After opposing, stalling, stonewalling and filibustering almost every recession-related bill for the past year, Republican lawmakers have finally proposed a jobs plan of their own: a bigger, more expensive version of George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich.
The Economic Freedom Act of 2010 -- introduced by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) -- proposes deep tax cuts favoring the wealthiest in America, a reduction in regulatory oversight and the elimination of a federal tax on the estates of millionaires, which will allow wealthy investors to escape taxes entirely on a significant portion of their income.
Republicans say the bill will create jobs where President Obama's policies have failed to do so.
"The multi-trillion dollar government stimulus programs and taxpayer-funded bailouts have failed," reads the bill's official press release. "A growing private sector economy is the only 'stimulus program' that will create the jobs needed to restore America's economic strength."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a conference call on Tuesday that the GOP's proposal will not only fail to stimulate job growth, but will triple the deficit by 2015 and devastate an already-shrinking American middle class.
"The tax cuts they want to give, as usual under Republican policies, will give 62 percent of the tax cuts to the top 1 percent of Americans," Hoyer said. "Or said another way, an average $467 tax cut to working Americans in the middle of the income levels, and to the top 1 percent earners, an average of $157,000 tax cut, and to Goldman Sachs, $2.6 billion in tax cuts. When you analyze that, you know what is happening is the same old Bush policies of advantaging the wealthy at the expense of the middle income working people and tax cuts which did not, as they were advertised to, grow the economy and grow jobs. In fact, they did just the opposite."
Michael Linden, associate director for tax and budget policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said the Republican proposal is "unaffordable on a level we've never seen before."
"This is almost five times bigger than Bush tax cuts were," Linden said. "It really represents a doubling down on Bush's economic agenda. Where he skewed his tax policy heavily to the rich, this would skew it even further even to the exclusion of the middle class.
"$7 trillion in additional debt and deficit over next ten years would be calamitous," Linden added. "I think it's hard to understate the radicalism of this plan."
Rather than hewing to trickle-down theory, Hoyer said he and other Democrats are developing an economic agenda that will focus on encouraging domestic manufacturing and discouraging the outsourcing of jobs to other countries. He said the motto for the agenda is "Make it in America," which alludes to both the physical manufacturing of goods and the increasingly elusive American dream.
"We are focusing on creating the kind of good jobs and growth that made this country the economic envy of the world," Hoyer said. "Also, we want people to be able to make it in America, to succeed, to avail themselves of the opportunity this country has and to afford to create for themselves and their families the quality of life we expect in America."
So far, in pursuit of that goal, the Democrats have passed the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act, which is intended to make it easier for companies to get products they need to build things in America. House Democrats have also passed the Protecting Americans' Patents bill, designed to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as three other bills last week that are intended to help to keep jobs in America and give technology firms the information and help they need to compete in the global market.
Hoyer said he is confident that the Obama administration's economic policies have been responsible for the positive job growth in the private sector every month this year, though he said there is still a long way to go for a full economic recovery.
"We've had progress, but not success," he said. "Success will be the restoring of the 8 million jobs that were lost under the Bush administration."
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