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Tilting at Windmills

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February 28, 2011

THE GOP PLAN TO MAKE UNEMPLOYMENT MUCH WORSE.... The number one issue on the minds of most Americans is job creation. With that in mind, it seems rather important that congressional Republicans are pushing a plan that would make unemployment much worse, on purpose.

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The report, by Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.

Zandi also had bad news for liberal Democrats who are resisting sharp spending cuts: Bringing deficits down to sustainable levels will require more than a growing economy.

If this seems familiar, it's because it's not the first report to raise this point. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, relying on data compiled by the Center for American Progress, found that the Republican budget plan would force roughly 975,000 Americans from their jobs. What's more, just last week, economists at Goldman Sachs estimated that the GOP proposal would reduce economic growth by as much as 2% of GDP, which would cause the unemployment rate to go up about a point.

How is it this isn't at the heart of the debate over the budget? How far off track is the public discourse when an entire chamber of Congress, in the midst of a jobs crisis, approves a plan to make the crisis much worse, and this is considered only tangentially relevant?

Greg Sargent, noting the Zandi and Goldman Sachs analyses, added:

Even if you disagree with these analyses, you'd think the fact that there are now two of them reaching similar conclusions would be newsworthy enough to break through the din of Beltway deficit-reduction fetishizing. The argument about budget cuts is too often framed solely as an argument between so-called deficit "hawks" and "doves," as a dispute between those who say steep cuts are necessary and those who say they're cruel and extreme. The fact that outside analysts think that budget cuts could actively hamper the recovery deserves to be part of the discussion.

I couldn't agree more. For weeks, the larger policy conversation has focused almost exclusively on spending cuts and deficit reduction, with a striking disregard for the consequences. The debate itself is so detached from reality, it's hard to even believe the extent to which we're stuck in the wrong conversation -- Republicans ran on a "where are the jobs" platform, got elected, and are aggressively pushing a plan that they know will make unemployment much worse.

We can have a debate about why the GOP is doing this -- irrational fear of inflation, politically-motivated economic sabotage, etc. -- but after multiple reports, the effects of the Republican plan themselves are no longer a mystery.

This deserves to be the lead story for every major news outlet covering the debate. There's no more important angle to the electorate that still says economic growth and job creation trump everything else.

I would, by the way, gladly note the Republicans' response to this, but as far as I can tell, the GOP doesn't have one. The House majority has seen these multiple projections, showing steep job losses, that Republicans have responded with nothing -- no projections, no competing sets of numbers, no hearings on the effects of their cuts, nothing.

If midterm voters aren't feeling some buyer's remorse right about now, they're just not paying attention.

Update: Also, don't forget that as far as Republicans are concerned, the ultimate attack on any policy is to call it "job-killing." If Dems don't start using this in the budget fight, they're missing an important opportunity.

Steve Benen 12:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Comments

The plan is to make things much, much worse, to oust Obama. No one in the media would dare compromise the plans of the rich and powerful.

Posted by: Ben Dover on February 28, 2011 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

"The GOP plan to make unemployment much worse."

Uhm, everyone who reads this blog know that that's a feature, not a bug.

Republicans think a bad, or even worse, economy is their ticket to keeping the House and gaining the Senate and the Presidency.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Class warfare.

That's going to be the result of the GOPs efforts.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Oman, Bahrain, here we come.

We are on the verge of a very, very, ugly chapter in our Nation's history.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

[Thanks to the regulars for ignoring the comment by this scatology-obsessed idiot until we got back from lunch. --Mods]

Posted by: mom on February 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP feels it is in their best interest (which is to remove Obama, keep Rich taxes low or nothing, retake complete power in Washington, kill Unions forever) to have high unemployment and a sick economy. That's why they do nothing to help. They want failure, and want to pin it on Obama. Once you understand that, everything else is pretty easy to understand.

Posted by: T2 on February 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Blame Democrats.

Blame ineptitude. Blame cowardice. Blame complicity. But blame Democrats.

Yes, the GOP has proposed a bunch of potentially disastrous policies. But the failure of the national Democrats to react in abject horror and explain to Americans what the consequences of those GOP policies is unforgivable.

