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Tilting at Windmills

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February 28, 2011

MITCH DANIELS HAS A 'SO BE IT' MOMENT.... Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner conceded thousands of Americans would lose their jobs as a result of Republican spending cuts, adding, "So be it." Asked exactly how many American workers would be left unemployed as a result of the GOP plan, Boehner said he didn't know. Apparently, he didn't care, either.

As it turns out, the Speaker isn't the only Republican leader thinking along these lines. Today, NPR's Steve Inskeep asked Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) a worthwhile question.

INSKEEP: I want to ask something that a lot of people are confronting right now, as they deal with the federal deficit as well as state and local deficits that need to be closed. Are budget cuts -- government budget cuts -- worth it, even if they end up seriously costing a lot of jobs right now?

DANIELS: The answer is yes.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this. We now have three separate independent analyses of the Republican proposal, all of which say the same thing: if approved, the GOP plan would hurt the economy and make unemployment worse. We now have two prominent Republican -- one is currently the nation's most powerful GOP official, the other hopes to be -- conceding publicly that the party's spending-cut priorities would force more Americans out of work.

How are we even having this conversation? I'd genuinely love to know exactly how many American voters are thinking, "You know, maybe what we need is higher unemployment, lower wages, and slower growth -- it's a good thing Republicans are working on this."

For his part, the perpetually-confused House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said the latest analysis from Moody's Analytics economist Mark Zandi doesn't count. Zandi found that the GOP proposal would likely force 700,000 American workers into unemployment, but Cantor said we shouldn't believe him -- because Zandi backed the 2009 Recovery Act, which necessarily forfeits his credibility.

First, Cantor may not be able to understand this, but the stimulus was a success, and did exactly what it set out to do. Republican repetition about "failure" demonstrates tremendous message discipline, but also demonstrates striking ignorance about current events.

Second, before Cantor blows off Zandi, let's note that Zandi was an advisor to the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. Besides, even if Republicans don't like the Zandi analysis, what's the response to the Goldman Sachs report from last week?

And third, if Cantor & Co. don't care for any of the independent analyses showing the GOP plan making unemployment worse, why don't they offer a competing analysis? They think 700,000 job losses is too high a number fine. Where does Cantor put the number? Can Republicans offer anything in the way of economic projections? Anything at all?

I can't remember the last time the political discourse made this little sense. We have Americans demanding action on job creation; we have congressional Republicans deliberately trying to make unemployment worse; and we have a media that prefers to pretend that the deficit matters more than the economy.

Steve Benen 3:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

DANIELS: The answer is yes.

Shorter Mitch "Deficits" Daniels: FYIGM.


Posted by: Gregory on February 28, 2011 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

The only jobs these guys care about are those of the people that fund their campaigns and their own jobs. The rest of peons in the country just don't count. If they can't eat bread, let them eat cake.

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

What's to wrap your head around.

GOP = Enemy of the State.

Posted by: Langx on February 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I understand.

Republicans hate the AFA in part because of their false claim that it is going to "cost 800,000 jobs," but killing 700,000+ jobs (and more, because this is only the start!) by "reducing the size of government" is the only way to improve the economy.

Does someone have an aspirin?

Posted by: karen marie on February 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

We now have two prominent Republican -- one is currently the nation's most powerful GOP official, the other hopes to be -- conceding publicly that the party's spending-cut priorities would force more Americans out of work.

And we don't have a media -- even the "liberal" NPR -- pointing out that higher unemployment would suit Republican political ambitions in 2012 just fine, since Obama will likely get the blame for the mess they created.

Posted by: Gregory on February 28, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face it, the corporate owned media is a joke.
We should never expect to hear real reporting, over the weekend 100,000 protestors were in Madison, I could not find live coverage anywhere on CNN or MSNBC, then later I read that it was covered on Russian TV!!!! Our media covers protests in other parts of the world - why not here?

Posted by: Joan on February 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

And Steve Inskeep responded with?
I listen to NPR from time to time and I am not hearing anything about the cutting of funds that criticized the Republicans. KPCC/NPR asks for more money because of the possible cuts, but they don't make a point that the Republicans are going after them with a vengeance. I would never give to them because when it comes to their survival, they are still more beholden to their corporate sponsors than their "members."
So be it!

