CORKER PUSHES THE CASE FOR DOING NOTHING…. As the economic recovery, such as it is, continues to look increasingly fragile, and economic anxiety grows, there are many who hope policymakers will be spurred into action. Republicans don’t quite see it that way.
The GOP line continues to annoy. As the congressional minority sees it, the problem with the economy isn’t the jobs crisis or businesses who don’t have enough customers, but rather, “economic uncertainty.” It’s the Obama administration, the argument goes, that has made employers pull back, though a combination of passing health care reform, new safeguards for Wall Street, new consumer-protection regulations, etc.
The problem with the pitch is that it’s unsupported by reality. As Ezra Klein noted the other day, “[T]hough I keep hearing about how policy uncertainty is holding us back, I still haven’t heard, or been able to generate, any compelling data to support that argument.”
But the argument won’t go away. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), riffing off the uncertainty argument, said yesterday that the economy will improve if policymakers do nothing.
“The best thing we can do is calm down,” he told ABC’s “This Week,” adding, “I sat down with a business this week — I’ll give you an example — and they’re looking at the healthcare bill, and they’re trying to decide, should they keep people under 30 hours? Smaller businesses are saying, should we stay under 25?”
Corker went on to argue that if we just leave the Bush/Cheney tax rates in place for millionaires and billionaires, we’ll all be better off. Given that the Bush/Cheney tax rates never generated the kind of prosperity and job growth that Republicans promised, it’s hardly a compelling case.
But Corker’s point about health care undermining employment is especially odd. The Affordable Care Act passed in March, and in April, we saw the highest private-sector job growth in several years. The month after health care reform passed Congress, the Dow Jones went up 500 points. I’m not saying there’s a cause-and-effect connection here, but if the new health care law generated counter-productive “uncertainty,” these improvements probably wouldn’t have occurred.
Corker would have us believe that everything will get better if policymakers just sit on their hands. I have no idea why anyone would take this seriously.