The truly farcical ‘Jobs Through Growth Act’

I suppose Senate Republicans deserve at least some credit for making an effort. The congressional GOP has largely ignored the jobs crisis, so the fact that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have put together the “Jobs Through Growth Act,” is at least marginally constructive.

The problem is with the “plan” itself.

What do Senate Republicans want to do to give employment a boost? Cut taxes, approve a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, eliminate the entirety of Wall Street reform safeguards, blocking EPA enforcement of clean air measures, and a tax repatriation holiday for international corporations.

When President Obama unveiled the American Jobs Act, it had been deliberately crafted to include several provisions that Republicans have traditionally supported. Graham, McCain, and Paul didn’t bother. Try not to be surprised.

The GOP senators boasted their plan would create 5 million jobs. And how would that happen? Who came up with that number? How would Republicans pay for their plan? How quickly would it make a difference?

They didn’t say. In fact, unlike the detailed jobs bill presented by the White House, the “plan” from Senate Republicans is a wish list of far-right ideas, but it’s also lacking in the sort of substantive details that serious proposals require.

And that’s precisely why this nonsense is so farcical.

The premise of Obama’s proposal was that the two parties couldn’t agree on their long-term vision of government, but the economic emergency was too severe to wait until the election to settle it, so they should act immediately on short-term ideas that have bipartisan support. The GOP response is to issue a series of exclusively long-term proposals lacking any bipartisan support. There’s not much pretense of intending to address the current crisis when your plan has as its cornerstone the passage of a Constitutional amendment. […]

On jobs, the GOP simply will not engage with the premise of the entire macroeconomic forecasting field that the economy is suffering from a lack of demand. The purpose of this bill is to straddle that awkward divide, and provide a sound bite to answer Obama when he says he has a jobs plan.

That’s plainly true. In fact, McCain, who admits he doesn’t understand economic policy, told reporters yesterday he and his cohorts put this plan together in part as “a response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

Senator, I’ve seen your plan. You still don’t have a proposal.

The intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party is just astounding. It has no new ideas, no constructive solutions, no creativity, no depth of thought, no intellectual consistency, no recollection of their own failures, no understanding of economic policy, and no access to calculators.