Posted by: st john on February 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's not hard to understand actually : The GOP wants the econonmy (and in the end Obama)to FAIL by any means necessay. Unemployment could go to 15% and they just wouldn't give a sh*t.

Posted by: drinksforall on February 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

drinksforall is right. "their" people won't be unemployed, so who gives a fuck?

Posted by: just bill on February 28, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Job losses always happen to other people; hey, 90% of Americans still have jobs, so what's the big deal?

I'm self-employed, and don't rely on a government handout! (I deal crack out of the truck of a stolen car, so fewer cops on the streets is GOOD thing. . .)

Posted by: DAY on February 28, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"hy don't they offer a competing analysis?" ..

BECAUSE the press NEVER asks the simple question - so, what is your plan, specifically? What do you plan to do, and please do not respond with empy bromides .... give me the outline of a real plan, now.


This is not hard. I judged a high school debate tournament this weekend, and saw dozens of 16 yr olds that can do that, on their feet.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.... I just wish the press would do its work

Posted by: bigtuna on February 28, 2011 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

"How are we even having this conversation? I'd genuinely love to know exactly how many American voters are thinking, "You know, maybe what we need is higher unemployment, lower wages, and slower growth -- it's a good thing Republicans are working on this."

Steve: This should be headline news across the country!

Posted by: jjm on February 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think all comments from that man about budgetary policy should refer to him only as "George W. Bush's budget director Mitch Daniels".

I think it's important to constantly be reminded of the profound duplicity behind anything he says.

Posted by: biggerbox on February 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK


There's nothing confusing to wrap your head around.

If studies show that Republican policies would cause unemployment and hurt the economy, they must be wrong, and this just provides further proof - as if any were needed - of an anti-Republican conspiracy by people with calculators.

While at the same time, these studies actually prove that Republican policies would quickly kickstart the economy and lead to a rise in the number of private-sector jobs, it's just that the Liberal Media is cherrypicking and outright lying about their conclusions in order to hide the truth. Which just provides further proof of the aforementioned anti-Republican conspiracy by people with calculators.

Give it a few months, that'll be the CW on the Right. Not only do these studies reach biased and deceptive conclusions, the fact these conclusions were quickly buried by the Liberal Media just proves that they said Republicans were right.

Posted by: Tony J on February 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this. We now have three separate independent analyses of the Republican proposal, all of which say the same thing: if approved, the GOP plan would hurt the economy and make unemployment worse.

Why I think it's very easy to understand. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, "Freedom is untidy and free people are free to find other lesser paying jobs with no benefits, sleep in their cars and eat from garbage cans."

Hey man, it's all about the freedom.

Posted by: Mike on February 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish the press would do its work

Ah but the press IS doing its work. Its work is to promote the corporate world, to which they belong, at the expense of the rest of us.

Posted by: ckelly on February 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, Steve. We are definitely in Bizarroworld, where white is black, good is bad and wrong is right. I think the wingnuts recognize that the average American is so frazzled, stressed out and confused by what is going on in the world, they can say anything and some people will believe them - especially if they say it loud enough and repeat it often enough!

Posted by: Sam Simple on February 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

re ckelly...

amen!

Posted by: SadOldVet on February 28, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this.

No, that's not the problem. What you are having trouble wrapping your head around is the fact that this is a propaganda campaign that simply minimizes and dismisses criticism while rapidly returning to the attack, and not a debate at all. Its not rational, nor is it designed to appeal to rationality, its designed to leverage the emotional impact of a message delivered through the media to provoke an irrational response, and in doing so its not the specific claims that matter all that much, its the tone and the time spent on various topics. So, any criticism that is raised is quickly dismissed so that it can be moved past, and the fact that the language of that dismissal may seem to rationally validate the criticism is irrelevant to the strategy (and, largely, to its effectiveness.)

This, of course, might change if someone spent the effort and money to make sure that the issues that they are attempting to dismiss (and the responses they use to dismiss them) were prominently addressed and properly contextualized to the same audience at which the propaganda is directed, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve:

I really like you, but every couple of days you put up a post wherein you express befuddlement about the apparent illogic/inconsistancies of rightwingers in power. You can't seem to accept what is being defiantly pushed in all of our faces: rightwingers don't care. They serve the rich (individuals and corporations) and use loudmouths (rich, like Limbaugh, Beck) and unrich (Teabag chumps) to keep other unrich people scared and uninformed. Their strategy is divide and conquer - keep one group of aren't-rich against the rest of aren't-rich, so those people don't have time to realize that it's the rich that are systematically screwing them.

