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October 17, 2011 2:05 PM Cantor tries (and fails) to talk about jobs

By Steve Benen

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sat down with Fox News’ Chris Wallace yesterday, and the “Fox News Sunday” made an effort to get the Republican leader to talk about job creation in a little depth. We know what GOP officials think about the issue, and while Wallace went out of his way to lend credence to Republican talking points, he at least tried to find out why.

The host asked, for example, “Let’s look at the president’s job’s plan, which was blocked in the Senate this week. Here it is — $245 billion in tax cuts in incentives, $140 billion in new spending on infrastructure and aid to states, $62 billion in aid to the unemployed. Question: what’s wrong with that plan?”

Cantor avoided answering directly, claiming that people on “both sides of the aisle” resisted the bill, before arguing, “We’re not going to be for tax increases on small businesses. [Obama] knows that.”

The president’s jobs bill cut taxes on small business. The oft-confused Majority Leader got this key detail backwards.

Cantor added that both sides should “work together” on Republican ideas like the “Plan for America’s Job Creators.” As we talked about last week, even the right should be able to understand that the GOP “plan” is a transparent joke.

Wallace proceeded to press Cantor on each of the key parts of the American Jobs Act, asking, “For or against it?” Starting with infrastructure investments, Cantor wouldn’t support public spending, but would support “redoing the permitting process.”

How about $35 billion for states so that they don’t have to lay off teachers, police and firefighters? Cantor rejected the very idea because the funds “are the type of programs that the president advocated in the stimulus program.” That’s not an answer, but the Republican leader seemed to think it was.

When the discussion turned to the Republican alternative, Wallace asked Cantor why his approach would be more effective. Cantor couldn’t say. It led to this exchange:

WALLACE: All right. But here’s the issue: the president points out that Moody’s Analytics, one of the top economic consulting firms, scored his plan, figured at what impact it would have, and says it would add 1.9 million jobs next year and grow the economy by an addition 2 percent…. Congressman Cantor, do you have an independent analysis that shows how this plan would grow the economy and add jobs?

CANTOR: First of all, I would say as to the Moody’s economist that the president speaks to, they and their chief economist was the one that predicted that the stimulus program would keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. So, I think we need to raise some questions about that assessment of his.

WALLACE: In fairness, he was an economic adviser to John McCain in 2008, Mark Zandi, and the fact there’s a lot of the private economic firms that say whether it’s 1 percent or 2 percent growth, a million jobs, 2 million jobs, that it would have some stimulative affect.

CANTOR: Let’s look at this. There has —

WALLACE: Here’s a question, do you have independent scoring of what your plan does?

Cantor didn’t answer. He couldn’t.

There’s an opportunity here for a simple exercise: the parties present plans to create jobs, and allow them to be subjected to independent scrutiny. Make the results available to the public: which plan boost the economy more, create more jobs, lower unemployment more, etc. The Obama White House is clearly ready for this.

But Republicans aren’t. As we discussed last week, shouldn’t it tell the political world something important when there are two alternatives to job creation, and one is terrified of economic analysis and examination?

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.

Comments

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  • Burr Deming on October 17, 2011 2:15 PM:

    Republicans are talking about the outrageous suggestion of Republican bad faith on economic recovery. How can anyone doubt them?

  • c u n d gulag on October 17, 2011 2:23 PM:

    "The oft-confused Majority Leader got this key detail backwards."

    You're way too polite, Steve, so I'll say it for you:

    'The Majority Leader doesn't have this key detail backwards, he's just f*cking lying, same as he always does.'

  • Curmudgeon on October 17, 2011 2:24 PM:

    Holy Mother Mary! Did someone beam down a liberal blogger in a Chris Wallace suit or something? It takes my breath away that he asked exactly the right questions and keep hammering away like that. Cantor must have been spewing molten lava when it was over.

    Of course it won't help the foaming radicals of the Republican party but it might just put a shadow of doubt in others for whom reality still has a tiny foothold.

  • OldUncleDave on October 17, 2011 2:31 PM:

    The GOP have become like the underpants gnomes of South Park.

    Phase 1 - Cut taxes and regulations
    Phase 2 - ?
    Phase 3 - Economic Recovery

  • chi res on October 17, 2011 2:32 PM:

    There's only one honest reason that Cantor and other Republicans reject the President's plan: It's the President's plan.

