A Lemon of a Pledge

September 24th, 2010

The new Republican “Contract on America” “Pledge to America” is out. Guess what? Republicans are promising to do all the things they have been promising to do for years, but didn’t do despite having control of the House, Senate, and the presidency for several years.

And what Republican legislative proposal would be complete without a pledge to cut spending without specifics as to how they’ll do it? Oh, and they also won’t promise to stop using earmarks, the GOP’s signature spending-spree tool when they had control last time. Whee!

Of course, they say they’ll restore jobs, like they did when they drove unemployment up to 10%. And they had strong words of condemnation for Obama’s job-creation skills:

Mr. Boehner described the administration’s policies as “job killing” and said “the American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ ”

Well, let’s take a look at the jobs reports from that last half year of the Bush administration followed by the first year or so of the Obama administration:

Oh, hey, there are the jobs!

They were created by the stimulus, although the stimulus was–as predicted from the outset–too small, and so it ran out of gas before the job was completely done. And who cut the stimulus down in size? The Republicans! Yeah, let’s put them in charge of creating jobs!

In fact, the Republican plan actually says it will kill the remaining stimulus funds! The same funds that Republicans have been trying as hard as they can to take credit for with their constituents!

Yes, I am sure that keeping taxes for millionaires lower than they’ve been in living history while the government starves for revenue will do the job perfectly. After all, if you don’t repeal the Estate tax and Paris Hilton gets only a ginormous fortune instead of an even more ginormous fortune, millions of Americans will lose their jobs.

Let’s see some of their proposals:

“Stop job-killing tax hikes”–that would be the Republican-mandated return to tax levels we had during the 90’s, when we had the greatest job creation surge in recent history.

A “small businesses tax deduction”–Hmm, interesting, as the Republicans did their best to kill a $30 billion tax cut for small businesses just a few weeks ago. Sounds like they’re dedicated to this.

“Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit”–you mean, like the hundreds of billions of dollars they added to the deficit and the trillions they added to the debt? Yeah, that’ll happen. Especially since they’re going to bring back earmarks full-force.

“Repeal and Replace health care”–yeah, because the Republican health care plan we saw last year was so great, costing way more than the Democratic plan with far fewer benefits. Good idea.

…you get the idea. The rest of the list is here, along with the full text and link to the PDF of the whole thing.

All of this is BS, of course; the GOP won’t pull off a two-house takeover, and they only thing they’ll do is (a) start time- and money-wasting investigations and hearing over Obama’s birth certificate and equally lame stuff, (b) make empty legislative gestures they know will never get anywhere but they can claim were great things killed by Democrats, and (c) obstruct even more than now, even to the point of shutting down the government.

That’s their actual agenda, no matter what crap they claim in their latest PR scheme. And I promise you this: it will kill jobs, not create them.

The answer is as it has been, bolstered by real, actual numbers:

  1. Dan
    September 24th, 2010 at 01:45 | #1

    This article is junk, unfactual, one sided and wrong.

  2. Troy
    September 24th, 2010 at 02:03 | #2

    Nice try Republican National Committee

  3. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2010 at 02:28 | #3

    Your an idiot

  4. Troy
    September 24th, 2010 at 03:03 | #4

    One thing though, Luis, is that things aren’t quite as nice as your graph implies.


  5. Luis
    September 24th, 2010 at 09:18 | #5

    Dan: Thank you for your in-depth, fact-rich rebuttal.

    Troy: As you say, not as rosy as it was looking 4-5 months ago–but then, I did point that out myself. I mention right after the graph that the stimulus ran out of gas, because, as many have noted, the stimulus was made too small. We needed more, but the GOP put the kibosh on it, and are now trying to kill what’s left.

    The fact remains that had Obama and the Dems not passed the stimulus when they did, the nation would have taken a body blow–far more than Bush handed it as he left office.

    Even the chart you point to showed a stop and sudden reversal–again, before things ran out of gas. Just like the monthly jobs reports. As the recent report suggests, we are now out of the recession–but still not completely out of the deep, dark hole Bush and the Republicans dug for us.

    What has happened is simple: the GOP dug this deep ditch and drove America straight into it–perhaps not intentionally, but certainly carelessly as they tended to their special interests rather than to the nation as a whole. The Dems took over and tried to bring us out of the ditch–with the GOP scratching and clawing and pulling us down every step of the way. The Dems were weak not in the direction they took or the way they tried to do it, but rather simply in how they allowed the Republicans to get away with as much of their clawing and pulling that they did.

    And despite that weakness, despite the GOP’s best efforts to intentionally sbotage everything the Dems tried to help the country, Obama and the Democrats still managed to turn a 750,000-jobs-a-month hemorrhage into job gains, before the Republican clawing brought our heads just below the surface again. We got a health care bill passed–a relatively weak one, but with some important provisions, more than any president has gotten passed in decades–all despite more than a year of the most impressive filibustering and obstructionism we’ve seen in all of American history.

