On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner took Barack Obama to task for the President's claim that he had not yet seen a jobs plan from Republicans. "I want to make sure," Boehner lectured the President, "you have all the facts."
As it turns out, this is one of those rare occasions where John Boehner is right. After all, that same day Boehner's Republican colleagues in the Senate introduced their own GOP jobs plan titled the "Jobs Through Growth Act." Of course, President Obama could be forgiven for assuming the GOP had nothing new to say on the subject of the economy. Because as a quick glance reveals, John McCain's new "Jobs Through Growth Act" like Eric Cantor's "House Republican Plan for America's Job Creators" is just a cynical rehash of the same tried and untrue policies the GOP has been pushing for years.
That the Senate Republicans' ersatz plan is a merely a repackaging of a years-old Republican wish list is apparent from the description on John McCain's web site. It's not merely a litany of existing GOP legislation; the call for upper class tax cuts, cutting federal regulations and tort reform could have come straight out of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign playbook. And the demands for steep spending cuts, a balanced budget amendment, 25% tax rates for individuals and corporations and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act are just a copy and paste from the Republicans' Ryan budget, the GOP "Pledge to America", the Tea Party "Contract from America" and other recent conservative manifestoes mercifully consigned to the dustbin of history.
Of course, if you think you've heard this story before, that's because you have.
When John Boehner unveiled the GOP Pledge to America last September, the Daily Beast aptly referred to the Republicans' 2010 midterm platform as the "bastard child" of the 1994 Contract with America. And when Eric Cantor and the GOP House leadership team with great fanfare announced their "Plan for America's Job Creators" in May, it was greeted with the derision it rightly deserved.
As Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman and Steve Benen among others noted, the "Plan for America's Job Creators" is simply a repackaging of years of previous proposals and GOP bromides. (As Klein pointed out, the 10 page document "looks like the staffer in charge forgot the assignment was due on Thursday rather than Friday, and so cranked the font up to 24 and began dumping clip art to pad out the plan.") At the center of it is the same plan from the Ryan House budget passed in April to cut the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25%.
(Nevertheless, Cantor insisted Sunday that lowering tax rates for the wealthy is the key to reducing income inequality, declaring "We need to encourage those on the top income scale to create more jobs.")
Now, just five months later, Senate Republicans essentially relaunched the House GOP plan with a different name. As Politico described it:
[The plan] amounts to a conservative's dream agenda: targeting labor and environmental regulations, enacting a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, lowering corporate and individual tax rates, encouraging energy production and expanding free trade.
Sadly for America, that Republican blueprint has a proven track record of failure.
President Bush's tax cuts didn't produce many jobs from America's supposed job creators. But they did produce a mountain of debt, record income inequality and the lowest federal tax burden as a percentage of the economy since 1950. (The loopholes Republicans' propose to close along with their reduction in tax rates remain, as ever, unspecified.) Moody's economist and former McCain adviser Mark Zandi forecast that the draconian spending cuts in the Ryan budget supported by 235 House Republicans and 40 GOP Senators would mean that in 2014 "real GDP is almost $200 billion lower and there are 1.7 million fewer jobs." And while the CBO concluded August's debt ceiling deal would further trim jobs and economic growth, the carnage from the GOP's phony "Cut, Cap and Balance" balanced budget amendment would be even worse for the U.S. employment picture.
Despite GOP talking points about "job-killing regulations," Labor Department studies and recent surveys of small business owners show federal regulations far down the list of concerns. (So much for John McCain's addled claim Thursday that the Senate GOP plan would save businesses "billions and billions of jobs.") Medical malpractice litigation, which drives only a negligible fraction of the nation's health care costs, is nevertheless still used against that Democratic-friendly constituency, trial lawyers. The list goes on and on.
In whatever its latest incarnation, the Republican plan for the boosting the economy and job creating jobs is a disaster. But in John Boehner's defense, his memory isn't half-bad. As TPM noted of his conversation with President Obama Thursday:
The Speaker reminded the President that House Republicans put forth a 'Plan for America's Job Creators' in May, and noted that he and other members of the GOP leadership team have spoken with the President and his staff about the plan and referenced it on numerous occasions, in letters and elsewhere.
On numerous occasions, that is, over many, many years. But the Republicans' repetition of their toxic prescription for the American economy doesn't make it any less deadly.