A recent ad put out by Roy Blunt smugly invites us to read his job creation plan which he summarizes as lower taxes, less red tape, and more American energy. So I took the time to look at the specifics and found, sad to say, nothing more than the expected plate of stale bread and cold potatoes.
It is something of an understatement to say that Blunt’s plan doesn’t deviate from current and past GOP orthodoxy. Speaking of John Boehner’s “two-step” job creation plan, Ezra Klein remarks
So on the one hand, a measure that will make a small dent in the deficit. On the other hand, a measure that will lead to a huge increase in the deficit. There’s no theory of the economy in which this really makes sense.
This criticism applies equally to the Blunt plan if one adds that there is also no way in which it makes sense to claim that it will actually create jobs. To give Blunt credit, he does offer somewhat more detail than Mr. Boehner – six steps (missteps?) instead of two, which I’ll write about in greater detail in individual posts over the next couple of weeks – there are, after all, lots of little side embellishments – like destroying net neutrality – not to mention questionable assertions, that deserve to be pointed out and considered in greater detail.
The short version is that Blunt proposes to extend the Bush tax cuts and cut corporate taxes even more; cancel the unexpended stimulus funds; re-deregulate, gutting financial reform legislation and deep-sixing the new consumer protection agency; repeal the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a few giveaways to the insurance industry (which he calls “sensible” health care reform); pare down welfare spending, cut entitlements (Social security? Medicare? Blunt quite carefully doesn’t spell it out); and enact measures like subsidizing nuclear power and making sure that coal producers get theirs. All that’s left to do is to tie the package up with a pretty ribbon and hand it over to the corporate biggies who have paid Blunt’s campaign bills lo these many years.
Did I already say this is all old news?. Like maybe a recipe for a rerun of the Bush years? Surely you remember those eight years of anemic job growth, culminating in economic disaster and massive job loss? Roy Blunt was, of course, one of the chief enablers of similar measures then, which is why it is almost inexplicable that anyone is taking him seriously when he asks us to give him a do-over using the same tools from the same tarnished economic tool-box. (If you doubt the effect of the Bush policies on the American middle class, just take a look at this chart comparing how different economic segments of the population have fared under recent Democratic and Republican administrations.)
President Obama made the same point far more eloquently when he described the GOP economic philosophy that is exemplified in Blunt’s putative economic blueprint in a speech yesterday in Cleveland:
… There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade – the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations. Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care to folks who are sick, and let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth, eroding competitiveness, and a shrinking middle class.
There you have it – Blunt in a nutshell.
Image from the GoldGuys Blog via Wikimedia Commons.