Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 3, 2009

THE NO-SENSE JOBS PLAN.... Arguably the single most farcical aspect of America's political discourse is listening to congressional Republicans talk about economic policy. We're talking about a group of people who've managed to be spectacularly wrong about practically every economic challenge in recent memory, but who are nevertheless convinced of their own self-righteous expertise. It's hard not to cringe.

But yet, they keep talking, blissfully unaware of their track record of uninterrupted failure. Yesterday, for example, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) visited the conservative Heritage Foundation to unveil what he called "a no-cost jobs plan." Andrew Leonard explained, "Without adding a single dime to the deficit, the Republican's plan will ameliorate the worst unemployment crisis in 30 years. One wonders how a political party capable of such innovative thinking ever lost its hold of power."

To recap: Cut regulations. Freeze spending. Cut taxes. No new taxes. That's the plan.

I would really, really love to have access to an alternative universe in which Cantor's plan could have been applied this past year, in parallel with our world, in which the economy was injected with a massive stimulus, so we could compare the efficacy of the two approaches in real time. What would have happened if instead of spending money, the government had sat on its hands?

I think about that all the time. Republicans controlled the levers of power, and the results were nearly catastrophic for the economy. Democrats were handed the reins, and while the economy is still struggling, we're working our way out of the ditch. If we'd listened to Cantor & Co., we'd still be digging.

As for the "no-cost jobs plan," it's hard not to laugh at the stupidity. We tried it Cantor's way. We're still suffering the consequences. NBC reported on Cantor's plan, and explained, "The challenge for Cantor and Republicans is that these solutions -- low taxes, free trade, and fewer regulations -- existed during the Bush years, which saw three different economic downturns (in 2001, 2003, and 2008), and which produced the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades."

It's not just Cantor, of course. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has scheduled an "economic roundtable" today, to compete with the White House's job summit. Roll Call reported, "A spokesman for Boehner said the purpose of the meeting is to give a platform for economists who have a different perspective on how Obama's agenda has affected the economy."

And who are these experts? Apparently, House Republicans have turned to "former Bush administration and McCain campaign staffers, who have advocated disastrous tax and budget policies."

So, to summarize, less than a year from the last administration, congressional Republicans believe it's time to re-embrace the Bush/Cheney agenda that didn't work, and listen to the architects of the Bush/Cheney agenda that didn't work.

Historically, after a major electoral defeat, the losing side adapts and shifts course. Congressional Republicans, for reasons that defy comprehension, are doubling down on an agenda that's already failed.

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Except with each passing day the Democrats own the dismal economy -- and voters have nowhere else to go to express their anger than to the GOP.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on December 3, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

REAL Communism -- wait, I mean tax cuts -- have never REALLY been tried!

Some rich person somewhere still has to pay some tax, right? QED.

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on December 3, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

If at first you don't succeed, keep trying the same damn thing over and over again.

Posted by: Jane on December 3, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

What BrklynLibrul said.

A lot of voters, I am convinced, are extremely dim when it comes to politics--willfully so. Some of these voters are smart in their field but dumber than rocks when it comes to public policy. Come 2010, they'll vote Republican because they'll see the Democrats as the party in power and that the economy is still weak.

Sad but true. Sad, but fucking true.

Posted by: cl on December 3, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

...who are nevertheless convinced of their own self-righteous expertise...but yet, they keep talking, blissfully unaware of their track record of uninterrupted failure.

That's because they are never called on it live, on-air, when the spout this nonsense. The 'interviewers' routinely nod sagely and present the 'two-sides' meme without the slightest regard for history and current reality.

If they get away with it, it's only because they are continually taken 'seriously' and are invited again and again onto talk shows and interviews, with nary a factual counterpoint. See, e.g., St. John McCain, who will be on MTP yet again this weekend to froth about Afghanistan, given yet another spotlight in which to say whatever he wants without any pushback.

Posted by: terraformer on December 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

It is well past time to get mean with the GOP. Whether willfully stupid or purely malevolrent' they no longer deswerve to be taken seriously. I suggest the dems pulls no punches. Being nice sets a dangerous course in a ship of fools.

Posted by: sparko on December 3, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

The republicans may have many weaknesses and faults but the will to steal is strong in them . After many successfully stolen vote totals the concerned ones may be correct , aside from the way they express it .
Al Gore clearly won in 2000 and Kerry was cheated big time in 2004 . Fortunately the American people got the government the wealthiest few paid for ?
So the weakest party with the most ridiculous hypocrites in memory may make some ill gotten election gains again !
Hi Ho Silver

Posted by: FRP on December 3, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Some of these voters are smart in their field but dumber than rocks when it comes to public policy. Come 2010, they'll vote Republican because they'll see the Democrats as the party in power and that the economy is still weak.

This is why Obama's fetish about seeking "bipartisanship" is such a terrible mistake. Obama will probably be reelected in 2012, but the Democratic majorities in Congress will have shrunk.

