put forth which would put us very close to killing the deficit in about 4 or 5 years:
Let all the Bush tax cuts expire.
Simply return to the tax rates of Bill Clinton — which produced more jobs than Reagan and both Bushes combined — and as a bonus we get a balanced budget.
Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner admitted that Republcans made their “fair share” of mistakes during the Bush years. But now, he says, they “get it.”
So: Does the Republican “Pledge to America,” their plan to “restore fiscal sanity,” include a return to any bit of the Clinton path which created so many jobs while also balancing the budget?
They simply pledge to “make the decisions that are necessary,” without saying what on earth that is supposed to mean.
Sorry, but there is absolutely nothing new here. We have been over and over this stuff for years.
We have tried it both ways. One way worked quite well, one way failed in epic fashion, ending in a near total economic collapse.
On November 2nd, the choice is yours.