Reed Richardson had a great catch last week. He wrote, “To be fair, the House GOP’s website also has a whole button solely devoted to its jobs plan, which entices you to click it with a promise of ‘Get all the details here.’ That’s true, if by ‘details’ you mean one sentence each of talking points on 10 empty policy platitudes…” So I decided to take a look.
Energy Independence: An “all of the above” approach that expands American energy production will help create jobs, boost manufacturing, and make energy more affordable.
This isn’t a platitude so much as a disingenuous statement. An “all of the above” approach is not a bad idea. The government should be investing heavily in renewable energy. But that’s not what the GOP is calling for. What they want is reduced regulation and tax incentives that will allow the exploitation of known carbon based energy sources. In addition to the problem with global warming, this approach will not do much to create jobs. As Richardson noted, the State Department has determined that the Keystone XL pipeline will create a total of 35 permanent jobs. That begs us to ask the question, “Why is this pipeline being pushed so hard by conservatives?” The answer is the same as always: there are huge profits to be made by companies that are already sitting on huge piles of cash.
Lowering Health Care Costs & Bolstering Research: Repealing ObamaCare, enacting patient-centered reforms, and eliminating wasteful government spending so we can focus on disease and disorder research will improve care, and bring down the costs that strain families and make it harder for small businesses to hire.
There is absolutely no evidence that Obamacare is causing companies to limit hiring and the greater number of people getting healthcare will increase the number of jobs in that field. Remember, Republicans don’t dislike Obamacare because of the individual mandate; they dislike it because it raised taxes on the rich. The rest of this is just a series of meaningless platitudes, but there is a fair amount of disingenuousness as well. For example, somehow reducing government spending is going to cause a greater research focus on disease. If history is any indication, they mean ever more innovative drugs for erectile dysfunction.
Expanding Education Opportunity: Reforming federal education policies to empower parents with choice and equal opportunity to seek great teachers and schools, and improve access to college and training, will better prepare students for tomorrow’s job market.
By “equal opportunity” they mean give all parents a set amount of money for their child’s education. That way the rich won’t have to pay as much for their private educations and the poor will only be able to afford the worst educations. Equality of opportunity!
Simplifying the Tax Code: A simpler, flatter tax code without all the loopholes will be fairer for everyone, bring jobs home, and help make American innovators and manufacturers more competitive.
This is something I talk about with conservatives a lot. They like the idea of a flat tax and getting rid of loopholes. But they change their tunes when they get a little information. One of those loopholes is a huge one for the middle class: the mortgage interest deduction. A flatter tax code means one where the rich play less. Whenever conservatives talk about “simplifying” the tax code, what they mean is raising your taxes and lowering the taxes of the rich. That’s a given. If they really want a flatter tax code, why don’t they start with the payroll tax? It is highly regressive. But no; they want to flatten the only tax in all of the United States that is reasonably progressive. Also note that when all taxes are taken into account, our system is barely progressive, and as incomes get very high, the system becomes regressive.
Controlling Spending: Stopping wasteful spending, strengthening priorities like Medicare, and replacing the president’s sequester with smarter cuts and reforms that help us balance the budget—just like families do—will help pay down our debt and preserve the American Dream.
This is not a platitude. This is simply a prescription for recession. This is exactly the opposite of a job creation plan. And the statement that we should balance the budget “just like families do” is totally wrong. This is conservative propaganda that the GOP knows is wrong. It’s shameful. (And note “the president’s sequester.” Yeah. That’s what the president wanted. It had nothing to do with the Republican Debt Ceiling threat.)
Fostering Innovation: Keeping the Internet free from government regulation, stopping cyber-attacks while protecting our privacy, and modernizing our laws will help promote technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
Platitudes, platitudes, platitudes! Anytime someone tells you they want to protect you and your privacy (as does Obama all the time regarding the NSA), you know they are lying to you. As for modernizing our laws, that could mean patent reform, which would be a good thing. But I have zero confidence in the GOP actually doing that even if they are suggesting it.
Reforming Immigration & Border Security: Securing our borders, enforcing our laws, and making the process of becoming a legal immigrant fairer and more efficient will help America remain a magnet for the brightest minds and hardest workers.
Here is another supply side approach to the economy. The idea is that by allowing businesses to get lower paid workers from abroad, they will make more money. But what will this lead to? More hiring of lower paid workers from abroad? There is, of course, no mention of a path to citizenship, even though that would improve the economy and reduce the federal debt. Of course, as seen above, the GOP doesn’t care about federal debt, just federal spending.
Reining in Red Tape: Removing artificial government barriers and red tape will preserve and strengthen Americans’ ability to build, grow, and compete with anyone.
This is Republican boilerplate. But it is also exactly the opposite of what we should be doing right now. Businesses are sitting on piles of cash. Now is the perfect time to force them to clean up. It wouldn’t hurt normal business investment and it would create jobs.
Expanding Markets for Manufacturers & Small Businesses: Opening new markets for American-made goods will help lower prices for consumers, create better, higher-paying jobs for workers, and attract new investments in the United States.
I assume this is a plea for more and more supposed free trade agreements. These really don’t do much in terms of creating jobs. What they do do is increase profits so that America’s corporations can have even bigger piles of money to sit on.
Stopping Waste & Fixing Broken Government: Responsible oversight of government operations will help remove obstacles to growth and ensure accountability for taxpayers.
More platitudes. But even more important, this point is exactly the same as “Reining in Red Tape.” And that’s true of most of this list. The GOP can’t manage to come up with any good ideas to promote the economy and job growth. But given that, they can’t even come up with ten independent ideas. It is pathetic when you consider that there are actual free market ideas that they could have included. But they aren’t interested in the free market. They entire raison d’etre is to help those who are already successful keep and expand their wealth.
From all of this, you can see why the Republican Party needs its own media sources. Anyone outside the true believer bubble can easily see that all the Republican rhetoric about freedom and “level playing fields” means nothing when it comes to actual policies.