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Boehner's Economic Speech Needs More Than a Fact Check, it Needs a Fact Stimulus

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House Minority Leader John Boehner pulled a sly move today, calling for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and top presidential economic adviser Larry Summers. It gave the media an easy headline to write and obscured the rest of the speech.

That sad, pathetic, empty shell of speech -- a chain of lies, exposing an agenda of nothing but more tax cuts and fewer rules for multimillionaire CEOs.

Boehner's fact-deprived speech needs a fact stimulus. Here are just the most egregious examples:

1. Boehner Would Kill Jobs, Literally

Early in the speech, Boehner criticizes the recent passage of aid to state governments to avert layoffs and provide health care funding:

[President Obama] signed a 26 billion dollar "stimulus" spending bill that funnels money to state governments in order to protect government jobs. Even worse, the bill is funded by a new tax hike that makes it more expensive to create jobs in the United States and less expensive to create jobs overseas.

This cannot continue. 

I have had enough -- and the American people have had enough -- of Washington politicians talking about wanting to create jobs as a ploy to get themselves re-elected while doing everything possible to prevent jobs from being created.

He characterizes the goal to "protect government jobs" as a bad thing. Later in the speech he proposes "freezing both government pay and government hiring."

Meanwhile he used the phrase "job-killing" to describe the president's economic strategy a dozen times.

Yet he embraced a position -- denying aid to fiscally-distressed state governments and hiring no more federal government workers -- that would literally kill hundreds of thousands of jobs, including those of teachers, police officers and firefighters.

I have "had enough" of lies that "pretend" people who hold jobs as public servants don't have real jobs.

2. Boehner Hides His Love of Tax Loopholes for Multinational Corporations

Boehner also complains that the state aid bill did not add to the budget deficit because it is paid for in part -- in his words -- "by a new tax hike that makes it more expensive to create jobs in the United States and less expensive to create jobs overseas."

What is Boehner referring to?

As The Hill reported when the bill was on the Senate floor, "The measure is paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes that allow U.S.-based multinational companies to use foreign tax credits to reduce their U.S. taxes. "

As the president noted when he signed the bill, these loopholes "encourage corporations to shift American jobs overseas."

Boehner supports reopening tax loopholes for multinational corporations so they can shift jobs overseas. Yet he characterizes that position as somehow supporting job creation in America.

3. Boehner's the One Pitting Taxpayers Against Each Other

In defense of extending the Bush tax cuts for multimillionaires, Boehner charged the president with instigating some sort of civil war among taxpayers:

President Obama should announce he will not carry out his plan to impose job-killing tax hikes on families and small businesses. Unless Congress acts, virtually every American will see their taxes go up on January 1, 2011. President Obama has stated he wants to stop some tax hikes, and not others, once again putting the government in the position of picking winners and losers and pitting taxpayer against taxpayer.

President Obama said he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for income below $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. This does not pit "taxpayer against taxpayer" any more than have a progressive income tax does.

In fact, under the president's plan, everyone who earns income would get an extended tax cut. Because even if you earn more than $1 million dollars, the Bush tax cuts would get extended on your first $200,000 or $250,000 of income. Multimillionaires would still see a tax cut of more than $6,000 compared to what they paid before the Bush tax cuts.

It's just that under Boehner's plan to completely extend all of the Bush tax cuts, even those specifically geared to the wealthiest, multimillionaires would get an utterly ridiculous tax cut of more than $100,000, while middle-class families would get about $1,000.

Who again is pitting taxpayers against each other?

4. Boehner Backs More Tax Cuts For Multimillionaires by Lying to Small Business Owners

This is a recycling of the lie his Senate counterpart used earlier this week. Boehner said:

According to an analysis by the non-partisan Joint Tax Committee, Congress' official tax scorekeeper, half of small-business income in America -- half -- would face higher taxes under the president's plan.

As I addressed yesterday, that is a complete misrepresentation of the JTC report, which found that letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire would affect only 2% of all tax filers who report business income.

And there's nothing in the JTC report to suggest those people actually own small businesses.

5. Boehner Neglects to Mention He's the One Obstructing Repeal of the "1099 Mandate"

Boehner seeks to elevate the latest complaint from the Chamber of Commerce, a provision in the health-care law to improve compliance with existing tax law:

President Obama should call on Democratic Leaders in Congress to stop obstructing Republicans' attempts to repeal the new health care law's job-killing "1099 mandate."

What is this "1099 Mandate"? The Hill explains:

At issue is a provision of the Democrats' new healthcare reform bill requiring businesses to file 1099 forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when goods purchased from another business, even corporations, exceed $600 in a year. Under previous law, the reporting requirement pertained only to services from non-incorporated businesses in excess of $600.

The provision doesn't create a new tax, but is simply designed to ensure that businesses comply with existing tax laws. Congressional Budget Office estimates the provision will generate roughly $17 billion over 10 years.

The new filing mandate goes into effect at the start of 2012.

So all this provision does is try to get business to pay the taxes they owe under current law. It hasn't even been implemented yet, but the Chamber of Commerce is stoking fear among the business community about it, and conservatives are calling it -- say it with me -- "job-killing."

Since we've never seen it implemented, I couldn't tell you if it amounts to an onerous way of going about enforcing tax law, let alone actually affect a single job.

But merits of the argument aside, the fact is Democrats have already tried to repeal the "1099 Mandate" at the behest of the business community, and Republicans -- including Boehner -- blocked it.

Why? Because scrapping a plan to collect tax revenue means not getting that tax revenue, and Democrats want to pay for the lost revenue by -- *gasp* -- closing "tax loopholes on multinational companies."

We know how Boehner feels about multinational companies.

6. Boehner Has Already Tried to Punish the Unemployed

In calling for reducing spending, Boehner actually said: "We should not punish unemployed workers and small business owners for our inability to make the tough choices we were elected to make."

Um, Boehner has repeatedly voted against jobless aid this year and last.

Boehner is counting on reporters -- and the rest of us -- not to pay attention to the details, and just focus on his headline bait. Don't let him get away with it.

For an analysis of House Minority Leader John Boehner's policy "ideas," check out Robert Borosage's "Boehner's Plan: Half Baked.

Originally posted at OurFuture.org

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