The Republicans have a plan for governing, after all. Called the “Pledge to America,” the plan calls for repealing the health care law, extending tax cuts for the rich, freezing a wee bit of government spending, posting proposed bills online and citing the constitutional authority allowing any proposed legislation.
There are a couple of other provisions — including a promise to “respect life and traditional marriage” that appeals to the party’s base of social conservatives. Mostly, the entire pledge is standard boilerplate, repeating some parts of the Declaration of Independence and July 4th speeches about the greatness of America.
But the most fascinating thing about the document is that it has absolutely no credible ideas for creating jobs or eliminating the deficit. None. Not one.
The wretched condition of the economy is the single issue that stirs most voters. It explains much of the anger, anxiety and hopelessness abroad in the land. It also explains why Republicans stand a good chance of taking over the House of Representatives.
And what would the GOP do? Repeal health care, which would have zero effect. Correction: The WaPo’s Ezra Klein is right, while I’m wrong about health care. The law “bends the curve” a bit and reduces the deficit. so repealing it would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The GOP would freeze just a bit of discretionary spending, which might increase the unemployment rate while having virtually no effect on the deficit.
But the dumbest and least credible part of the plan calls for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two per cent of Americans — the very tax cuts that led to the sea of red ink in which we are currently drowning. There are no — repeat, NO — credible economists who believe extending those tax cuts will lead to an era of prosperity and job creation.
We’ve already seen how those tax cuts worked. They created the “lost decade” of no net jobs growth. From a Washington Post story written in Jan. 2010:
There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.
Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
I’ve read stories of ancient peoples who, faced with calamity, turned to spells, cast out demons, burned “witches” at the stake or killed all their cattle — all in a futile effort of do something, anything, to relieve their misery. The GOP is in such a moment, turning to voodoo economics.