Monday, February 28, 2011

WaPo- Ezra Klein | How is the GOP planning to create jobs, again?

How much does the GOP care about jobs?

A lot, if you listen to what they say. "House Republicans' top priority is helping to create jobs," declares Michael Steel, John Boehner's spokesman. Or watch the video atop this post, which records one Republican legislator after the next demands to know "where are the jobs." Case closed, right?

But look at what they're trying to do. Goldman Sachs says that if the GOP's spending cuts pass, "the drag on GDP growth from federal fiscal policy would increase by 1.5pp to 2pp in Q2 and Q3." That is to say, GDP growth would fall by 1.5 to 2 percentage points on an annual basis. That's horrifying.

And Goldman Sachs isn't alone. Macroeconomic forecaster Mark Zandi estimates that the GOP's spending cuts would "destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012." That's a lot of jobs. And it's not by making people richer or making it easier to retire early, as is true when the GOP talks about the "job-destroying health-care bill." It's by firing public employees and sucking demand out of the economy.

You could say, perhaps, that the GOP is taking a longer-range view: they're willing to lose jobs now to prevent a debt crisis later. But their efforts to repeal the health-care law will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, add more than $200 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years, while their spending cuts would remove merely $64 billion. And they want to extend all the Bush tax cuts -- without offsets -- at a cost of $4 trillion or so to the deficit over 10 years. So it's hard to take their stated concern for the deficit seriously, either.

I'm not going to ask "where are the jobs?" The House Republicans have only been in office for a few months, and they don't control the whole of the government. What I do want to know is where is the policy that would create jobs?

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