How a Speaker Boehner would create jobs, and fix a broken Washington
At a Monitor lunch with reporters, House Minority Leader John Boehner says that if he were speaker, he would do three things to create jobs. He would also work with Democrats.
The Monitor had John Boehner as a lunch guest with reporters today. You know Mr. Boehner. The Republican from Ohio who is now minority leader in the House and plans to replace the Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi. The man with the perpetual tan, whose name is pronounced BAY-ner.Skip to next paragraph
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I had a chance to ask him what many Americans want to know: If Republicans gain control of the House this fall and he gets the gavel, what are the three things he will do to create jobs?
He was succinct and to the point, ticking off his solutions and reasoning one browned finger at a time.
First, he would repeal "Obama-care," a giant impediment to jobs because it raises the cost of an employee. The more an employee costs, the less hiring happens.
Second, there would be no cap-and-trade climate bill. "Yes" to more more renewables, more oil exploration, more nuclear power. But the climate bill on the floor of the House just over a year ago would cost an estimated 2.5 million jobs each year for the next five years, he said.
Third, he would "not raise people's taxes." By this, he means he would extend the Bush tax cuts. Knowing now that taxes won't go up when they expire this year will help restore certainty. Uncertainty over the implementation of healthcare, cap-and-trade, and Wall Street reform is killing the jobs market.
What his three points bring home to me is how difficult it is for government to create jobs, though it can do much to squelch them. Repealing "Obama-care" is a political nonstarter. It simply won't happen as long as President Obama is in office to veto such an attempt. What might work is replacing the law with something else that both parties could grab on to, especially if the country continues to disfavor the new healthcare law.
Saying no to cap-and-trade would not create jobs. It would prevent potential future job loss from a Democratic House bill that is unlikely to be enacted any time soon. But here's the thing: We've had general energy bills such as the one Boehner suggests. They don't solve the carbon emissions problem, which must be addressed. As the Monitor has argued before, the simplest, cleanest way to reduce greenhouse gases is a carbon tax. There's a short-term cost, yes, but the long-term cost of doing nothing is higher.
Not raising taxes is the most workable idea of the three. But be forewarned that over the medium to long term, dealing with the nation's deficit and debt will probably require a combination of increased taxes and reduced spending. Britain is finding this out, though it's rightly putting emphasis on less spending.