When it comes to tax increases, you've heard the refrain. Repubs say "you can't tax the job-creators (TM)." We all know that's bogus and that the jobs problem is lack of demand, not fear of higher taxes, but somehow the refrain seems to be accepted and gets no push-back from the media talking heads.
The repubs have successfully framed anything the Dems recommend as "job-killing"--job-killing tax increases, job-killing regulation, job killing environmental concerns. And this frame is probably working for them. The public sees no jobs, so the refrain sounds plausible--after all, something is killing the jobs.
Something is killing the jobs. It's spending cuts. And if a debt ceiling deal brings draconian cuts while the economy is fragile, it will be job-killing on steroids.
None other than BusinessWeek has recognized this in their current issue. More below the fold.
It's just one paragraph in a much longer article, but I hope other media will catch on to this concept. Spending cuts will certainly kill more jobs than any tax increases will.
Republicans in Congress, not wanting to appear to defend the rich, have attempted to block any deal that includes higher taxes on the grounds that tax hikes are “job-killing.” But experience shows that in a period of slack demand like the present, tax hikes are no more job-killing than spending cuts, and probably less so. Cutting spending—say, by firing federal employees or canceling procurement—removes demand from the economy dollar-for-dollar. A dollar tax hike, on the other hand, especially one aimed at upper incomes, cuts demand by less than a dollar. Those who pay the tax cover part of it from their savings and only part by reducing their spending.
Democratic spokespersons need to start framing these repub spending cuts that way--job killing spending cuts!
If lawmakers insist on using the phrase “job-killing,” Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution-Urban Institute Tax Policy Center, wrote in a recent blog post, “they should apply it equally to both tax increases and spending cuts.”
Roberton Williams is naive if he thinks any lawmaker will use "job-killing" for both tax increases and for spending cuts. But I'd love to see Dem spokespersons turn the repubs' rhetoric back on them and plant in the mediasphere "job killing spending cuts."