In February, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked about his spending-cut plans and the fact that the cuts would force thousands of public-sector workers from their jobs. “So be it,” the Republican said.
This kind of thinking hasn’t gone away. Indeed, as the unemployment rate goes up, the GOP desire to make it even worse appears to be intensifying. Marie Diamond flags this quote from Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on CNBC this week:
“Truth is, when’s the government going to sacrifice? Everyone’s been pinching pennies, the government budgets have almost doubled the last couple years. Most companies are laying off workers, especially small businesses, the federal government’s hiring federal workers. So my question is, when is the government going to sacrifice in order to help us get our financial house in order?”
As a factual matter, Brady’s claims are simply absurd. Government budgets haven’t doubled; government budgets have been shrinking. It’s exactly why the public sector has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs over the last couple of years. Brady has been waiting for governments to “sacrifice,” but he hasn’t paid close enough attention to reality to understand the basics of reality in 2011: they’ve already been sacrificing too much.
But the larger point is just as striking. We have a 9.2% unemployment rate and a genuine national jobs crisis. Kevin Brady believes Americans will be better off if policymakers deliberately make this worse.
And it’s not just Brady — this is the kind of approach to policymaking that dominates Republican thought.
The GOP made gains in 2010 because voters were frustrated with high unemployment. I wonder how many of those voters realized they were choosing candidates who would try to make unemployment worse on purpose.