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May 05, 2014 4:20 PM Winning a “Jobs” Election With No Jobs Plan

By Ed Kilgore

In his own meditation at TNR on today’s new USAT/Pew survey, Danny Vinik observes something in plain sight that hasn’t really been sufficiently discussed: Republicans are drifting towards victory in a “jobs” election without having anything recognizable as a “jobs” agenda. Yes, they have a strong macroeconomic disposition towards cutting high-end and business taxes and eliminating regulations, and shrinking government generally, but other than the belief that such policies would “unleash capital and innovation” and in a roundabout way improve the employment situation—they’ve got nothing for people who are unemployed or underpaid. I mean, really—nothing.

The disconnect between Republicans and the rest of the population on economic issues is even apparent in the Pew data. Asked to name the two most important issues facing the country, “budget deficits” (46%) and “health care” (presumably opposition to Obamacare, at 44%) still outpace “the job situation” among those planning to vote Republican.

The central Republican argument, this year more than ever, is that shrinking government is the solution to every problem, in every circumstance. GOPers rarely even try to translate this into a coherent “jobs” plan, but so long as (with a great deal of Republican help) the party controlling the White House seems incapable of doing enough about jobs, it doesn’t seem to matter.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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