House Speaker John Boehner gave a speech to the Economic Club of Washington last week that made waves. Strangely enough, the hubbub was because he said the GOP will oppose any tax increases.
The summer of discontent has produced no change in Republican talking points: we won’t raise taxes and Obama is responsible for everything that sounds scary, expensive or is a product of the federal bureaucracy.
That’s all well and good for the base, but don’t get your hopes up for a wave of new jobs.
No New Taxes = Job Destroying Spending Cuts
Just in case you were still in doubt, the Republican leadership continues to assure us that taxes are off the table. Speaker Boehner confirmed that the Republican leadership will not consider raising taxes on anyone, for any reason. He reminds the “supercomittee” that Republicans are not allowed to consider tax increases in their negotiations.
“Tax increases, however, are not a viable option for the Joint Committee,” Boehner said. “It’s a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs. And the Joint Committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country. “
At the same time, Republicans seem pleased to consider lowering the payroll tax rates but also insist that everything is “paid for,” without raising taxes anywhere. So Obama will probably find himself in the unenviable position of being forced to choose between accepting some payroll tax cuts, which he will, but “paying for it” with even more spending cuts.
Since spending cuts often equal government job cuts, we might call this “job destroying spending cuts.” The federal government is, after all, the single largest employer of American workers. And as it was pointed out in InvestorPlace.com in an article about how Congress is killing jobs, not creating them, employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has estimated that for the first six months of 2011, government layoffs were the primary source of job losses in the economy. So cutting federal spending is a sure way to destroy jobs.
Perhaps the Democrats find solace in the idea that at least people will have a little more money in their pockets to cushion the coming layoffs.