America is broke, complain the Republicans. “Cutting the deficit will create jobs,” says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
“Not true,” says Robert Reich, University of California at Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton. Not only is Cantor’s claim not true, but the U.S. has been in debt every year since its founding in 1776. “But truth doesn’t seem to matter, Reich laments. “Republicans apparently believe that if big lies like this are repeated often enough, people start to believe them. Unless, that is, those big lies are repudiated – and big truths are told in their place.”
Reich lists four GOP lies continually repeated about the economy:
- “Cutting taxes on the rich creates jobs,”
- “Cutting corporate income taxes creates jobs,”
- “Cuts in wages and benefits create jobs, ” and
- “Regulations kill jobs.”
If Republicans told the truth, they would get very few votes in 2012.
Republican President Theodore Roosevelt differed with the claim of current Republicans that taxes should not be raised on the rich. In stark contrast, he said:
A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood.
Thomas Roosevelt also said, “No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered.”
Republicans say that cutting corporate income taxes also creates jobs. “Baloney”, says Robert Reich. ” American corporations don’t need tax cuts. Many of them, like General Electric, manipulate the tax code so they don’t pay any taxes at all. In fact, big companies are sitting on more than $1.5 trillion of cash right now. They won’t invest it in additional capacity or jobs because they don’t see enough customers out there with enough money in their pockets to buy what the additional capacity would produce.”
To the Republican claim, “Cuts in wages and benefits create jobs,” Reich again scoffed:
Congressional Republicans and their state counterparts repeat this howler incessantly – the same untruth is used to justify corporate America’s incessant demands for wage and benefit concessions from average workers. And it’s used to justify corporate and state battles against unions. But it’s dead wrong. Meager wages and benefits are reducing the spending power of tens of millions of American workers, which is prolonging the jobs recession.” He added with this important advice, “Obama should be standing up for the wages and benefits of ordinary Americans and explaining why this claim is wrong. The president should be traveling to the Midwest, taking aim at Republican governors in the heartland who are hell-bent on destroying the purchasing power of American workers.
Just as GOP claims about cutting taxes and wages and benefits are false, so is the claim that “regulations kill jobs.” Instead, Reich once again tells the truth: “House Republicans are using this whopper [that regulations creates jobs] to justify their attempts to defund regulatory agencies. Regulations whose costs to business exceed their benefits to the public are unwarranted, of course, but reasonable regulation is necessary to avoid everything from nuclear meltdowns to oil spills to mine disasters to food contamination – all of which we’ve sadly witnessed.”
Shortly after taking office, Present Obama presented proposals that would change international tax policy. His plans would:
- Eliminate benefits for companies and wealthy individuals that store cash in off shore accounts ($11.5 trillion in offshore tax havens, $605 trillion in speculation (International Trade Union Confederation, as reported by the AFL-CIO in June, 2011),
- Keep firms from taking deductions by inflating their foreign tax and payments, and
- End tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.
Republicans rejected each proposal. Republicans reject every effective job plan and then blame Democrats for unemployment.