I haven’t had time to take a careful look at the “jobs” plan Roy Blunt unveiled yesterday. At a cursory glance, it seems like the same recipe that cost us 9 million jobs in the worst recession since the 1930s: gut regulation, cut taxes for the wealthy, roll back health care reform and let costs escalate, etc. Par for the course.
This lack of substance is, of course no surprise to those of us who have followed Blunt’s career as a corporate toady doing latrine duty in the Senate – take, for instance, the total lack of product, other than conservative platitudes, that emanated from the Republican Healthcare Solutions Group that Blunt chaired.
Think Progress‘ Pat Garafalo offers some initial insights into the lack of there there that tend to confirm my initial impression. Garofalo faults Blunt’s plan for the predictable emphasis on “fearmongering about the deficit,” and argues that Blunt’s desire to rescind the unspent stimulus funds would amount to a tax on the middle class. More interestingly, Garofalo notes that in spite of all the deficit rhetoric, one of the few substantive proposals involves extending an expensive stimulus benefit for the real estate industry. Should we believe that it is just a coincidence that real estate is one of Blunt’s ten largest donor groups when his receipts are broken down by industry, having gifted him with more than $150,000 during the 2009-2010 election cycle?
But, you ask, ever ready to extend the benefit of the doubt, the important question is whether or not this benefit will actually create jobs? According Garofalo:
… the home buyer’s tax credit was enacted as part of the stimulus and then extended a couple of times, and by all accounts it was a complete and total boondoggle, costing taxpayers billions to subsidize activity that was going to happen anyway. Even the credit’s staunchest supporters have said that its “sunsetting is an incentive to drive people to the marketplace” and poo-pooed the notion of extending it forever, which clearly turns it into a permanent subsidy to the real estate industry.
Garofalo especially disdains Blunt’s willingness to extend this benefit given his jump-on-the-bandwagon bleating about the dangers of the deficit. I would add that a person who spends so much time trying to paint a moderately successful round of stimulus spending as a failure, should be really, really careful about selectively extending it for favored campaign contributors. Though Blunt’s two-faced response to the stimulus is, I guess, kind of an old story by now – he has been more than willing to claim credit for the goodies it brought the state – but it still stinks when he tries to use those funds to do his benefactors a solid on the public dime. It’ll be interesting to see just what other giveaways are tucked into Mr. Blunt’s loudly ballyhooed jobs plan.