Last month I wrote on what the GOP promised Americans on job creation if they won back the House and Senate. They did win the House but failed to gain enough seats for a Senate majority. So what have they actually produced since their four-item promise last November?
If you haven’t seen the Republican plan for creating jobs in this country since the new Congress convened in January, don’t feel alone. Even those who have read their proposals laid out in The House Republicans Plan For America’s Job Creator’s are still unsure of how exactly it will stimulate job growth in the private sector.
The House offering was put out last month after feeling the pressure from constituents back home to address more than just a budget deficit that congressional Republicans helped create over the years. What they gave voters was an over simplistic outline that is both vague and shallow in its concept. It a full 10 pages long but has information on only about 50% of those pages.
Two pages are filled with illustrations and only three pages have written material from top to bottom. The remaining five pages have illustrations and very large, bold heading type that covers about half the pages. Now, we all know how the GOP likes to lambast bills that are thousands of pages long and written in legalese that most of us fall asleep trying to decipher. But just a little detail would go along way on such important issues as job creation, health care costs and the environment. You’re not going to find that in this GOP plan and what you do get will generate a “WTF!?” response.
Be prepared for the GOP to accept zero accountability for the economic hard times many of us are facing today as witnessed by their opening statement.
“Free markets, free enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship are the foundation for economic growth and job creation in America. For the past four years, Democrats in Washington have enacted policies that undermine these basic concepts which have historically placed America at the forefront of the global marketplace. As a result, most Americans know someone who has recently lost a job, and small businesses and entrepreneurs lack the confidence needed to invest in our economy. Not since the Great Depression has our nation’s unemployment rate been this high this long.”
Though the ire and anger of many people towards our economic plight became more visible shortly before and immediately after George Bush left office and the GOP still controlled the Senate, the conditions that led up to a financial collapse by greedy, unregulated banking and investment capitalists were well entrenched years before. To many, the housing bubble that had been fostered by the creation of toxic mortgages from predatory lending practices of these financial institutions were red-flagged by observant market watchers.
When Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, many hoped that he would govern competently from the center. More pessimistic critics consoled themselves by questioning how much harm a president can do in a few years. We now know the answer: a great deal.
At the root of America’s economic problems are measures adopted early in Bush’s first term. In particular, the administration pushed through a tax cut that largely failed to stimulate the economy, because it was designed to benefit mainly the wealthiest taxpayers. The burden of stimulation was placed on the Fed, which lowered interest rates to unprecedented levels. While cheap money had little impact on business investment, it fueled a real estate bubble, which is now bursting, jeopardizing households that borrowed against rising home values to sustain consumption. … [H]igher interest rates and falling house prices do not bode well for the American economy. Indeed, according to some estimates, roughly 80% of the increase in employment and almost two-thirds of the increase in GDP in recent years stemmed directly or indirectly from real estate. – SOURCE
The GOP plan engages in hyperbole when it exclaims that “More taxation, regulation, and litigation will not create more jobs. Government takeovers of the economy have failed while the size and the scope of the federal government has exploded.” I can only guess that they are hoping that their constituents are watching and listening to misinformation programs such as Glenn Beck, FOX broadcasting network and red-state websites rather than objective criteria available to them.
To anyone who has paid close attention to the political reality you might find the claim of being Taxed Enough Already by Tea Party zealots as ludicrous. In an earlier report I have pointed out that tax rates today are lower than they’ve been in 50 years. Regulations have been more lax than even under Ronald Reagan and because there were efforts to restrict attempts to regulate derivatives, those financial products that led to our economic woes, it is hard to create a carte blanche view that regulations are evil in of themselves.
As for government takeovers, the only one anyone can point to was the auto industry bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Though most of us can agree that the free market principles would have allowed their demise, it wasn’t clear to us then that such a loss in jobs would have made recovery of any kind tougher and harder to recoup. The decision made by both George Bush and Barack Obama to save these two auto giants not only proved to be a wise decision since they have essentially pulled themselves out of bankruptcy, but kept the American auto industry competitive in the global market.
As one peruses the comments in the GOP “Job Creation” plan two things are obvious. Those items listed as PROBLEMS are not the result of actions taken since Obama and the Democrats took control of the White House and the Congress. Many of them were in place in several administrations and congresses before now. For some of the problems to continue to exist even now is indicative of an ineffective GOP-controlled Congress and White House for nearly eight years under George Bush. Secondly, some of their solutions are extremely vague and where there ARE details they run parallel to what the Obama administration is already attempting with it’s policies laid out in the American Recovery Act passed in 2009.
This is apparent in the GOP’s plan under section entitled “Increase Competitiveness for American Manufacturers”. Here they concede that even Obama is in agreement with the idea to create more exports through more trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. “The independent International Trade Commission has estimated that implementation of the three pending free trade agreements would increase U.S. exports by more than $10 billion — an increase that according to the Obama Administration, would create over 250,000 jobs.
We should all have a problem with their view that America’s global competitiveness is hampered by the world’s largest business tax rate of 35%. In reporting on low tax rates as mentioned above, it is clear that not only do businesses not pay anything near this rate, with the aid of congressional legislation and tax loopholes, many businesses not only pay NO taxes, but get refunds worth millions of dollars. Their cure to reduce the business tax rate to 25% would have some credibility if they would have but mentioned that they would also eliminate the subsidies and loop holes that are currently in place for most profitable businesses. That thought is expressed nowhere in this plan.
But as you read this plan and match it with current actions, you get the idea that the GOP is really not all that serious about fulfilling their plan to create jobs. One of the more sillier “job creation” items on their plan is to “modernize and improve the patent system to discourage frivolous lawsuits, expedite reviews, and provide better protection for job creating entrepreneurs. Streamlining the system will make it easier for existing businesses to grow and allow more start-up companies to flourish.” Nobody has offered an estimate on how many new jobs this will create.
The “America Invents Act” (HR 1249) to address patent issues and thus “create jobs” was passed in the House last week but according to some in business “it is business as usual in Congress” according to Steven F. Borsand, Executive Vice President Intellectual Property for Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT). HR 1249 “will not improve our patent system; rather, … it favors … big banks and other special interests. Contrary to claims of supporters, this bill will stifle innovation, kill jobs, and further backlog the patent office”, says Mr. Borsand.
The bill passed in the House by a considerable majority with 117 voting against it. Fifty two Democrats, mostly members of the Progressive Caucus voted no on this bill with sixty-five Republicans, mostly those who affiliate themselves with the Tea Party, like Ron Paul and Michelle Bachman. According to information from Congress.org’s mega-vote e-mail alert, “The Senate passed its version of the bill in March 2011. Negotiators will likely meet this summer to work out a compromise bill. The administration has expressed support for the House bill.”
Of all the things that will generate real job growth the only act that Republicans can pass with above average bipartisan support is something that no one can approximate job growth numbers for and is suspected of favoring some of those financial institutions who may have benefitted from taxpayer bailouts back in late 2008 and early 2009.
Should I be prepared to buffer myself against the outrage we heard back in 2009 when many accused the Obama administration and Democratic majorities of becoming disconnected with the American public? We will see come November, 2012.