fresh voices from the front lines of change







Republicans were triumphant in this year’s election in part by arguing they would do a better job at creating jobs.

But what have they been prioritizing since they won? What are they actually proposing to do now?

Here are the biggest actions Republican have taken since Election Day. See if you can guess what’s missing:

1. Defund NPR. Last week, House Republicans tried to pass legislation that would strip NPR of all federal funding. Why?

As The Hill reported, “Republicans had indicated that they sought to take action against NPR after it dismissed news analyst Juan Williams for making controversial remarks about Muslims.”

So because conservatives hate NPR for firing a Fox News personality, House Republicans put aside their stated concerns about high unemployment to make a personal vendetta their top priority.

2. Block unemployment insurance extensions. But if House Republicans are actually concerned about high unemployment, they clearly are not concerned about actual unemployed people.

Last week they prevented Democrats from using a fast-track procedure to ensure long-term unemployed Americans don’t get cut off from assistance, during a time when there are far more jobless than jobs.

While Republicans claim we can’t afford to spend another $12.5 billion on the unemployed, they are quite adamant we spend $700 billion over the next 10 years on another constituency…

3. Protect the Bush tax cuts for multimillionaires. Even though extending the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 would greatly add to the national debt, without doing anything to invest in America’s Future, Republicans have refused every compromise proposal on the grounds that compromise would eventually lead to ending this handout to the wealthiest.

2. Stop the Fed from caring about jobs. After the Federal Reserve employed a new tactic to lower longer-term interest rates that is projected to create up to 1 million jobs, top Republicans called for changing the law that requires the Fed to pursue full employment.

As economist Mark Thoma noted, if Republicans oppose Congress using fiscal policy to create jobs, and the Fed from using monetary policy to create jobs, well, that’s it. Those are the two basic tools government has to create jobs.

1. Pain. Newly elected GOP governors sound practically giddy at the prospect of slashing government services and public sector jobs … which I would remind you, are actual jobs.

As Bloomberg reported recently:

“Why do you exist?” Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Corbett said that he would ask every state agency when he spoke yesterday at the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego.

New Mexico Governor-elect Susana Martinez said she would reduce the public payroll by 5 percent through attrition to deal with a deficit she said recently nearly doubled to $452 million on $5.6 billion in revenue next year …

South Carolina Governor-elect Nikki Haley, a state representative, said she beat candidates with more name recognition by telling voters that she would reduce the size of government. “We need to be honest and say, ‘This is going to hurt,’” said Haley, when asked how she will explain cuts.

These incoming governors are citing NJ Gov. Chris Christie as their inspiration. But as Stateline reports today, Gov. Christie is not just inflicting real pain, he’s also using budget gimmicks to pretend his pain is helping balance the budget:

Some of Christie’s budget fixes look a lot like tax hikes to the people on the receiving end of them.

They include the working poor who will pay higher income taxes due to reductions in the state earned-income tax credit; homeowners who didn’t get their customary rebates on property taxes this year; transit riders who are paying substantially higher fares; and university students who must pay higher tuition. And although Christie promised in March to “not shove today’s problems under the rug only to be discovered again tomorrow,” his plan leaned heavily on the familiar Trenton budget trick of skipping a required payment to the state’s pension fund, which is already $48 billion underfunded.

What’s more, some of Christie’s spending reductions aren’t as clear-cut as they might seem. As Stateline reported last week, Christie’s budget assumes tens of millions of dollars in savings from privatization that has yet to occur.

Meanwhile, Gov. Christie killed a regional plan for an additional tunnel to New York City which would have created 6,000 construction jobs now and thousands more to keep it operating.

Of course, these same Republicans are repeating the usual mantra that less government spending, less regulation on business and lower taxes on the wealthy is their jobs plan. But that is ideological boilerplate, not a real jobs plan.

And it completely ignores the fact we did it their way in the last decade, and we had, according to the Wall Street Journal no less, “The Worst Track Record On Record” in creating jobs.

The new Republicans have offered nothing new on jobs. And their priorities so far have ranged from personal vendettas to making currently jobless people suffer more to creating more jobless people.

We’ll see where they go from here.

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