July 6, 2010

Well the Republicans sure are on message this week with more denial that Keynesian economics had anything to do with our recovery from the Great Depression. Rep. Tom Price talked to Neil Cavuto fill-in Brian Sullivan about whether the Republicans are going to be perceived as heartless for refusing to extend unemployment benefits with the terrible job market we have in the United States right now and Price defends their actions by claiming that the Democrats economic policies have made the employment situation worse and that we need to get back to some "sane fiscal policy", by which I'm sure he means more tax breaks for the rich.

Paul Krugman did a good job of beating back this nonsense this week talking about why the stimulus didn't work since it wasn't large enough and of course that was going to give Republicans like Price to do exactly what he's doing here and say it didn't work.

Thom Hartmann talks about this on his radio show every week and here's an excerpt from one of his shows explaining why Republicans like Price are completely wrong about the type fiscal policies that create jobs.

You know, what’s happening is that Americans are figuring out, both on the left and the right, that to a large extent we don’t have America in America anymore. We don’t have the American Dream in America anymore. That, you know, when that great transition happened in the early 1980s where in the inaugural ball of 1976 Jimmy Carter walked the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue and invited average people to his Presidential ball versus four years later Ronald Reagan did the whole thing with pomp and circumstance and people had to pay an enormous amount of money and everybody was wearing $10-20,000 dollar ball gowns and it was like the royalty was back.

And it was the end of the celebration of the middle class. We had 50 years in the United States where we celebrated the middle class and we built the middle class. And the main thing that we used to build the middle class was a top marginal tax rate on people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who make more than 2 million dollars a year so that they were paying, you know the top tax rate was 74%. They were actually paying 51 ½ %. The average tax paid on somebody making more than 2 million dollars a year in 1980 was 51.6%, more than half.

So as a consequence of this, very wealthy people had an incentive to keep money in their businesses, to grow businesses, to build the infrastructure of America, to have a middle class, to not take enormous amounts of money out of this country and put it in Swiss bank accounts or build factories in China, but build American business. Now Reagan changed all that. And dropped that top tax rate down into the low 30s where it is now. And Clinton kicked it up three or four points for a couple of years and damn near balanced our budget and then Bush dropped it back down again. [...]

We are now at that point that the American middle class is in the midst of its own destruction and is turning into the American working poor. And the wealthy class have seized control of the levers of government, including the Obama administration. So how do we take this back? I think that, first of all I want to give you just a little bit more information on how the very powerful have achieved their victory in this class war, and it comes around, and then what we can do about it. Read on...

Of course our corporate media is never going to ask Tom Price or anyone else for proof that their idea of "sane fiscal policy" actually creates jobs. I'd also like to know if Tom Price was worried about the deficit spending for these two occupations of ours in the Middle East. I haven't heard a single Republican go on the air and talk about how spending for wars can't happen unless we balance the budget. Cuts to the poor and the unemployed however and they're playing deficit hawks. Just shameless.

Sullivan also failed to ask Price, if Republicans think the stimulus was a failure, why are they as Think Progress noted, taking credit for its success.

Transcript via Nexis Lexis below the fold.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, GUEST HOST: Well, the Senate expected to take up several spending plans next week, when lawmakers return from holiday break, including an extension of jobless benefits and aid to states.

The president says Republicans are holding more jobless relief -- quote -- "hostage."

Republican Congressmen Tom Price disagrees. And he is here.

Congressman Price, you just heard a Democratic strategist's point of view, saying, we need to spend more, that the government has got to pick up the slack in the job market.

Do you agree?

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: Boy, Brian, you know as well as I that no nation has ever borrowed and spent its way to prosperity. We're not about to be the first.

And all you have to do is look at the record. This administration, with Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid, has spent literally trillions of dollars. They have increased unemployment. They have increased our debt, and they promised that they would create jobs, and they promised that unemployment would not go above 8 percent.

But the record is completely different. And the American people need certainty in the job market right now, and they don't see it. Consequently, it's imperative that we step back and say, look, these policies right now of spending and borrowing aren't working. We need to put in place positive job-creation policies that we believe would stimulate the economy and create that economic productivity that is so vital out there in the market.

SULLIVAN: Private sector jobs have been created some, but not nearly to the point where we're going to get an economic recovery, and we still have 9.5 percent unemployment. And some people suggest we have nearly 20 percent under-employment.

Do you think the private sector is not hiring more aggressively, Congressman, because they're unsure about the economy or unsure about what Washington is going to do?

PRICE: Well, it's both. But, right now, it's that they don't know what Washington's going to do with the tax levels. The president has said that they will likely increase taxes at the end of the year, after the election. They don't won't to do it before the election. Surprise, surprise.

The job-creators aren't certain about what the full impact of the health care bill is going to be. What is that going to cost to their bottom line. They're not certain whether or not there's going to be a national energy tax. They're not certain about other taxes that will increase the burden on the job-creators across this nation.

And, so, if you're a business, large or small, out there right now, you're saying, look, I have just got to wait until I get some certainty on all -- in all this before I can begin to hire. That's not what we ought to be doing as a country. We ought to be incentivizing those job-creators, so that we can increase employment in the private sector, not the public sector, the private sector, across this nation.

SULLIVAN: But, to Tara's point, there are many families that are suffering, five job-seekers for every one job opening. How does the GOP get through this and not appear heartless? How do you tell somebody that their benefits are simply cut off, and that's it?

PRICE: Well, a couple points. One, the current -- the current proposal, the current solution that the administration and Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid have offered isn't working. Is it in fact prolonging the problems that we have in our economy and I believe deepening the problems that we're having.

So, we need to get to some sane fiscal policy. We need to get to the point where the job-creators are in fact incentivized. And then helping those that are hurting, you're absolutely right, needs to be done, but it needs to be done within the context of a budget and a prioritization of spending.

This Congress right now can't even pass a budget, refuses, as a matter of fact, to pass a budget. If we are going to utilize our resources to be able to provide some of that cover for folks who are hurting right now, that's an appropriate thing to do. But we ought to priority it. We ought to make sure it's paid for. We ought not go into debt doing that.

Congressman Tom Price, sir, thank you very much for joining us on "Your World."

PRICE: Thanks so much, Brian.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.