What passes for a GOP jobs agenda

Way back in late May, House Republicans unveiled a plan to create jobs. Of course, “plan” was a strong word. It could charitably be described as a bad joke, and not even the most public-relations-savvy GOP leaders made an effort to talk about the agenda. It was unveiled, ignored, and forgotten, pretty much within the span of an afternoon.

Nearly three months later, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is still arguing that he and his caucus have a “blueprint” to create jobs and even created a new website to promote the agenda. Stephanie Mencimer took a look at what House Republicans have to offer.

Number one on the list of “pro-growth” policies House Republicans intend to push is reducing “regulatory burdens” on small businesses. The GOP plan highlights a number of regulations that hurt “job creators,” including the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses; the FCC’s net neutrality proposal, which is hated by the nation’s biggest telecom monopolies; and “burdensome pesticide regulation.”

Next on the list is … lower taxes. House Republicans are promising to lower the tax rate for individuals and businesses to 25 percent, down from the current 35 percent. How that squares with the other GOP proposal to tackle the national debt isn’t laid out in the plan. Presumably the big tax reduction will spur so much growth that the revenue will magically appear in the federal treasury, just the way it did, uh, with the Bush tax cuts. (It didn’t.)

The GOP’s other ideas include patent reform (which Congress actually passed since the last version of the plan was released) and “expediting” the drug approval process at the FDA. And no GOP jobs plan would be complete without a proposal to drill, baby, drill, to increase domestic energy production.

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: cut taxes, deregulation, cut public investments, drill for oil. Good times and bad, deficit or surplus, war or peace, it just doesn’t matter.

The intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party is just astounding. 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 month after month, year after year.

President Obama touted a competing jobs agenda yesterday, including an extension of the payroll tax cut, an extension of unemployment benefits, patent reform, trade deals, and most notably infrastructure investments. As he put it, “We have workers who need jobs and a country that needs rebuilding; an infrastructure bank would help us put them together.” Obama would likely prefer to be even more ambitious, but knows Congress isn’t in a job-creating mood.

Regardless, at least the president’s measures would be a positive step in the right direction, which is more than can be said for the House GOP’s “blueprint.”