Posted by: square1 on February 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans only want to know where the jobs are so they can eliminate them.

Posted by: Punkerdubh on February 28, 2011 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans ran on a "where are the jobs" platform, got elected, and are aggressively pushing a plan that they know will make unemployment much worse.

Didn't hurt the Tories -- it turned over the government in the UK, either.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on February 28, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The one gift that liberals have received in recent days is that, by picking a public fight in Wisconsin, where unions and liberals remain relatively strong and unapologetic, the GOP has allowed the entire country to hear a debate that is rarely public.

For once in a long time, Democrats are standing up and arguing that unions, middle-class workers, and average taxpayers are not the root of budget problems. And they shouldn't be scapegoated. That isn't an argument you will hear from D.C. Democrats, who rush to promote GOP-lite forms of unraveling the social safety net. But you will hear that argument from Wisconsin Democrats.

Posted by: square1 on February 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

why don't these dingleberries get their talking points set
BEFOREHAND?

The way to get attention is to talk about how many PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS will be lost b/c of the Rethug plan

Posted by: SteveADor on February 28, 2011 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

This may be the only thing that wakes up the electorate, if there is any left after these idiots finish "legislating".. People are stupid, thus the GOP, war, excessive and often violent indulgence, retarded and hypocritical "morality", fear mongering, racism, classism.. We demoralize intelligence and call it "elitist", what would one expect to follow that kind of ignorant thinking? Death to the GOP!

Posted by: Trollop on February 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Start two wars, cut taxes on the wealthy and stop regulating business=the whole deficit. Guess who is getting taxed now? This is all a sham and it hurts the country. The GOP is willfully hurting the country. This is why adults refused to consider extending the tax breaks for the wealthy. My taxes went up this year, like most in Middle Class. And we still let them frame this as an entitlement spending problem. This 100-percent GOP created and Democrat enabled crisis.

Posted by: Sparko on February 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

square1: "For once in a long time, Democrats are standing up and arguing that unions, middle-class workers, and average taxpayers are not the root of budget problems."

At the support rally in Saint Paul on Saturday, Keith Ellison tried to praise Obama as a progressive leader and some in the crowd shouted, "Not lately!" One demonstrator wanted to start a chant, "Where is Obama? Where is Obama?" He got shouted down, but I think the Washington Democrats have about two weeks to get it right. Now that Wisconsin has showed the way, the lack of leadership in Washington could become an issue.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 28, 2011 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

It would be enlightening if we are informed on the list of Democratic leaders who have forcefully argued that the focus on reduction in deficits will lead to higher unemployment.

The request, of course, is rhetorical, to make the point that we as liberals should focus more on the moral bankruptcy of the Democratic Party and the utter failure of Obama as our leader rather than on the Republicans' undeterred yet expected subservience to the interests of the rich and the wealthy.

Posted by: samsa on February 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Friend of mind just posted this on FB:

A CEO, a tea party activist, and a union employee were sitting at table with a plate of a dozen cookies sitting in the middle of it ... The CEO grabs 11 cookies and tells the teabagger "Watch out, that union guy wants a piece of your cookie."

Pretty much says it all...

Posted by: Z. Mulls on February 28, 2011 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

All through the campaign last year, I consistently framed the GOP's gov candidate's plans were "budget-busting and job-killing." Got pretty good traction with that, perhaps because it was true...

Posted by: Todd for VT House on February 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Friend of mind just posted this on FB:

Going viral pretty quickly...

Posted by: Todd for VT House on February 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

@Todd for VT House - Might wanna try out the "preview" button before submitting your comment *chuckle*. Where's the link?

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 28, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Steve writes:
"I would, by the way, gladly note the Republicans' response to this, but as far as I can tell, the GOP doesn't have one."
What about: "So be it"? This qualifies as GOV response as any other.

Posted by: Yoni on February 28, 2011 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen, as one of your regular followers on this site, I think I'm fairly representative of your fans when I ask why you can't actually ask any of these salient points of the Congresspersons involved instead of simply sharing your frustration?

Update: Also, don't forget that as far as Republicans are concerned, the ultimate attack on any policy is to call it "job-killing." If Dems don't start using this in the budget fight, they're missing an important opportunity.

