House Republicans unveiled a jobs plan Thursday morning that they say will boost the economy without raising taxes. What they’re really trying to do is steer the public’s attention from their narrow focus on spending cuts and controversial proposal to reform Medicare to the issue that a majority of Americans care about most—jobs.
“Since the moment the American people entrusted us with the majority, our focus has been on job creation,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Americans continue to look at all of the stimulus spending that was enacted under the current administration and are asking the question, ‘Well, then, where are the jobs?’”
They may ask the same question after reviewing the “House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators.” Indeed, the cynics among us might rename the proposal the “House Republican Plan for People Who Don’t Need Jobs.”
Either way, the plan calls for reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses; lowering the tax rate for businesses and individuals to no more than 25 percent; and passing pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which the GOP predicts would create up to 250,000 jobs. It also calls for streamlining the patent system and making significant spending cuts. If all of this seems familiar, that’s because it’s essentially a remix of the Pledge to America that the Republicans crafted when they regained the majority last fall.
“Just because we proposed it in the past doesn’t mean it was not a good idea. The fact is we’ve had a lot of good ideas,” Boehner said. “We’re trying to package this in a way where the American people understand what it’s going to take in terms of changing policies here that will create jobs in America.”
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, thinks their hearts are in the right places, but the GOP’s so-called jobs agenda is no more than a thinly veiled attempt to thwart criticisms that they’ve done nothing about jobs.
“I think it’s just that simple,” Cleaver said. “If they were serious, they would have been working with the Labor Department, organized labor, Wall Street in an attempt to figure out how we can get jobs now.”
Moreover, he said, if what they’re proposing would “somehow miraculously create jobs” it would take months or even a year “and the people who are unemployed can’t wait that long. They need help now.”
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)