Jeb Hensarling Still Pretending That Deficit is Inhibiting Job Creation
Of course these guys are never asked to give a lick of evidence when they repeat things like this, but Jeb Hensarling is still rolling out the tired Republican talking point that American companies are not creating jobs because of fears about their taxes going up due to the country's deficit. I thought they created jobs because there was a demand for their products. And these big multi-national corporations are not going to create jobs in America when we reward them for shipping jobs overseas.
Of course all Chris Wallace did here is badger both Hensarling and Dick Durbin about why they weren't willing to make even more cuts to the budget. The demands of the TeaBirchers must be met, never mind that most of the public doesn't support them going after our social safety nets.
Hensarling was also still touting Paul Ryan's horrible Road Map for America which Jon wrote about here -- GOP Budget Proposes to Ration Medicare, Privatize Social Security.
And we need a better response to this than what we're getting from the White House and the Democrats which is saying they'll meet the Republicans halfway. Halfway still means making a wreck of the economy and destroying jobs.
WALLACE: Congressman Hensarling, let me try again with you. Let's look at some of the GOP's proposed cuts that Senator Durbin keeps talking about: $2 billion from jobs training in the middle of a weak recovery; $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health; $600 million from border security and immigration enforcement. Really? Cuts in job training and border security?
HENSARLING: Well, a couple of things, Chris. No. 1, at some point you've got to quit spending money that you don't have. We've just come off our first trillion-dollar deficit. Our second trillion- dollar deficit now under President Obama and the Democrats, the single largest deficit in America's history.
Now Dick says everything has to be on the table, but under their plan, nothing is on the table.
Now here's what we have done as House Republicans. We know that the best housing program, the best education program, the best nutrition program is a job. And there's still millions of our fellow Americans who are out of work due to the economic policies of his party and President Obama.
You talk to any of the job creators, and they'll tell you one of the things that concerns them the most is the debt. And so high levels of indebtedness are going to lead to high levels of taxation, which lead to high level of unemployment.
If you really want to get people to have paychecks instead of government checks, we've got to put the nation on a fiscally sustainable course. And when Dick talks about, or accuses us of draconian cuts, yes, this is 2.5 percent, roughly, of the entire federal budget. They're willing to do nothing. Again if you want to help people (ph) today and save children from bankruptcy tomorrow...
WALLACE: Let me -- let me break in -- Congressmen, I've got to break -- Congressman -- Congressman, I've got to break in. Because one of the points that Senator Durbin made, and a lot of people would say this, is that the problem is that you're focusing on 15 percent of the budget, non-defense, discretionary spending, and you're ignoring all the big money in entitlements.
Now Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke to the Wall Street Journal this week. And he said, and this is their paraphrase, "the budget is likely to contain cost containment goals for entitlements but no specific ideas on how to achieve them."
Congressman Hensarling, is that the best Republicans can do? Containment goals but no specific plans?
HENSARLING: Well, what I'd like to do is be able to work with Democrats to reform current entitlement programs for future generations, grandfathering all the grandparents.
And yes, Dick and I were appointees to the president's Fiscal Responsibility Commission. I hope he would agree with me that, if you're ever going to put America on a fiscally sustainable path where we don't destroy the American dream for our children, which means giving them less opportunity than we've had, these have got to be addressed. I mean, Republicans have already done this. For example, Paul Ryan in Wisconsin putting forth his particular plan, which I have co- sponsored, Roadmap for America's Future.
WALLACE: But let me...
HENSARLING: And yet, we have a president who has not led. We only have one president, and instead, all he presents us is trillions of dollars of more debt.
WALLACE: OK. We've got a couple of minutes left, and I'm going to try again with the question that I asked at the very beginning, which I didn't get an answer to, quite frankly, gentlemen, from either of you.
Congressman Hensarling, as part of the GOP -- House GOP leadership, you not only have to deal with the Democrats; you also have to deal with your Tea Party freshmen. If you come back to them with a compromise as a result of these budget talks, a compromise of less than $61 billion in cuts, in real spending, this year, will they support it, and will you support it?
HENSARLING: Well, all I can say is here's what we're going to fight for. I'm not going to negotiate this on national television today. We're going to fight for, again, is putting America on a fiscally sustainable path to help create jobs today, save our children from bankruptcy tomorrow.
Unfortunately, we well know Republicans only control one of three levers of law-making. The Democrats have the Senate. The Democrats have the White House. Nobody wants to shut down the government.
But one thing is non-negotiable, as our speaker said. We will not pass bills that don't create savings for the American people, create confidence for American job creators...
HENSARLING: ... so we can start creating more jobs in the economy. That simple.
WALLACE: And Senator Durbin, in the time we have left, and it's less than a minute, I'm going to try again with you. You're at this point of $10.5 billion. The White House and Senate Democrats. Are you willing to accept more in cuts than $10.5 billion?
DURBIN: I can tell you personally I'm willing to see more deficit reduction but not out of domestic discretionary spending. When you're cutting education, innovation and infrastructure, you're not dealing with the reality of this recession. Paul Zandy (ph) has basically told us we're going to have 700,000 Americans out of work because of the House Republican budget. That doesn't help us get out of the recession.
WALLACE: OK. Just real quickly, then you're saying $10.5 billion in domestic, non-defense discretionary spending, that's it?
DURBIN: I think we've pushed this to the limit. To go any further is to push more kids out of school, to stifle the innovation which small businesses and large alike need to create more jobs. And it stops the investment of infrastructure, which kills good-paying jobs right here in the United States.
WALLACE: Gentlemen, I'm going to have to leave it there. I want to thank you both so much. Congressman Hensarling, Senator Durbin, thank you both for coming in and talking with us. And we'll stay on top of these budget negotiations. Thanks, gentlemen.