For example, instead of the rhetorical question listed above in your update, why not actually get a reaction from them or their spokesperson? Don't YOU qualify as a member of the media? Just askin'...

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 28, 2011 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP plan is to destroy DEMOCRACY!!! And to have an oligarchy for the rich. The rest of Americans be damned. GOP keeps giving Corporations tax breaks and destroys Americans paychecks. Americans will no be able to buy anything and our GNP will fallter.

Posted by: MLJohnston on February 28, 2011 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

So is the GOP trying to bring on the depression that they were placing their bets on, their 'futures' investments, and so on? The only reason they are so furious with Obama is that he prevented it.

That has to be the only explanation for their otherwise completely inexplicable behavior in matters fiscal.

They only want to cut when it is our priorities that are taking precedence over theirs. But what were theirs? does anyone ever think to ask?? What WERE they trying to do to the economy under Bush except sink it, so that the people who were excessively wealthy could just buy everything up for pennies.

Walker in WI is trying desperately to implement through his big government what Obama prevented the rich from doing to everyone. Why else sneak his no bid contracts for public utilities sell offs without fanfare? The rich EXPECTED this from a Republican win in 2008. They are mad as hell that they didn't get it, so are trying to take it by the back door.

Posted by: jjm on February 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Steve said, "The House majority has seen these multiple projections, showing steep job losses, that Republicans have responded with nothing -- no projections, no competing sets of numbers, no hearings on the effects of their cuts, nothing."

Republicans don't feel compelled to respond since the corporate media doesn't give a shit.

Posted by: Chris on February 28, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't everyone who follows this blog flood Harry Reid and their own personal senators demanding a sharpening of rhetoric including using "job killing" GOP budget plan by every Dem spokesperson with a camera in his face. They have the economists views to back them up. Excuse me, I have three calls to make.

Posted by: Kathryn on February 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
"If midterm voters aren't feeling some buyer's remorse right about now, they're just not paying attention."

Number one: maybe they're not paying attention because it not their fault.

Number two: just because you say something four times in a row, doesn't mean you're right.

When are you going to devote one post that shows how the institutional deficits of the American two-party system deserve no comment, but the Midterm bogeyman is handmaiden of Republican nuttery. This is the kind intellectual laziness I expect from Roger Ailes. Really Steve, you should be ashamed.

Posted by: Jon Karak on February 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Benen, as one of your regular followers on this site, I think I'm fairly representative of your fans when I ask why you can't actually ask any of these salient points of the Congresspersons involved instead of simply sharing your frustration?" - Kiweagle

As a daily reader of this blog, my take is that Steve is a pure blogger. i.e., an extremely knowledgeable and well-versed analyst who provides his readers with the most important developments of the day and adds his own substantive interpretation and prescription.

The good news is that a LOT of progressive journalist's and politicians read Political Animal. I don't know how many times I've read Steve's take and then seen a similar interpretation from Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann or other competent media journalists.

IOW, Steve occupies a very important function in feeding rational and competent analysis to media journalists who will bring the issues to the attention of the responsble parties.

IMO, asking him to also perform a more traditional journalistic function would impair his ability to bring the news and analysis we need at the incredibly prolific rate he currently performs. Nobody cranks it out like Benen.

However, I urge all readers to take his analysis and forward it to their respective representatives. We have a part to play in all of this too.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

There are statutes in many states that can be used to prosecute elected officials for lying to voters during campaigns. No, really, an elected official can be convicted of lying to voters.

Any progressive leaning legal experts who would like to get this ball rolling need only to consult their state's laws to see if indeed such a law is still on the books, then process a tort fiing to bring these elected officials to court where they will need to explain how their rhetoric of Jobs, jobs, and more jobs conforms to their actions against abortion, for union-busting, and manifestly making the economy worse by pursuing policies that actually reduce job opportunities to their constituents who voted thinking those Tea Bagging Republicans would live up to their campaign rhetoric!

Make these duly elected representatives answer for their anti-government temperaments! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

@Kathryn & bdop4 - Fair enough, we should take it upon ourselves to demand those answers from our representatives, and I've certainly done so on many occasions, but it can be enormously frustrating having such obvious questions more often than not disappear into the ether without a response.

