Political Animal


October 06, 2011 2:55 PM An elusive GOP jobs plan

By Steve Benen

In the Spring, it was quite common for the right to be outraged by Democratic criticism of Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget plan. “At least he has a plan,” conservatives would say. “Where’s the Democratic alternative?” It wasn’t much of an argument, but it tended to resonate with reporters and pundits.

Six months later, the tables have been turned. As the jobs crisis lingers, and Americans demand action on job creation, President Obama has presented a credible, popular, and bipartisan jobs plan. By some independent estimate, the American Jobs Act, if approved, could create as many as 1.9 million jobs.

So, where’s the Republican alternative?

In a White House press conference this morning, this was a point the president seemed eager to push.

“[W]hat I’ve tried to do is say, here are the best ideas I’ve heard. Not just from partisans, but from independent economists. These are the ideas most likely to create jobs now and strengthen the economy right now. And that’s what the American people are looking for. And the response from Republicans has been: No. Although they haven’t given a good reason why they’re opposed to putting construction workers back on the job, or teachers back in the classroom.

“If you ask them, ‘Well, okay, if you’re not for that, what are you for?’ Trade has already been done; patent reform has been done. What else? The answer we’re getting right now is, well, we’re going to roll back all these Obama regulations. So their big economic plan to put people back to work right now is to roll back financial protections and allow banks to charge hidden fees on credit cards again or weaken consumer watchdogs, or alternatively they’ve said we’ll roll back regulations that make sure we’ve got clean air and clean water, eliminate the EPA. Does anybody really think that that is going to create jobs right now and meet the challenges of a global economy that are — that is weakening with all these forces coming into play?

“I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.

“I’ll be interested in the answer. I think everybody here — I see some smirks in the audience because you know that it’s not going to be real robust.”

That sounds more than reasonable. Obama put together a plan, put the ideas in writing, and took it to the country. Economists have scrutinized it and come away fairly impressed, and polls show Americans generally approving of the plan’s ideas.

If Republicans are serious about governing — they’re not, but for the sake of discussion, let’s pretend they are — they can present an alternative approach and allow a similar level of scrutiny.

John Boehner wants to know, “Where are jobs?” It’s a good question. Another good question is, “Where’s the GOP jobs plan?”

Republicans intend to kill the Americans Jobs Act? OK, but where’s their alternative? The president added this morning, “We know that this jobs bill, based on independent analysis, could grow the economy almost an additional 2 percent. That could mean an additional 1.9 million jobs. Do they have a plan that would have a similar impact? Because if they do, I’m happy to hear it.”

The simple fact of the matter is, congressional Republicans don’t have a jobs plan. They don’t even pretend to. By all indications, nearly every aspect of the GOP approach to governance is predicated on the idea, at least in the short-term, of making unemployment worse.

This generally goes unsaid, especially by establishment media outlets. It was refreshing to hear Obama remind the political world of these relevant details.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • stormskies on October 06, 2011 3:09 PM:

    And I bet the biggest smirk was on the face of Chip "I am not a used corporate condom' Reid ........

  • Frank G on October 06, 2011 3:19 PM:

    oh silly rabbit, we all know the DC villagers arent going to ask such questions. it is not part of the preapproved script.

  • dj spellchecka on October 06, 2011 3:23 PM:

    this is the gop jobs bill we've been waiting for....

    palm beach post

    Florida Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, filed a bill this week to bring back "dwarf tossing," the barroom spectacle that was imported from Australia and thrived briefly in Florida before it was outlawed in 1989.

    "I'm on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people," Workman said. "This is an example of Big Brother government.

    "All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get," Workman said. "In this economy, or any economy, why would we want to prevent people from getting gainful employment?"


  • T2 on October 06, 2011 3:26 PM:

    yes it was encouraging to hear Obama tell it like it is. He needs to keep this up, challenge the GOPers for their own plan. I hope he calls another presser next week and asks Chip and all the rest "well, have any of you "Journalists" seen a GOP plan yet?"

    off topic, Rick Perry was on Fox and asked about Ni**erhead...
    I think there were very much some strong inconsistencies and just misinformation in that story, Perry told Fox News.
    That Rick, he sure has a handle on the English language.. I laugh at the pundits who keep saying he'll have to really "pick it up" at the next debate. What they've been seeing is Perry "picked up" ! That's all he's got to give.

  • Danp on October 06, 2011 3:35 PM:

    I suspect that within a few days, the Republicans will come out with a glossy 4 page flow chart with tax cuts, Luntzian phrases, and job killing regulations.

  • leo on October 06, 2011 4:06 PM:

    What Danp said.

    We already know the GOPer 'Jobs' Plan: cut taxes, end regulations, kill off entitlements and outlaw contraceptives -- perhaps not in that order.

  • JenelYB on October 06, 2011 11:26 PM:

    I am so GLAD President Obama has finally stopped trying to work compromise anf dind common ground for agreement with GOP members of Congress who have been making it clear from the start they had NO INTENTION of working with Obama or Democrats on ANYTHING, were determined to gridlock Washington just to 'prove Obama wrong' and willing to bring this nation to its knees to do it! Iy's long past due time for the kid gloves to come off and President Obama determine to get the job done with no further concern for any pretense on their part at trying to do anything good for this country!

  • R. on December 01, 2011 1:24 PM:

    How can you compromise with a Socialist. The problem with you doops is that you go by what the President says and not by what he does. He says the he wants to fix the deficit,
    but he has almost doubled it in three years. He says that he wants to create jobs , Meanwhile every policy that he implements does just the opposite. He says he wants to bring the country together. But he promotes class warfare.
    He brags about getting Binladen but is against the same policies that led us to finding him. He blames Republicans for everything but fails to tell you that the Dems. were in control of the Senate and the House for two years before the economic collapse.
    The Dems cried about how the rest of the world did not like us while Bush was president. And now they do not only not like us but they don't respect us either . And now he wants you
    to give him four more years of the same. WAKE UP.