The man who wants to be Speaker of the House, John Boehner, spoke out against Democratic leadership earlier this week. A string of cheap attacks and tired one-liners, Boehner’s diatribe was pure substance-free political posturing. He called for President Obama to fire his economic team, extend tax cuts for the wealthy and to put the brakes on spending. Lacking any shame, the congressman actually had the temerity to suggest the nation needs a “fresh start,” with “people willing to accept responsibility” in charge — as if he or any of his big-business Republican cronies have accepted one iota of blame for crashing the economy and killing millions of jobs, or for doing everything within their power to stall recovery.
The would-be Speaker, obviously intent upon leveraging public concern over jobs, used every opportunity to label the administration’s programs as “job-killing.” Weaving the term into every topic, “job-killing tax hikes,” “job-killing regulations,” “job-killing agenda,” Boehner evoked the reaper 12 times in all. Condemning the recent $26 billion stimulus bill, Boehner stated that it, “funnels money to state governments in order to protect government jobs.” Of course, he was referring to 161,000 teacher jobs, as well as 158,000 jobs for police, firefighters and healthcare workers. But those jobs weren’t worth saving to John Boehner. He continued his criticism with, “Even worse, the bill is funded by a new tax hike that makes it more expensive to create jobs in the United States and less expensive to create jobs overseas,” which would be alarming — if it were true, which it’s not. His “job-killing tax hike” was actually the closing of a loophole that encouraged corporations to ship jobs overseas.
What Boehner did reveal of the Republican plan for creating jobs appeared to be vintage Bush. It’s the same old recipe that drove the nation off a cliff the last time around — more tax cuts for the rich and less regulation. Conveniently ignoring the fact that President Obama wants to extend the Bush cuts for everyone making under $250,000, Boehner told the crowd that, “Raising taxes on families and small businesses during a recession is a recipe for disaster — both for our economy and for the deficit. Period. End of story.” He’s right, so if he truly believes what he says, he should stop fighting for cuts for the top 2% and join the Democrats in providing relief to everyone else — including all but 2-3% of small businesses.
Boehner is truly a master at the art of double-talk. He claims to advocate for small business, stating that expiring the cuts for the top 2% would, “affect half of small business income.” But he fails to mention that the “half” he wants to protect are “small business” only in terms of the number of employees. Boehner’s half makes 50% of the money, but consists of the wealthiest hedge funds, law firms and lobbying outlets, and comprise no more than 3% of the actual small businesses.
Amongst the newly formed ranks of Republican deficit hawks, Boehner also called upon President Obama to, “submit to Congress for its immediate consideration an aggressive spending reduction package.” Of course, being a good Republican, Boehner did specify that the freeze should only be for non-defense spending. But that’s just the tip of his forked tongue. Avoiding the disproven claim that tax cuts pay for themselves, Boehner is left with no explanation for his logical inconsistency in demanding spending cuts to fight the deficit, yet supporting $678 billion in millionaire tax cuts to choke revenue.
One lie after another, Boehner’s critique of the Obama Administration was as fact-free as his economic plan for the future. But possibly his most egregious distortion was regarding the stimulus. A critic from the beginning, according to Boehner, the program, “has gotten us nowhere.” Sadly, many voters will believe this whopper, even though it has absolutely no basis in reality.
Perhaps Boehner had not yet read the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the stimulus. The CBO analysis found that the stimulus had raised the GDP by 1.7% to 4.5% and increased the number of people employed by 1.4 to 3.3 million. In response to Boehner’s fallacious claim, Mark Zandi, former economic advisor to John McCain, took issue and stated that, “Without the stimulus spending, instead of a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, we’d have an 11.5 percent unemployment rate.”
But, the facts regarding jobs and unemployment really only scratch the surface. The real impact of the stimulus is still in process. It is creating jobs in the present, but it promises to create far more in the future. The program is investing in research and infrastructure, providing seed money to jump start alternative energy, modernize transportation, fund ground-breaking medical advancements and enhance technologies such as broadband and smart grids. And in so doing, the program is also transforming the way government works.
Ever the champion of the status quo, it’s easy to see why John Boehner doesn’t appreciate the progress funded by the stimulus. When Boehner says it, “has gotten us nowhere,” what he means is that it has prevented the huge drop in wages his corporate cronies so desperately desire, and that it’s also paving the road away from dependence on fossil fuels. A green America with well-paid Americans working in new industries is Boehner’s worst nightmare. He and his Republican brethren are just fine with things the way they are.
In Boehner’s own words, “It’s time to put grown-ups in charge,” and since it’s obvious that the congressman never even learned the most basic rules of adulthood, like telling the truth and practicing what you preach, he must not be referring to himself. So, let’s all hope he gets his way and voters make the intelligent choice in November — they put the grown-ups in charge and vote Democrat.