How does the GOP get away with doing the exact opposite of what they claim to be fighting for? IMHO, it's usually because either no-one in the media dares ask potentially embarrassing questions of those they desperately seek to interview, or they simply haven't bothered to do the research necessary to even know what to ask.

Rachel Maddow, who I adore, is frequently snubbed by the politicians with those answers simply because they are painfully aware that she WILL ask those questions. Why go on her program when you can pick a show with higher ratings like "Meet the Press" that always gets the big shots because they WON'T ask the questions - or at least attempt no follow-up.

You may recall that Dick Cheney cited MTP with Tim Russert as THE best place to disseminate their propaganda, just as they did with the bogus Iraq War intel.

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

@Kevo - Talk about a wet dream! Unfortunately, there isn't a politician alive who hasn't broken a campaign promise made to get elected.

But then again, if one's state has that/ those law(s), then literally everyone is fair game.

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama created these jobs from the goverment not private sector these jobs must be paid for and your Idea of taxing business in either stupid or wose decieving when you increase the cost of doing busines business has to raise their prices which can't be regulated in this country so this is a very deceptive and scarry process leading to socialisim and finally communisum it's a lie in order to incite class warfare yhese busineses have already started leaving and FYI with-out businesses you have only government when you have only government you become nothing. Government workers are allready the uper class people unions have caused that look around these businesses are not going to make an investment in this country when they can do it somewhere else our busnesses are the most taxed in the world thats why they are leaving and I assure you that 2 to 3 trillion there holding onto will be invested somewhere else if we are not carfull they know this debt has to be paid soon and if they start to think your going to try to fix it on there backs they will leave Usa is just not all that any more to much government and unions killed many

Posted by: Rick1074 on February 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

And yet the same Moody's study, authored by Mark Zandi, one of the architects of President Obamas 2009 stimulus, says the Democrats will have to cut $400 billion a year if the economy is ever to stabilize.

So, it seems, the Republicans arent doing nearly enough. They should be cutting $400 billion in spending and let the private sector reorganize in a reality-based economy.

Posted by: Neo on February 28, 2011 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Friend of mind just posted this on FB:

Going viral pretty quickly...
Posted by: Todd for VT House on February 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM

No kidding. I was about to say that Z Mulls (@1:32PM) and I either share friends or, at least, friends-of-friends -- I myself "borrowed" it last night from my son, who "borrowed" it from a friend, who... And, by the time I logged off a couple of hours later, three of my FB "friends" "borrowed" it from me as their status post :)

Posted by: exlibra on February 28, 2011 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Rick1074, @5:43 PM... Sarah Palin or James Joyce?

Posted by: exlibra on February 28, 2011 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hey kevo,
There are statutes in many states that can be used to prosecute elected officials for lying to voters during campaigns. No, really, an elected official can be convicted of lying to voters.

You would have to start with your Savior Obama to unions I'll get my good walking shoes on if someone messes with union, Want more? there would be no Liberals left.

Hey what about those the Communist party signs in the union uprisings, Oh and I loved the one that read like to gangbang all those fox news girls, but I have to give you credit looks like avg. american's going to have to show union card or pledge alegence to union in order to get a cop, fireman,ambulance, nurse in wisconsin.

All states are test tubes California, Wisconsin, NY, all union states ALL BROKE all people with money running Businesses too California has 9% state tax tac on munisipal tax FED sales tax my brother pays close to 45% Has small business had to lay off all but 2. I left moved to Illinois 10 years ago had growing Company 52 employees had to sell in 2007 2 reasons union and taxes it's out of business now got out just in time moving to Florida will open a new Business soon as Obama gone.

Posted by: Rick1074 on February 28, 2011 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Rick1074: I am glad your sock puppet business is doing so well. But frankly, you are a dissembling troll who needs to have an epiphany before you run out of people to blame for your misery. You aren't helping anyone.

Posted by: Sparko on March 1, 2011 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I suppose that Republicans think jobs created by running up federal budget deficits are bogus jobs, created at the cost of running the country into ruin. Better to lose these jobs than to destroy the country.

Posted by: Dave Martin on March 1, 2011 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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