What Does Rep. Cantor Know About "How To Spark The Economy"?

August 22, 2011 1:18 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Rep. Eric Cantor

Following last week's deceitful op-ed blaming President Obama for the downgrade in America's credit rating, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is back with another confused effort in today's Washington Post titled "How to spark the economy." In the piece, Cantor argues that Obama's "pro-tax agenda" is creating "uncertainty" and holding back job creation, while once again misrepresenting Standard & Poor's to bolster his attack on the president's economic policies. From the column:

In fact, the Obama administration's anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that "we want to make it harder to create jobs."

Cantor should have lost the right to talk about "economic uncertainty" when he walked out of negotiations with the White House and sat in the driver's seat as Republicans led the country to the brink of default. Cantor was so unconcerned with uncertainty that he supported a short-term solution that would have renewed the default crisis after just six months.

Next, Cantor complains about the enforcement of environmental and labor regulations, claiming that "such behavior, coupled with the president's insistence on raising the top tax rate," played a part in the downgrade:

Such behavior, coupled with the president's insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation's credit downgrade.

It's typically disdainful of Cantor to cite the S&P downgrade (he later mentions the agency by name) while disregarding its condemnation of "political brinksmanship" on the part of Republicans that factored heavily into the decision. Furthermore, as Pat Garafalo writes, "even a cursory look at the S&P report reveals that the agency agrees with Obama and the Democrats when it comes to taxation. ... Cantor has already acknowledged S&P's warning regarding taxes, but has urged his GOP colleagues to ignore it."

Of course, Cantor's premise is also deliberately deceiving: Obama reluctantly agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy last year, and it's Cantor and the Republicans who are currently fighting to stop a payroll tax cut that the president supports.