Political Correction

"Where Are The Jobs?" The GOP Blocked Them

October 08, 2010 8:32 am ET - by Chris Harris

Today's job numbers are yet another reminder that while Washington's efforts have brought us a long way from the darkest days of the recession, there are still millions of Americans out of work in an economy that is too slow to recover. 

As Republicans break out in their familiar "where are the jobs?" refrain, it's important to remember that ever since President Obama was sworn into office, the GOP has made blocking Democratic jobs programs their number one priority.  PoliticalCorrection.org compiled a video to show just that.


Conservatives will predictably spin these newest numbers into attacks on Democrats, but in reality, the GOP's policies would be a disaster for the American people.

On September 15th, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) unveiled a two-point plan to maintain George W. Bush's tax rates for two years and return spending to 2008 levels.  Despite his claim that returning to Bush's economic policies would "create jobs," analysis finds that it would actually kill over a million of them.

The GOP's "Jobs Plan" Would Kill Over 1 Million Jobs.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, "The adverse impact of the spending cuts, meanwhile, would overwhelm the limited growth impact associated with the tax cuts, substantially decreasing output on net. Using a rule of thumb for the impact of government spending on employment, we estimate that this loss of GDP will correspond to a loss of roughly 1.1 million jobs, relative to a fiscal path that maintains spending at the president's proposed 2011 levels and a tax policy that did not extend tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers." [Economic Policy Institute, 9/23/10; emphasis added]

As Boehner's plan touches on and the Pledge to America reiterates, the party's main proposal to boost the economy is to make President George W. Bush's income tax rates permanent.  While this is apparently the best the GOP can do, the Congressional Budget Office says it is the worst way to grow the economy.

CBO: Among Eleven Proposals To Spur Economic Growth, Cutting Income Taxes Ranks Last.  Below is a chart created by the Congressional Budget Office to show the "cumulative effects of policy options on employment in 2010 and 2011":

[Congressional Budget Office, 9/28/10]

The Pledge to America indicates that Republicans will help small businesses to spark job creation.  Unfortunately for the GOP, though, their plan doesn't actually help small businesses.

CAP: The Pledge To America Does Not Help American Small Businesses. According to the Center for American Progress, "The proposal is an 'upside-down' tax break that gives the largest benefits to those who already have the highest incomes. A deduction reduces the taxable income and thus the taxes that somebody has to pay. A business owner with lots of business and other income will thus get a government subsidy of 35 cents for each dollar in deduction, while a small business owner in the 15 percent tax bracket will get 15 cents for each dollar in deductions... Larger businesses already enjoy advantage over smaller businesses in terms of access to credit markets. And smaller businesses have greater needs to invest and to hire than larger, well-established businesses. The GOP proposal, though, shovels the money where it is not needed and thus exacerbates the advantages of large over small." [Center for American Progress, 9/27/10; emphasis added]

When it came time to offer a helping hand to those hit hardest by the recession, Republicans simply said "no."  The GOP refused to renew unemployment benefits, allowing them to lapse, which left thousands of America's jobless alone in the dark for six weeks.  Republican candidates across the country have declared war on unemployment benefits, saying they are unconstitutional and the jobless are "spoiled."

Not only do unemployment benefits help the very people who need it, but they are also the most effective way to stimulate economic growth. 

CBO: Extending Unemployment Benefits Is "Both Timely And Cost-Effective In Spurring Economic Activity And Employment." According to the Congressional Budget Office: "Extending additional unemployment benefits would directly help those who would otherwise exhaust their unemployment benefits between March and December of this year. Households receiving unemployment benefits tend to spend the additional benefits quickly, making this option both timely and cost-effective in spurring economic activity and employment. A variant of this option would extend assistance with paying health insurance premiums, which would allow some recipients to maintain health insurance coverage they would otherwise have dropped." [Congressional Budget Office, 2/23/10]

CBO: Unemployment Benefits Are The Most Effective Way To Boost The Economy.  Below is a chart created by the Congressional Budget Office to show the "cumulative effects of policy options on employment in 2010 and 2011":


[Congressional Budget Office, 9/28/10]

And worst of all, Republicans have fallen down on the job when Americans needed them most.  During the worst of the recession, as progressives fought to create jobs and help those who were hurting, Republicans failed to act. 

Republicans Opposed The Recovery Act, Which Provided Up To 3.3 Million American Jobs.  Republicans opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, "CBO estimates that ARRA's policies had the following effects in the second quarter of calendar year 2010... Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million." [HR 1, Vote #46, 1/28/09; Congressional Budget Office, August 2010]

Republicans Fought Increased Investment In Clean Energy Technology, Which Would Create Up To 1.9 Million American Jobs.  Republicans fought bills to increase America's investment in clean energy technology and reduce carbon pollution.  According to the University of California-Berkeley, "new analysis by the University of California shows conclusively that climate policy will strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs." [HR 2454, Vote #477, 6/26/09; UC Berkeley, accessed 1/22/10]

Republicans Opposed Health Care Reform, Which Will Create Up To 4 Million American Jobs In The Next Decade. Republicans voted en masse against the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill signed into law.  According to the Center for American Progress, "Relative to baseline employment forecasts from the Employment Projections Program at the U.S. Department of Labor, we estimate that moderate medical savings from health care modernization as envisioned under the legislation now before Congress would lead to an average of 250,000 additional jobs created annually. Under the larger assumption about savings due to health care reform, 400,000 new jobs a year would be created on average." [HR 3590, Vote #165, 3/21/10; Center for American Progress, New Jobs Through Better Health Care, January 2010]

Republicans Blocked Program That Supports 250,000 Jobs.  Republicans have repeatedly blocked the extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, supports "jobs for some 250,000 parents and youth who are otherwise unemployed, many of whom have been without work for some time." [Huffington Post, 9/29/10; CBPP, 9/2/10]

Copyright © 2010 Media Matters Action Network. All rights reserved.