  • Josef K on October 17, 2011 2:32 PM:

    The president’s jobs bill cut taxes on small business. The oft-confused Majority Leader got this key detail backwards.

    Surely even Eric Ivan Cantor can't be that confused as to get this point wrong. Its just not genetically possible to be that big an idiot.

    Right?

  • Gretchen on October 17, 2011 2:33 PM:

    Fox news called bullshit on Eric Cantor? Wow. The tide may be turning.

  • Ladyhawke on October 17, 2011 2:48 PM:

    @Gretchen Fox news called bullshit on Eric Cantor? Wow. The tide may be turning.

    FOR ME, THAT'S THE NEWS IN THIS POST.....

    I am absolutely astonished that Chris Wallace actually asked those questions AND FOLLOW-UPS. I just can't get over that. That to me is the story here. When's the last time anyone saw a GOP pol get challenged when making outlandish claims and none responses to questions?

    It's really getting weird when Chris Wallace seems to have done his homework. I expect this will be a rare occurrence. But the thought of Eric Cantor being asked the pertinent questions with obvious follow-ups (even though he didn't answer the questions) is terrific.

  • ComradeAnon on October 17, 2011 2:59 PM:

    Maybe Chris was doing Boner's bidding by sacrificing Cantor. I'm sure the next guest will be much better at answering than Cantor.

  • Live Free or Die on October 17, 2011 3:06 PM:

    @ Steve B:

    "So, a question: Shouldn’t the view of economists on this rather important question — whether Republicans are making a legitimate contribution to the debate about what to do about the short term economic crisis — be part of the discussion here?”

    No. The media not allowed to report a scoring of the GOP plan. It would make them "liberals", and mess up the "he said/she said", both sides do it meme. Steve, dont you understand the way things work in the media?

  • packeryman on October 17, 2011 4:11 PM:

    There is only one answer to this insanity on the right, vote out Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and all the bible thumping religious fanatics and tea bagging fools. That is most of the Republican party. These people have taken the party to the far right as was done in 1964 with Goldwater, but then they were called John Bircher's. They all still have the same far right political ideology cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations, deregulate so corporate can rape and pillage the fast disappearing middle class, get rid of all social safety net programs, lower the minimum wage, get rid of 40hr work week, pensions, annuities, unemployment compensation, workmen's compensation, vacations and etc. These people want to claim they can't man their jobs and need H1-B visa foreign workers, that is due to the fact they don't wont to pay a living wage and they can hire all day from abroad for 18 to $20,000 less annually. Free trade has killed the middle class and the return of industry is the only way we will ever employ most again.But the minute a politician starts to talk about what it would take to move industry back, he has signed his death warrant politically.VOTE OUT ALL REPUBLICANS IN 2012!

  • Morzer on October 17, 2011 5:00 PM:

    Who are you and what have you done with Chris Wallace?

  • Bill on October 18, 2011 7:01 AM:

    sounds like Chris Wallace is more critical than most other media on this sham. wow!

  • Dan Pangburn on October 18, 2011 10:19 AM:

    Divide 447 billion dollars by 1.9 million jobs. Comes to over $235,000 per job.

  • toowearyforoutrage on October 19, 2011 7:44 AM:

    Right, Pangburn.
    All $235 grand goes to salaries when you build roads, bridges and railroad tracks.

    There'd be more jobs if conservatives didn't insist that huge chunks of stimulus be spent on less-effective tax cuts, but we Socialists do the best we can with what y'all allow.

    Can we kindly get more original trolls, please?


    Fox News badgers Republican leaders...
    Isn't this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?
    Is Wallace's life insurance paid up? This is the kind of

  • toowearyforoutrage on October 19, 2011 7:46 AM:

    Right, Pangburn.
    All $235 grand goes to salaries when you build roads, bridges and railroad tracks.

    There'd be more jobs if conservatives didn't insist that huge chunks of stimulus be spent on less-effective tax cuts, but we Socialists do the best we can with what y'all allow.

    Can we kindly get more original trolls, please?


    Fox News badgers Republican leaders...
    Isn't this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?
    Wonder if Wallace has been supporting unemployment insurance. It may serve him well shortly.

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