Killing NPR will not save jobs

KILLING NPR WILL NOT SAVE JOBS…. This has to be one of my favorite quotes of the week. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), explaining why he felt so strongly about defunding NPR, said it was a “way to reduce job-destroying spending.”

This is the problem when congressional Republicans are told to incorporate the word “jobs” into everything they say and do, whether it makes sense or not. It leads some of the less-skilled members of the GOP caucus to use ham-fisted rhetoric that makes them appear foolish.

Indeed, as Matt Finkelstein noted, “Hensarling’s logic is presumably that all government spending necessarily impedes job creation, a silly notion that nevertheless has become GOP doctrine.”

Quite right. We’ve reached the point at which congressional Republicans believe all federal investments, even those that directly create jobs, necessarily costs jobs. It’s hopelessly backwards, but it’s a notion that’s come to dominate GOP thought.

For what it’s worth, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) had the good sense to explain that his own party’s NPR bill wouldn’t actually save taxpayers any money.

“The federal government does not subsidize NPR directly. Instead, the government funds the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a government entity, which has discretion to provide funding to whichever private radio producers it chooses.

“H R 1076 does not actually save taxpayer dollars; it merely blocks CPB from exercising its discretion to send funding to NPR. The funds CPB does not send to NPR under the bill are returned to CPB to be spent subsidizing other private radio producers. I offered an amendment in the Rules Committee to require that any funds not sent to NPR be redirected to pay down the deficit, but the amendment was ruled out of order. Therefore, public broadcasting will not see any reduction in federal funding even if this bill becomes law.”

This is obviously an important detail. The House Republican plan to “reduce job-destroying spending,” doesn’t reduce spending, and doesn’t save jobs. The whole scheme just don’t make any sense at all.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.