By 2016 the country will have completely forgotten the tragedy of the Bush years and elect another Republican who is "pro-America" and who wants to "make America strong again." And then we'll have another cycle of Republicans wrecking the country and Democrats having to spend all their time repairing the damage.

The Obama administration and the Democrats needs to devote their attention to destroying the Republican agenda. They need to slam it and ridicule it until anyone who mentions Supply-side economics will get the same eye rolls as someone who claims the Earth is flat.

Let Obama stay above the fray, but for God's sake drive a stake through the heart of these f*ckers or they'll return as soon as the sun goes down.

Posted by: SteveT on December 3, 2009 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Hopefully, Al Franken will start to pressure them on their economic hypocrisy, as he did with the Defense Appropriations Bill pressuring their moral hypocrisy.

Franken is capable of taking the media fight to the GOP right now. One can only hope.

Posted by: Bob M on December 3, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Unlike the Americans who fervently believe that the presidency of Jimmy Carter was the most destructive force ever set upon the American landscape . Maybe those Americans won't forget ?
Or is it that the strain of person that recalls this as fact is only restricted to the other , not you and me ?
The level of concern for our brothers and sisters who may be tragically flawed is a bit hard to pin down here . Why it seems almost like gloating .

Posted by: FRP on December 3, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Without adding a single dime to the deficit...

Um, wouldn't tax cuts add to the deficit?

Posted by: Jason on December 3, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

It is an article of faith among Republicans that tax cuts pay for themselves. The actual evidence that their doctrine is completely bonkers is of no interest to them. Luckily for the Republicans, millions of voters believe the lies they tell and vote for these liars. I have no idea why.

Posted by: freelunch on December 3, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

That's right. Reducing taxes to ZERO will free the private enterprise system to work its miracles and produce an INFINITE revenue stream to the government. Just ask that Laffer guy.

Posted by: emjayay on December 3, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

this GOP proposal doesn't defy comprehension: they are idiots. If you remember that, everything Cantor, Boehner, and company say starts to make perfect sense, since only an idiot could believe any of that junk.

Posted by: chuck dc on December 3, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Come 2010, they'll vote Republican because they'll see the Democrats as the party in power and that the economy is still weak.

Which is why progressives need to stop chortling about the ascension of Sarah Palin and other batshit crazy newcomers of the birther and 'bagger variety. The people you think are so nuts as to be unelectable are electable, particularly in the House.

Posted by: shortstop on December 3, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

NBC reported on Cantor's plan, and explained, "The challenge...

NBC reported? Or is this just an MSNBC blog post? Huge difference, I think...

Posted by: Doozer on December 3, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

It's bad enough that they keep offering everyone a pony, but when we last took them up on it, all we got was a bag of dog poop.

Still, they know that after decades of work destroying the public education system and corrupting the level of public discourse, they can say just about any damn thing they want, and as long as they appear to be an alternative while blocking any success by the Democrats, dissatisfied masses will turn to them almost reflexively.

It's not about making sense, or about governance, it's about getting back into office and the power to make them and their buddies rich(er).

Posted by: biggerbox on December 3, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK


If you loved the Victorian era with its oligarchies and monolopies the "free market," robber barons, industrial pollution, morality, and labor policies you will love the Republican plan for America.

Posted by: Kurt on December 3, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

During Wednesday's ABC World News, they had several businessmen on to give suggestions for job creation.

* Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, suggested tax credits for the creation of Green Jobs, which would "cause us to fight fewer wars, cause gasoline prices to ultimately be lower, and create jobs that are very difficult to move overseas".

* However, John Silvia, the Chief Economist at Wells Fargo, suggested that we "cut the Federal Minimum Wage" !

Except every time we have increased the Federal Minimum Wage, we get more jobs.


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 3, 2009 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Its hard to know where to go to get the truth about our government and the political parties.
This much is true... in 2009 there isn't a dimes worth of difference in either party. I would suggest Americans look to the lesser known political parties in America. There are the Libertarians, Green, Constitution, and many more.Moastly these parties have valuble opinions and deserve to be heard. Yeah, there are some real ringers out there and more than a few parties that are just unacceptable. But preaching to the choir here.... Americans..WAKE UP! uh yup,I wuzz shouting.Too many American so don't vote. Do we not realize that by not voting it is really easy for the present gang of scoundrels to win?Geez folks..with a 30% turnout 15.1% elects the Federal ballot.WE have been making it much too easy for them.
Our constitution allows us to keep and maintain firearms for defense. Keep yer powder dry boyz... because the Constitution also TELLS US that when ever our elected officials do NOT represent the good and welfare of the "common man" It is the duty of every American to rise up, overthrow the sitting government and install one that WILL take care of the citizens rather than taking care only of themselves
So long for now,

Posted by: jim frobe on December 4, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK
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