Mitch Daniels has a ‘so be it’ moment

MITCH DANIELS HAS A ‘SO BE IT’ MOMENT…. Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner conceded thousands of Americans would lose their jobs as a result of Republican spending cuts, adding, “So be it.” Asked exactly how many American workers would be left unemployed as a result of the GOP plan, Boehner said he didn’t know. Apparently, he didn’t care, either.

As it turns out, the Speaker isn’t the only Republican leader thinking along these lines. Today, NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) a worthwhile question.

INSKEEP: I want to ask something that a lot of people are confronting right now, as they deal with the federal deficit as well as state and local deficits that need to be closed. Are budget cuts — government budget cuts — worth it, even if they end up seriously costing a lot of jobs right now?

DANIELS: The answer is yes.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the state of the debate on this. We now have three separate independent analyses of the Republican proposal, all of which say the same thing: if approved, the GOP plan would hurt the economy and make unemployment worse. We now have two prominent Republican — one is currently the nation’s most powerful GOP official, the other hopes to be — conceding publicly that the party’s spending-cut priorities would force more Americans out of work.

How are we even having this conversation? I’d genuinely love to know exactly how many American voters are thinking, “You know, maybe what we need is higher unemployment, lower wages, and slower growth — it’s a good thing Republicans are working on this.”

For his part, the perpetually-confused House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said the latest analysis from Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi doesn’t count. Zandi found that the GOP proposal would likely force 700,000 American workers into unemployment, but Cantor said we shouldn’t believe him — because Zandi backed the 2009 Recovery Act, which necessarily forfeits his credibility.

First, Cantor may not be able to understand this, but the stimulus was a success, and did exactly what it set out to do. Republican repetition about “failure” demonstrates tremendous message discipline, but also demonstrates striking ignorance about current events.

Second, before Cantor blows off Zandi, let’s note that Zandi was an advisor to the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. Besides, even if Republicans don’t like the Zandi analysis, what’s the response to the Goldman Sachs report from last week?

And third, if Cantor & Co. don’t care for any of the independent analyses showing the GOP plan making unemployment worse, why don’t they offer a competing analysis? They think 700,000 job losses is too high a number fine. Where does Cantor put the number? Can Republicans offer anything in the way of economic projections? Anything at all?

I can’t remember the last time the political discourse made this little sense. We have Americans demanding action on job creation; we have congressional Republicans deliberately trying to make unemployment worse; and we have a media that prefers to pretend that the deficit matters more than the economy.