Jobs In The Republican Platform: Do The Infrastructure Projects They Blocked!

Dave Johnson

What does the (draft) Republican Platform say about creating jobs? The meat of the plan is to do the infrastructure projects they have been blocking!

The Record

Let’s look at the jobs proposals in the (draft) Republican platform. But first for context: In the last month of the Bush presidency the economy lost 815,000 jobs.

The first chapter of the The final language of the 2012 Republican Party Platform is titled, Restoring the American Dream:Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs.

The beginning of this section makes the claim that the current administration has enacted, “policies which, for the last three and a half years, have stifled growth,destroyed jobs, halted investment, created unprece-dented uncertainty, and prolonged the worst eco-nomic downturn since the Great Depression. “

Here is the record:

The Proposals

The platform offers a prescription for creating jobs:

The tax system must be simplified. Government spending and regulation must be reined in. American companies must be more competitive in the world market, and we must be aggressive in promoting U.S. products abroad and securing open markets for them. A federal-State-private partnership must invest in the nation’s infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, ports, and water systems, among others. Federal training programs have to be overhauled and made relevant for the workplace of the twenty-first century. Potential employers need certainty and predictability for their hiring decisions, and the team of a Republican President and Congress will create the confidence that will get Americans back to work.

Note that several of the following sections have little, if anything, to do with creating jobs. But they are in the job-creation section, so…

Taxes

From the draft platform, it’s all about more money for those who already have lots of it:

  • Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages—commonly known as the Bush tax cuts—pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, dividends, and capital gains;
  • Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner;
  • Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends,and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers;
  • End the Death Tax;
  • and Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Corporate taxes:

  • a reduction of thecorporate rate to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally, with a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax.
  • switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation
  • any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.

Cutting Spending

The “Balancing the Budget” section of the “job creation” chapter of the platform specifically calls for ending Medicare and replacing it with a voucher program, which the Romney/Ryan campaign denies is the plan:

Medicare, in particular, is the largest driver of future debt. Our reform of healthcare will empower mil-lions of seniors to control their personal healthcare decisions, unlike Obamacare that empowered a handful of bureaucrats to cut Medicare in ways that will deny care for the elderly.

(Note – the budget was balanced at the end of the Clinton presidency, before the very Bush tax cuts that the Republican platform calls for continuing and extending.)

The platform calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment, “a Constitutional amendment requiring asuper-majority for any tax increase, with exceptionsfor only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.”

Inflation And The Federal Reserve

The Republican platform is very concerned with the inflation problem, and says inflation “transfers wealth from Main Street to Wall Street.” (Actually, economists will explain that it does the opposite.)

The platform gets something right — it calls for transparency and accountability from the Federal Reserve, and an annual audit.

Gold Standard. To “clean up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a … commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.”

Housing

Apparently Obama caused the housing crash because it occurred “over the last four years.” The Obama administration has done little to clean up the mess, and made it worse by somehow, “discouraging private sector investment.”

Financial Regulation

Apparently the real job killer has been regulation of the financial industry:

“Making matters worse, the Congress, under Democrat control, enacted the Dodd-Frank Act, a massive labyrinth of costly new regulations that deter lenders from lending to creditworthy homebuyers and that disproportionately harms small and community banks.”

Government, not Wall Street caused the financial crisis. The job-creation section of the platform says:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a primary cause of the housing crisis because their implicit government guarantee allowed them to avoid market discipline and make risky investments. Their favored political status enriched their politically-connected executives and their shareholders at the expense of the nation.

The Meat Of The Plan: Do The Infrastructure Projects They Kept Obama From Doing

Finally the “job creation” section gets to its point: infrastructure, the very “government spending” that the Republicans have been blocking. Infrastructure is the “you didn’t build that” part of what government does to create the conditions for businesses to thrive.

America’s infrastructure networks are critical foreconomic growth, international competitiveness, and national security.

… What most Americans take for granted—the safety and availability of our water supply—is in perilous condition. Engineering surveys report crumbling drinking water systems, aging dams, and overwhelmed wastewater infrastructure. Investmentin these areas, as well as with levees and inland waterways, can renew communities, attract businesses,and create jobs. Most importantly, it can assure the health and safety of the American people.

Etc… This is the meat of the Republican plan to create jobs. If they are elected, they will begin a massive infrastructure maintenance and modernization effort, which will employ millions. This is precisely what they have been blocking President Obama from doing. It’s called The American Jobs Act.

Yahoo News: Republicans filibuster Obama infrastructure bill

Fifty-one senators voted for a measure to promote job growth by providing $60 billion to fund transportation projects and create a new infrastructure bank. … But because Republicans mounted a filibuster, 60 votes were needed to begin debate.

Austin American-Statesman: GOP filibuster blocks Obama’s jobs plan,

United against President Barack Obama, Senate Republicans voted Tuesday night to kill the jobs package the president had spent weeks campaigning for across the country, a stinging loss at the hands of lawmakers opposed to stimulus-style spending and a tax increase on the very wealthy.

AFL-CIO Blog: Republicans Prefer Filibuster to Putting Americans Back to Work,

All 46 Senate Republicans voted against President Obama’s American Jobs Act Monday evening. With 60 votes needed to end the Republican filibuster against the act that would create as many as 2 million new jobs and keep 280,000 teachers from being laid off. This bill is unlikely to see any other action.

The platform also calls for getting rid of Amtrack and stopping any further development of high-speed rail, so the oil companies can maintain dominance.

Trade

Along with calling for a a territorial system of corporate taxation, which gives companies incentive to move jobs and production out of the country, the Republican platform calls for more NAFTA-style trade agreements.

The platform calls for action to confront China over their currency manipulation, even as House Republican leadership is blocking the bill to confront China over currency manipulation, passed by the Senate and co-sponsored by over 60 House Republicans!

Worker Training

Even as they call for less government involvement, they call for government to take over from companies the responsibility to do more worker training.

They also call for replacing high-paid American professionals with lower-paid foreign workers, through “strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees inscience, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can a-sist in creating new services and products. “

Finally, Get Rid Of Unions

The last section of the “job creation” chapter of the platform calls for changing the National Labor Relations Board back into the Bush-era anti-union agency. Also,

We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty.

Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty.

They also propose prohibiting unions from political activity.

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