GOP has ‘no public investment strategy’

GOP HAS ‘NO PUBLIC INVESTMENT STRATEGY’…. Steven Pearlstein’s column today is straightforward, honest, and rather devastating.

When talking about the federal government and its budget deficit, Republican politicians love to score points by noting that “you’d never run your household or your business that way.”

Then again, you’d never run your household or your business by ignoring investment. Yet now that President Obama has proposed stepped-up public investment in infrastructure, energy, education and basic research, Republicans have suddenly decided their favorite analogy no longer applies.

Asked about investment on the television talk shows Sunday, House Republican leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) each declared it was just another Democratic ploy to spend more money. Instead of Obama’s “invest-and-grow,” Republicans now offer “cut-and-grow,” which will take its place beside “government ownership of the means of production” and “tax cuts that pay for themselves” in the Pantheon of Economic Nonsense.

Republicans, it turns out, have no public investment strategy, just as they have no health-care strategy and no agreed-upon blueprint for reducing federal spending. What they have are poll-tested talking points, economic delusions and an overwhelming partisan instinct to say “no” to anything Barack Obama proposes. In their response to the president’s State of the Union message, they remind us once again that they are not serious about economic policy and not ready to govern.

GOP officials have not only struggled to put together a public investment strategy, they’ve actually decided that public investment is itself a scourge to be avoided at all costs.

Consider what we learned from Eric Cantor this week. A high-speed-rail infrastructure project in his own district used to enjoy his enthusiastic support, but the Majority Leader has changed his mind — public investment, even investment that creates thousands of jobs for his own constituents, must be avoided because it’s “spending.”

Faced with a practical, real-world gains that are in conflict with Republicans’ ideological, philosophical ideals, they’re choosing to emphasize the latter. Indeed, they’re bragging about it.

The GOP isn’t just offering the wrong answers, it’s asking the wrong questions.