Monday, October 11, 2010

Kristof: Republican Rule Means Higher Unemployment, Worse Debt, More Inequity

Nicholas D. Kristof, in "Trifecta of Torment," acknowledges that the economy and job creation have been disappointing under the Democrats. At the same time, the Republicans have obstructed Obama's programs and, had their ideas been adopted, conditions would be even worse. Of course, things may indeed get worse in terms of jobs, debt and income gap if the G.O.P. prevails in November:

...The unemployment rate rose from 7.7 percent when President Obama took office to more than 10 percent and was still 9.6 percent...in August...

...But would [the Republicans] have done better? The Republicans opposed the stimulus package, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it created between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

In other words, under Republican leadership, we would have at least an additional 1.4 million people out of work. As FactCheck.org, the indispensable truth squad Web site puts it: “It’s just false to say that the stimulus created ‘no jobs.’ ”

...Then there’s the national debt. The Republicans say, correctly, that Mr. Obama aggravated the debt with the stimulus bill. The latest Congressional Budget Office estimate is that the bill will worsen the deficit by $814 billion over a decade.

But as Andrew Romano, a senior writer for Newsweek, noted in an excellent blog post that helped inspire this column, the Republicans propose other actions that worsen the fiscal situation even more. For starters, the Republicans favor almost $700 billion in extended tax cuts for the most affluent Americans. The Democratic leadership opposes them.

In addition, the Republicans call for repealing the health care reform. The Congressional Budget Office suggests that repealing certain provisions of that act would mean an increase in deficits of about $455 billion. On the other hand, keeping health reform will trim the deficits by more than $170 billion between now and 2020, the C.B.O. says.

...The Democrats worsen the deficits by a net of about $640 billion, while Republicans worsen them by some $1.1 trillion — almost twice as much.

...Mr. Obama’s plan wouldn’t actually exclude the wealthiest Americans from tax cuts. It would cut billionaires’ taxes — but only for their first $250,000 in income.

The richest 0.1 percent of Americans (who earn an average of $8.4 million) would get an average tax cut of more than $61,000 under Mr. Obama’s proposal, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Under the Republican proposal, they would get an average tax cut of more than $370,000, the center says.

...the strong implication is that Republican rule would lead to the Trifecta of Torment: higher unemployment, worse deficits and greater inequity.

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