Elements of the media are belatedly calling foul and “you lie” on Speaker Boehner’s poll tested slogan that the Affordable Health Act is a “job killer.” We’ve seen several rebuttals like those from Paul Krugman at the New York Times and Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. Today’s point-by-point rebuttal comes from McClatchy, in an article entitled, Experts doubt GOP claim that health care law’s a “job killer.” It walks through Boehner’s jobs “analysis” and dismantles it.
[Update: Another critique from AP, via Dean Baker, making a point Klein made on Countdown: per CBO, people who get better coverage than before may be willing to retire earlier, but that's not "job killing."]
So guess what? Republicans lie, all the time. As Krugman observed yesterday, they don’t care about analysis or facts; they have other agenda.
The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.
And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.
So one has to ask, since when has this Tea-GOP ever given two figs about preserving or creating jobs? If you consider their principal proposals, all of them would destroy jobs, reduce growth, and even threaten to tank the credit of the United States. Talk about a job killer.
The most immediate threat to jobs in America is the financial/budget crisis facing states and local communities. State and local governments are laying off tens of thousands of public workers, canceling contracts with business employers, shutting down much needed maintenance and repairs, deferring infrastructure projects and reducing or ending government services.
Because of the recession, states and locals face declining revenues and increased safety-net costs. As David Dayen recounted yesterday, states have depleted their funds for unemployment insurance and face billions in interest charges for loans from the Feds, because interest waivers from the 2009 stimulus have expired and Congress won’t renew them. That’s nuts.
States are being forced to curtail Medicaid and other health services, which means both leaving people without care while laying off valuable health care professionals. There is no excuse for this. The question one has to ask is, why hasn’t Congress insisted on taking over all recession-related safety-net costs?
In the meantime, instead of an economically intelligent and humane rescue effort for states and local government, the principal Tea-GOP platform is to let the States starve, and let their right wing governors strangle them, demonizing public employees and imposing even further cuts, layoffs and outright theft of their retirement funds.
Over the next two months, the Tea-GOP war cry will be to threaten to shut down the Federal government, play chicken with US sovereign credit ratings, force massive spending cuts on most Federal programs. It’s hard to imagine a more destructive job-killing agenda.
And claiming to lower deficits is no excuse. Anyone who supported/voted to give the wealthiest Americans $100 billion now and supports a trillion more later has zero credibility on long-run deficits.
It’s good that the media is finally calling the Tea-GOPers out for lying about the employment consequences of the ACA, but it’s preposterous that the Tea-GOP is even allowed to argue they care at all about unemployment. Federal spending efforts have been the one thing keeping the economy barely above water and the only major force keeping unemployment from getting much worse. Yet the Tea-GOPers are trying to cripple even those dwindling efforts.
Their proposals will hurt the economy, reduce growth and put millions of Americans out of work. It’s the Tea-GOPers who are the real job killers, and its high time the media called them on it.