Millions of Americans remain unemployed and countless families are losing their homes to foreclosure. So why are House Republican leaders proposing to torpedo the economy?
We all agree that reducing our deficits is essential for long-run economic health, preparing the path for growth and prosperity. But instead of recognizing deficit reduction as one piece of a strategy to get our economy on track, Republican leaders are using the deficits – which largely derive from the Republican policies that supported unfunded wars, unfunded subsidies for the richest Americans, and an economic disaster driven by the deregulation of Wall Street – to wage a war on working Americans. Far from helping hard-working, middle class Americans who have borne the brunt of the Great Recession, the House Republican budget targets those very same Americans.
The extremist House budget will kill jobs and slash funding for education, job training programs, student loans, and health care services for women and their families, among many other things. According to Mark Zandi, who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign and who now works at the non-partisan Moody’s Analytics, the GOP’s proposed budget cuts will destroy 700,000 American jobs.
That is worth repeating: The GOP budget plan will destroy 700,000 jobs. The last thing our nation can afford right now is further job losses. We need to be creating jobs, not destroying jobs.
There are common-sense budget cuts that could reduce our deficits without wrecking the economy or attacking working families. We can start by cutting back on the bonus tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that Republican leaders insisted on just ten weeks ago. We could end tax subsidies for oil companies and save tens of billions of dollars in the process.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner summarized his perspective on the Republican budget as follows: if people might lose their jobs, “so be it.” You might think the House Republican leaders would show some humility after their failed agenda turned record surpluses into massive deficits in 2001, or after their policies reduced the wages of working Americans during the modest expansion in the middle of the decade, or after they burned down the economy with unregulated derivatives and predatory mortgage securities in 2008. Apparently not. Their proposals are exactly the same: give massive tax cuts to the wealthiest, shred the safety net, and eliminate investments that would help restore American economic leadership.
Budgets are nothing if not statements of priorities. A budget should be judged by whether it creates a foundation for the success of American working families striving to buy a house, or to send their kids to college, or to save a little for retirement and, if they’re lucky, a vacation. The budget promoted by the Republican leadership fails this test and must be defeated.