Kevin McCarthy And The GOP's Three Big Lies

Not that you need confirmation of the Republicans' bad faith in the current 'negotiation' or anything, but Kevin McCarthy's disingenuous performance on State of the Union with Candy Crowley yesterday puts it all into perspective. I'm not sure

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Not that you need confirmation of the Republicans' bad faith in the current 'negotiation' or anything, but Kevin McCarthy's disingenuous performance on State of the Union with Candy Crowley yesterday puts it all into perspective. I'm not sure what it's going to take to get people to shake their collective fists at Republicans, but at some point we need to start flooding them with protest letters over their conduct.

Here are McCarthy's big lies, told in the span of about 10 minutes.

Big Lie #1: House Republicans have passed 9 bills that would create 500,000 jobs

Please, don't spit coffee on your monitor/phone/ipad/device at that claim. I'm not sure what bills Republicans have passed that don't kill jobs, but here's what the man said:

So from the premise that where Republicans have been in the short time they have been in the majority, we've laid out a framework to put us on a new path. Energy policy reform, where we spend the money and create jobs here.

We've passed nine bills that would create more than half a million jobs that have been lingering in the Senate. So I don't think the premise of where we have been has always been out in front. There are not enough -- there are no votes on the Republican side. But even when the Democrats...

I went looking for the bills and I found this little bit of propaganda put out by John Boehner's office. Here are some of the bills they claim are stalled:

  • HR 1229, 1230 and 1231, overriding the President's moratorium on offshore drilling and expanding the scope and area allowed for offshore exploration.

    As part of those bills, offshore drilling would be expanded off the coast of Virginia, Florida and California. But of course, domestic oil production isn't really a job creator. In fact, our domestic oil production is higher than it's ever been. It is, however, a Koch Industries priority profit item.

  • Paul Ryan's budget plan
    For debunkery on this one, let's turn to John McCain's economic adviser, Mark Zandi, via our own Jon Perr:

    For his part, Moody's Mark Zandi concluded that the Ryan budget's draconian spending cuts supported by 235 House Republicans and 40 GOP Senators would make the job creation picture much, much worse. While acknowledging that "Congressman Ryan's budget plan is too heavy on near-term spending cuts, while President Obama's is too light on long-term deficit reduction," Zandi nevertheless warned that the Boehner party would lead the U.S. to a staggering loss of 1.7 million jobs over the next two years:

    In the Ryan plan, lower future deficits and debt result immediately in lower interest rates than under the president's plan. Ten-year Treasury yields are more than 60 basis points lower in 2012 and more than a percentage point lower by 2014. Yet this is not enough to offset the negative near-term economic consequences of the Ryan plan's more aggressive spending cuts. Real GDP in 2012 under the Ryan plan is $123 billion lower than in the president's plan and there are 900,000 fewer payroll jobs in the U.S. By 2014, real GDP is almost $200 billion lower and there are 1.7 million fewer jobs under the Ryan approach than is the case under the president's.

    Not seeing that 500,000 jobs yet. Still looking. Moving on to the next point....

  • Repealing Dodd-Frank Act, on the pretense that it kills jobs for "small business."

    McCarthy to Crowley:

    Economists will tell you if you raise taxes on small businesses, which are not growing right now, you only harm the economy more. So let's end the uncertainty.

    To be clear here, we are not talking about small businesses like Mom and Pop's Ice Cream Parlor down on Main Street. We are talking about small businesses like Koch Industries, a privately-owned company owned by a holding company, which is a Subchapter S corporation. Heather has more on that particular lie here. But again, repealing Dodd-Frank does not create jobs, no matter how long Wall Street and the financial sector hold their breath and stomp their feet.

And that's really all they've done. They've repealed a whole bunch of legislation that kills more jobs, passed a whole bunch of legislation that kills our environment, jobs and endangers the planet along with the economy, and of course, declared war on women with repeated passage of anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-family, anti-health bills.

Still not seeing that 500,000 jobs, so let's move on to his next lie.

Big Lie #2: Discretionary spending increased 73% in the last 3 years

This one won't take long to debunk. Paul Krugman:

The number comes from taking nondefense discretionary spending as reported — which rose 26 percent from 2008 to 2010 (Table 8.7) — and then adding the entire discretionary spending part of the stimulus.

Politifact says that this is misleading because not all of the stimulus funds were spent in 2010. But it’s much worse than that: stimulus spending is already in those discretionary spending numbers. If you look at the table, you’ll see bulges in spending on education and ground transportation that go away after 2011; that’s the stimulus.

So this GOP talking point is a complete fraud; it’s based on counting the same spending several times over.

Politifact concurs, rating this claim false.

Big Lie #3: Tax Cuts Stimulated the Economy

McCarthy:

CROWLEY: Well, you take all the blame. But the thing is, there just seems to me that there has to be some willingness to give, and I have not heard anything from you about, yes, you know what, I would go -- if we could get a deal that would cut 2.5 trillion in savings, I would agree to this on the revenue side. There's nothing on the revenue side you will agree to?

MCCARTHY: Well, you know, Candy, I've never found one tax increase that created a job. I have watched our economy sputter downward. I've been out across the American public, they want to go back to work. And I know those policies will fail. So in principle, no, we're not going to go there.

Now, I'm no brain surgeon but I can read a calendar. And what my calendar says over and over again is this: When tax rates were higher (1993-2000), there were more jobs, not less. The failed policies McCarthy refers to are the policies that cut taxes on the wealthy, wiped out a surplus, and set this country on a path to fiscal disaster. I don't think I need to produce the charts again, because we're all living it.

Which leads to the biggest lie of all, blending all three in to one neat package:

We are losing our jobs because we are spending too much.

No. We are losing our jobs because there is no incentive for anyone to let go of their cash, spend it or make investments in the future, from Fortune 500 public companies to private "small businesses" like Koch Industries. On the Fortune 500 side, there's no pain to simply keeping funds invested and receiving dividends, since that income is tax-privileged for high earners. On the high-end S-Corporation side, there is absolutely no incentive to spend money on anything when they can keep it by simply paying taxes at today's too low rates.

So repeat after me: We don't have a spending problem; we have a revenue problem. Lather, rinse, repeat, preach. Then go read Steve Benen's post, because we actually have another problem: Republicans are shirking their sworn duty.

All of this could go away in a heartbeat. Republicans could do, today, exactly what they did repeatedly during the Bush years: simply vote to raise the debt ceiling in a clean bill and move on. The entire process could take literally a few minutes.

But GOP officials don’t want to. They want to play a game in which the entire world could lose.

How is this not the biggest political scandal in modern American history? How is it that those who claim the high ground on patriotism could put our financial well being on the line, on purpose, when they don’t have to?

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