    This is the most depressing thing to me: the Dems’ only weakness is NOT their policies, NOT their direction, NOT their intent–just their inability to stand up to the destructive Republican drive. If there has been failure, it was because of what the GOP had done in years past and what the GOP has done since.

    And that’s the most frustrating thing: they are gleefully profiting from their attempts to sabotage the recovery. The GOP has said so: they wanted the Dems to fail, even if it meant that America fails. Obstructionism “works for us,” they said aloud. They were pretty successful–they damaged the nation badly–and now they’re going around boasting about how bad a job the Dems did, and putting up billboards of Bush saying “Miss Me Yet?”

    That infuriates me. They trash the nation, then sabotage the recovery, and then ask everyone if they miss the trashing because of how things suck now because of their sabotage.

  6. Troy
    September 24th, 2010 at 11:48 | #6

    (“social ist” spam trap, reposting)

    I agree with everything you say on the general level but here’s my take on the specifics…

    but still not completely out of the deep, dark hole Bush and the Republicans dug for us

    On the household finance side, We The People borrowed the money to buy the rope to hang ourselves via the housing bubble.

    This is exactly what happened in Japan in the late 80s . . . if you can find it, rent 「それでも家を買いました」


    it’s a pretty great capsule of the madness of the bubble in Japan. I saw it in the US in 1991 and it really stuck with me.

    Anyhoo. It was the same general lack of industry oversight and/or blind belief in the magic of unregulated industries that created the S&L crisis (and Enron/Worldcom scandals).

    I don’t think Republicans running the system really believe their own BS but they do know that giving 5 years for the system to ruin itself in overexpansion works well for them personally, and that’s all that matters to them. The aftermath of the ’91 crackup allowed Clinton to win in ’92 but the Republicans creeped back into power running on their populist BS in 1994.

    So overall much of the growth since 1997 or so has been on borrowed money and now we are on borrowed time. The middle class is stuck with the $10T in added debt and the upper class and foreign trading powers have the money that was created by this debt.

    There is no easy solution to this problem, as a similar “balance sheet recession” has gripped Japan since 1993 or so.

    They trash the nation, then sabotage the recovery, and then ask everyone if they miss the trashing because of how things suck now because of their sabotage

    Well, if We The People fall for this, who’s really to blame?

    On another site Rand Paul’s statement: “In 1923, when they destroyed the currency, they elected Hitler.” and the discussion it prompted got me to actually research Weimar Germany to some extent, since I have read a lot about WW I and the 30s but very little about the 1920s. What I found fascinating about the 1920s is that it is a signal example of how Democracy can simply fail. There were five forces in pre-Hitler Germany: The extreme right, the moderate right, the center, the moderate left, and the extreme left. Basically NSDAP, some small conservative factions, the Center Party (a purely Catholic “lay” party but sizeable), the Democratic Social ists, and the Communists. The extremes wanted overthrow of the constitution and installation of their favored government.

    In Weimar inflation event happened in 1922-23 and was not a matter of government going out of control but a response to the immediate postwar difficulties of dealing with a rapacious Allied peace, which included the French occupying the Ruhr in early 1923 to physically take what they could not get the Germans to deliver by agreement (Germany had to hand over 25% of its foreign exports for free).

    Anyhoo, after the event of printing the ‘PapierMark’ to oblivion, the Germans, under conservative Center Party administration, went back on the gold standard in early 1924. And were operating on the gold standard in the early 1930s, under another conservative Center Party chancellorship (Bruning) who was emulating Hoover in raising taxes and cutting spending in response to the global depression.

    The economic disruption this caused greatly strengthened the fascists, and they were successful in agitating and getting the votes.

    Hindenburg was convinced by the rightist faction among the Center Party to finally put Hitler in as Chancellor, which at that time was not a true head of government position in that the constitutional power was more vested in the Cabinet, which was stocked with mostly moderate rightists and not extreme rightists of the NSDAP (they only had 2 seats in the cabinet since they could find a coalition partner to form a government).

    The NSDAP never got a majority in the general elections, but after the March 1933 election were able to buy off the (Catholic) Center Party to agree to granting extra-constutional powers to the cabinet (and by extension Hitler) after first both executing a modus vivendi with the Vatican and promising the Center Party would not be outlawed in the NSDAP’s ensuing crackdown on its varied political opponents.

    The failure of democracy in 1933 was highlighted by the fact that the social ists and communists got 40% of the vote, to the Nazi’s 43% and the Center Party’s 12%. The Center Party was much more rightist than leftist so could not coalition with the SDP any more, nor would the Communists coalition with anyone.

    It was a very bizarre time. Dunno if here in the US will repeat this or not, but if We The People don’t understand what’s going down now (few people do IMO) I am somewhat fearful.

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