Meanwhile, the Democrats also serve the rich (individuals and corporations) - BUT - they're conflicted about it. Thus they are semi-harmful, semi-helpful. But unwilling to truly, unequivocally take a stand.

Major media is owned by major corporations and is thus defanged.

Period.

Face it.

Stop trying to believe it ain't so. It is.

The only meaningful questions now are "where do we go from here?"

Posted by: Arlene2 on February 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, inflicting suffering on the weak is the entire point of today's Republican Party. It works as an electoral strategy because there's a working majority of Americans who don't mind having things bad if they can somehow envision that others have it worse, and they can help keep it that way.
In short, a sick society of nasty people.

Posted by: JMG on February 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Daniels: We're almost at that time when I'm gonna go out and finance my own personal militia!

All others use cash, or die! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 28, 2011 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this.

It's quite simple: They are vandals. Vandals break things. Vandals can call themselves anything they want. They can even claim they're remodeling. But that does not make them anything other than vandals. And it does not make what they are doing something other than breaking things.

Vandals.
Break.
Things.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on February 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as someone who remembers Mrs Thatcher's first election victory in 1979, I'd say the explanation for the GOP's strategy is that it's not that hard to make public sector unions the focus for other people's anger. It's easy to portray them as selfish fatcats enjoying numerous perks and a bad attitude towards work. Even where there's no evidence for that view, a lot of people are predisposed to believe it.

Posted by: davidp on February 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I really fail to understand the compromise on the extension of the bush tax cuts. What did Obama think? We need that leverage to get through 2011 with a sensible budget. The tax cuts could be extended eventually in a worse case scenario.

Posted by: George on February 28, 2011 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"For his part, the perpetually-confused House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said the latest analysis from Moody's Analytics economist Mark Zandi doesn't count."

What a pair; Sniffles Boehner breaking out in tears every time they put a mic in front of him and Cantor, looking like the guy trying to find his drunk girlfriend in the wrong frat house.

Posted by: max on February 28, 2011 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think drinksforall had it right: the GOP wants Obama to be vulnerable in 2012, and -- given the encouraging economic signs of the last few months -- the best way to achieve that is to intentionally sabotage the economy (under the usually-sensible pretense of deficit reduction).

Posted by: sbest on February 28, 2011 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

The only way I can tease any sense out of Gov. Daniels' remarks is by presuming that he, and any other thinking Republican/Teabagger, is willing to lose ALL the gains made on the state level in 2010, hoping to prevent the re-election of President Obama? That's some really deep hatred, folks.
But then, isn't that what everone says about us Boomers - we think we're entitled?

Posted by: Doug on February 28, 2011 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

What debate? Have you seen many Democrats paying more than lip service to workers rights over the last 30 years? How is it that Union membership in the private sector is now below 7% and approx. 36% in the public sector (per Rachel Maddow)? The idea is to beat the lower 90% of income earners into lowest standards of living to compete with the Indias and Chinas of the world.

Posted by: Doug on February 28, 2011 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

The media pretends. That's what they are all about these days. And They are the major problem--we all know this. The next demonstrations need to be at Fox, CNN, and Clear Channel.

Posted by: Sparko on February 28, 2011 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wall St. gave heavily to elect the Republican Congress, and what they have gotten is a serious threat of renewed recession which will be very bad for business.

Posted by: bob h on March 1, 2011 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

The point of this move is an obvious one - unemployment rates are already down, and will almost certainly become a talking point when referring to this administration's economic problems in the future; more importantly it will be a talking point when the next presidential election comes up.
Laying off 700,000 in a short period of time will place an impression on the American psyche, and GOP be damned, the people will believe that the prez could've stopped it (if they won't outright believe that he supported it); whether Obama is responsible for congressional fuckwittery or not, he'll take the hit and the Left will suffer.

I think that what I secretly wish for is for left-leaning factions to act like doorknobs when douches like Bush land in office. What I externally wish for is for the Right to not be so obviously self-serving and demonic.

Posted by: Matthew Aldrich on March 1, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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