Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 20, 2010

CANTOR INTENDS TO ELIMINATE JOBS PROGRAM.... If House Republicans follow through on their promise, they'll try to force a floor vote today on eliminating the $2.5 billion Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund. It's the result of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) "YouCut" gimmick -- and it's a spectacularly bad idea.

If you're just joining us, Cantor's new toy was launched last week -- Republicans will pick government programs they don't like, and then encourage the public to vote on which one they want to see eliminated. GOP lawmakers will then try to cut the "winning" program, responding to public demand.

This week, the initial round of voting wrapped up, and the first measure on the chopping block is the TANF emergency fund -- which will enable states to place 186,000 unemployed individuals in subsidized jobs by the end of the summer, and which Cantor's office deliberately mischaracterized to YouCut participants.

Yep, House Republicans plan to force a vote on cutting a jobs bill.

The Fund is enabling states to create or expand work-focused welfare-reform programs in which low-income people work in actual jobs. It also is helping states assist the increased numbers of very poor children and parents who are seeking help as a consequence of the deep economic downturn, so that they do not fall into severe destitution or even homelessness.

Without the Fund, many fewer low-income parents would be working today. In addition, more of the nation's poorest children and parents would have neither earnings nor TANF assistance and would face severe hardship that could have lasting effects on children's development. [...]

If Congress fails to extend the TANF Emergency Fund beyond September 30 when it is slated to expire, states will have no additional resources to respond to the increased need that stems from the recession, and most of the subsidized jobs they have created will disappear, increasing the ranks of the unemployed and pushing many children whose parents want to work into severe poverty.

It's not even an especially partisan issue -- even Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has urged Congress to extend the TANF emergency fund.

Remember, for Cantor and the Republican leadership, this is their best example of the kind of government spending they're anxious to slash. As Jon Chait noted the other day, "If you want to argue that the government should have lower taxes, lower spending and less debt, you should have to produce the numbers. If you're going to cop out and just pledge to cut some tiny program benefiting a weak constituency whose cost amounts to a fraction of a percent of the size of the cuts you pledge, you should be able to find a genuinely wasteful program. The fact that the worst program the GOP could identify is actually a good program is a devastating rejoinder to their beliefs about government waste."

It also underscores the problem of a child-like political party trying to govern through gimmicks. In this case, the YouCut publicity stunt is playing a dangerous game that, if successful, would hurt a lot of people.

If Eric Cantor would just leave governing decisions to the grown-ups, we'd all be better off.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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Comments

God forbid we consider cutting absurd war spending. Nah -- just f' the unfortunate!!

Posted by: Our racist future on May 20, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

it's not a grown-ups vs,kids problem...

how about nihilistic monsters vs. painfully moderate head-in-the-sand mr. cleavers.

Posted by: neill on May 20, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Eric Cantor has no business in congress. The man is a fool who cares more for winning elections than doing anything for the people of this nation. This theatrical stunt is such a waste of time with all the problems facing our country but Cantor needs the attention. I'm so sick of these goobers playing games instead of actually legislating.

Posted by: bjobotts on May 20, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

btw...let's reduce the pay to congress to an hourly wage with a 60hr/wk maximum ...or paid the same salary as college professors. Cantor's pay should be docked for wasting time.

Posted by: bjobotts on May 20, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

So this is Republicans showing their "leadership." Rather than rolling up their fucking sleeves and getting to work, they're attempting putting the budget ax into the same hands that will select the next American Idol.

Really, Cantor? Let's take a vote online? Really?

Posted by: chrenson on May 20, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

It also underscores the problem of a child-like political party trying to govern through gimmicks.

They're not trying to govern through gimmicks. They're not trying to govern at all. They're out to dismantle the government. Don't mistake the cover story for the real goals.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on May 20, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, they are out to dismantle the government.

They are THE domestic enemy of the United States. They hate the U.S. Government more than their foreign brethren, al Qaeda, does.

Thing is, the very people who will be impacted by cutting the jobs program will turn around and join the Tea Party and vote for Republican scum.

That anger will be harnessed (once bitten by a zombie filth Republican, there is no hope for you) to destroy the U.S. Government.


Posted by: John Thullen on May 20, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Eric Cantor is a blithering fucking idiot.

With that out of the way, I like the idea behind this "YouCut" deal, only I propose it be re-worked, to let the public vote (say, every six months) on who is the dumbest, least productive member of Congress or the Senate. Whoever "wins" gets thrown out of office that day, with no pension, insurance or any of the other goodies they've managed to vote for themselves. This would also entail a ten year ban on being able to work anywhere on Wall Street or any other legitimate governmental office. The replacement lawmaker could be taken from a pool of candidates from the affected state.

This will, of course, result in basically every one of them up there getting tossed out, so it would be confusing for awhile, but might actually result in better candidates.

How about it Cantor? How's your plan sound now?

Posted by: electrolite on May 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's been clear for some time that modern conservatism has transformed from a political philosophy into mental illness. Is it going suicidal now? They want to score points with voters, in THIS job market, by slashing a jobs program?

I can understand the optics of going to war against government spending. Between that and tax cuts, it's pretty much the only thing left in the repub playbook. But a jobs program??? In the midst of a jobless recovery??? The mind reels.

Posted by: JoeW on May 20, 2010 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Slashing a jobs program? You are worked up about 1 jobs program? These people have slashed how many jobs and sent how many more overseas or down south to Mexico. It is amazing to me how these republicans complain about socialism, facism and communism, yet they would rather move the work, and company headquarters to the very same countries that practice the very same policies that they want to "save" "their" country from.
I can hardly stand the stench of hypocrisy emanating from their mouths. Forgive me ... I ... need .. fresh.. AIR!!!

Posted by: scoobiejim on May 20, 2010 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

I can understand the optics of going to war against government spending. Between that and tax cuts, it's pretty much the only thing left in the repub playbook. But a jobs program??? In the midst of a jobless recovery??? The mind reels.
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