The GOP’s (Non)Solution to the Jobs Crisis? Tax Cuts!
The GOP’s prescription for our economic woes is like one of those old bottles of patent medicine you see in museums — dusty, completely ineffective, peddled by hucksters, and probably containing something that will make you even sicker. Nevertheless, this morning’s very dismal jobs report has the GOP reaching for some of that old-time medicine yet again.
House Republicans used this morning’s bad news as an opportunity to call a press conference to trot out their plan for “job creators” (that’s conserva-speak for the wealthy and major corporations). This plan is of course a tired re-hashing of the same old failed policies that drove us deep into recession and debt. Here are the lowlights:
- A massive tax cut for the wealthy (the top rate would be cut by almost one-third)
- A massive tax cut for corporations (the top rate would be cut by almost one-third)
- A permanent loophole to let tax-dodging corporations game the system to avoid paying taxes on their overseas profits
- More deregulation
- More trade deals
Missing from the plan? Any new ideas or anything that would in fact create jobs for the millions of Americans now out of work. If this so-called plan sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same “plan” that President George W. Bush had, and it borrows the same massive tax breaks that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) included in his ruinous and extremely unpopular budget plan. Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress, sums it up like this:
This plan is a rehash of the same unsuccessful plan that led our economy into the Great Recession during the Bush administration. The problem then and now with the top Republican goal of economic policy—to make the top income earners in our society even more incredibly wealthy—is that it undercuts our nation’s prospects for a prosperous future.
We’ve been down this road before, and it didn’t end well.
We certainly haven’t found a cure-all for our economic woes, but we should say no to more snake oil from the GOP.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Archie Comics come out against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
A look back at Dr. Kevorkian.
Does the U.S. government care that the Israeli military crippled an American citizen?
War profiteers gather at the State Department.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will unveil plans to increase military involvement in South East Asia.
The last 10 years of wage gains are lower than during the Great Depression.
After 30 years of AIDS, treatment gap still feeds the epidemic.
Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) calls Social Security a “pyramid scheme” that “isn’t working.”
Numbers to Know: Clock is Ticking on a Real Jobs Plan From the GOP
150…the number of days since Republicans took control of the House
0…the number of jobs bills they’ve put forward
News You Can Use: GOP Plan to End Medicare Hurts Today’s Seniors Too
As town halls raged (literally), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget, has gone to great pains to insist that the GOP plan to end Medicare will only impact those aged 55 and under. The National Journal has a blockbuster story today calling out this lie. Here’s the lede:
“The retirees are going to be taken care of; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” House Speaker John Boehner vowed in an interview with CBS last month. The plan’s architect, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said time and again that the changes wouldn’t affect anybody getting close to retirement. “We propose to not change the benefits for people above the age of 55,” Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted last week.
There’s only one problem with the strategy: It’s not true.
Here’s a quick explainer about how the GOP’s plan to end Medicare in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations would, in fact, hit today’s seniors — immediately:
- The Affordable Care Act fills the so-called ‘doughnut hole’ in Medicare Part D (the part that pays for prescription drugs), which previously forced seniors to pay 100 percent of their prescription costs when they hit$2,840 in drug spending until they hit $4,550 in spending, when the benefit would kick in again. But, as National Journal explains, “under the 2010 health law, Medicare will pay 7 percent of the cost of generic drugs and 50 percent on name-brand pharmaceuticals; by 2020, the doughnut hole will be closed.”
- The GOP’s budget plan repeals the entire Affordable Care Act, reopening the notorious doughnut hole. This would immediately impact 3 to 4 million seniors and cause them to shell out billions more each year just to pay for the prescription drugs they depend on each day.
- The GOP’s budget plan also would also slash Medicaid funding, which pays for long-term care for millions of seniors each year. The whopping $744 billion in cuts from Medicaid would undoubtedly impact the 9 million seniors who are currently eligible for the program.
Bad Party Tricks: GOP Playing With Fire on Debt Ceiling
As we discussed on Wednesday, the GOP is playing political games with the nation’s debt ceiling. The debt ceiling must be raised by August 2 or the U.S. will default on its obligations (including payments to veterans, our military, seniors, and many others).
Well, this game is starting to have serious consequences. Yesterday, the credit rating firm Moody’s announced that there would likely be a review of and possible downgrade to the U.S. credit rating in July — sooner than anybody had expected. And, ominously, Moody’s specifically cited the current stalemate over the debt ceiling. That would be the stalemate caused by the GOP’s unwillingness to drop their plan to end Medicare or consider any new revenues for the government.
Republican leaders used this news as an opportunity to double down on their demands for the president to accept their deeply misguided and disastrous budget plan.
Shockingly, other Republicans have even begun to argue that default would a good thing. Here’s Rep. Allen West (R-FL) speaking to reporters this morning at the Faith & Freedom Conference here in DC:
2012 Watch: Mitt Romney Omits Proudest Accomplishment from Campaign Bio
As we mentioned yesterday, Mitt Romney seems strangely reticent to discuss how the individual mandate in his very successful health reform plan means Massuchusetts leads the nation in the percentage of its residents who have health insurance. But we didn’t think he was so bashful about this major accomplishment as to entirely omit it from his campaign biography. We were wrong. ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky has the scoop:
The 695-word biography on Mitt Romney’s campaign website highlights the former governor’s business experience, his success in “salvag[ing] the 2002 Winter Olympic Games from certain disaster,” and stabilizing the state economy. But it doesn’t devote a single word to his greatest accomplishment as governor: enacting comprehensive universal health care reform in Massachusetts.
Since Mitt is too shy to take credit for this success, we’ll be sure and remind you about it whenever we can.
Notable Quotable: Paul Revere Warned Who?
When Sarah Palin’s Magical Mystery tour rolled through Boston the other day, she had an interesting retelling of a key moment in American history. Via ThinkProgress’ Tanya Somanader:
PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.
Palin shouldn’t feel too bad though, as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) recently had similar problems while on the stump in New Hampshire. Bachmann told New Hampshire residents: “you’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” Bachmann was later reminded that Concord, Massachusetts is not in fact the same place as Concord, New Hampshire.