The persistence of ‘So be it’ thinking

In “Office Space,” Bill Lumbergh puts up a banner in the middle of the workplace that reads, “Is this good for the company?” He encourages every employee to ponder this question with “every decision you make.”

I’d really like to put up a similar banner in the offices of congressional Republicans. It would read, “Is this good for reducing unemployment?” and I’d encourage GOP officials to ponder this question with “every decision you make.”

This new proposal, for example, would fail the Lumbergh test.

It’s no secret that as soon as Republicans regained control of the House they abandoned their pretended focus on job creation and instead launched an offensive against health care reform, women’s reproductive rights, and the deficit. Now, three House Republicans — Reps. Darrell Issa (CA), Dennis Ross (FL) and Jason Chaffetz (UT) — have gone so far as to introduce a bill that is actually intended to reduce the number of jobs available.

The bill (H.R.2114) intends to reduce the federal workforce by 10% over the next few years, leading to a reduction of nearly 300,000 job opportunities.

It’s not that these Republicans have found federal positions that, to their minds, don’t need to be filled. They simply chose an arbitrary number, thinking that reducing the workforce by 10% sounds good.

So, here’s the question: how does this help reduce unemployment? The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t — making fewer federal jobs available makes the employment picture worse, not better.

But the goal for Issa, Ross, and Chaffetz isn’t to shrink unemployment, it’s to shrink government. The priorities are ideological, not practical.

Remember, it was House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who was asked about projections that showed his agenda forcing thousands of Americans from their jobs. He replied, “So be it.”

This kind of thinking is apparently getting worse.