When a party declares intellectual bankruptcy

The good news is, House Republicans unveiled a plan yesterday that’s intended to create jobs. The bad news is, the plan can charitably be described as a bad joke.

As we discussed yesterday, the jobs agenda, such as it is, is practically a conservative cliche: the GOP wants massive tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, more coastal oil drilling, and huge cuts to public investment. Republicans are confident this will work wonders, just as they were equally confident about the identical agenda in the last decade, and the decade before that, and the decade before that.

Indeed, the most glaring problem with the GOP jobs agenda is that it won’t work, but nearly as painful is the realization that it’s already been tried, over and over again, to no avail. They either don’t care or can’t understand the famous axiom: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The agenda is the agenda: tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, cut public investments. Good times and bad, deficit or surplus, war or peace, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s as if someone bought an iPod, uploaded one song, and hit “shuffle.”

I especially liked Paul Krugman’s take on this.

[T]he new “jobs plan” illustrates, once again, the foolishness of believing that we can reach any real bipartisan agreement on economic policy. The GOP stopped thinking a long time ago; all it knows how to do is parrot Reaganite rhetoric over and over. And there’s so little there there that the document — look at it! — has to rely on extra-large type and lots of pointless pictures to bulk it out even to 10 pages.

That last part isn’t a joke, by the way. Here’s the pdf version of the new Republican “plan.” Notice that the font size is enormous, as are the pictures that dominate every page.

Ezra Klein explained yesterday, “Academic books pack about 600 words to a page. Normal books clock in around 400. Large-print books — you know, the ones for kids or the visually impaired — fit about 250. The House GOP’s jobs plan, however, gets about 200 words to a page. The typeface is fit for giants, and the document’s 10 pages are mostly taken up by pictures. It looks like the staffer in charge forgot the assignment was due on Thursday rather than Friday, and so cranked the font up to 24 and began dumping clip art to pad out the plan.”

Just for fun, I went and did a word count of the entire “plan.” The total: 2,053 words. If that sounds like a lot, it isn’t. This blog post that you’re reading now, for example, put together over the course of about 15 minutes, is about 550 words. The House Republican leadership put together a 10-page document ostensibly explaining how the GOP intends to address the unemployment crisis, and they could barely put together 2,000 words.

And why is that? Because the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt. It has no new ideas, no constructive solutions, no creativity, no depth of thought, no recollection of how and why this same foolish agenda didn’t work before. The GOP just has warmed-over nonsense, to be brought out year after year, with the hopes that the public has short enough memories that we won’t notice or mind.