President Obama famously promised the creation of shovel-ready infrastructure jobs in the first bill ($787B stimulus) he signed soon after his 2009 Inauguration, only to scoff at the "shovel-ready" notion during his 2012 re-election campaign. Yet, in his latest "re-focus" on the economy last week, he once again proposed infrastructure (albeit shovel-neutral) jobs-creation spending as part of his self-described proposal for a "grand bargain" with Republicans.
Most of my fellow conservatives have understandably scoffed at the notion of a third round (round two in 2010 cost over $300B) of Keynesian government spending that so far has resulted in the worst economic "recovery" since WWII and has only stimulated jobs for government bureaucrats dispensing unemployment compensation benefits ad nauseam and studying the "dangerous" Keystone XL proposal to add 1,179 miles to the already-existing 2.5 million miles of pipelines across the Fruited Plain, again, ad nauseam.
Less understandable has been Republican opposition to reducing corporate and domestic manufacturing tax rates in exchange for the closing of business tax "loopholes". Yes, there would need to be a negotiation concerning exactly what is a "loophole" and what should necessarily be a legitimate business expense deduction, but to reject, out of hand, a reduction of our nation's non-competitive corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% merely because it would leave in place higher individual rates that apply to most small businesses is not wise. Conservative Republicans long ago forfeited (if they ever had it) any tax code-simplification-purity right to make the perfect (flat or fair) the enemy of the good (lower rates now).
Whenever any Democrat proposes the cutting of any tax rates or otherwise lowering of taxes, Republicans should take them up on it, period; much less oppose it based upon varying notions of "revenue neutrality". Yes, we should oppose the fraudulent labeling of legitimate and desired business tax deductions meant to actually increase the tax burden on corporations. But such opposition must be based upon the merits, and not an amorphous concept of revenue neutrality that could encompass rightful supply-side insistence on the dynamic scoring of tax rate reductions that have a history of increasing revenues commensurate with the increase in economic growth.
The inexplicable 2012 re-hiring of the epic economic failure that is President Barack Hussein Obama notwithstanding, winning intellectual arguments critiquing liberal Democratic Party proposals remains a necessary task for conservatives who understand that only Republican control of both houses of the legislative and executive branches of government makes possible the repeal Obamacare and other Obama policies that make an economic recovery worthy of the name "recovery" possible.
But how the GOP counters Obama-Democrat proposals matters and the negotiation of less-than-perfect bargains that, nevertheless, increase economic freedom and allow for increased wealth and job creation, however slight given the President's history of bad faith and demagoguery, should not be ruled out.
Of course, we can't agree to spend another thin dime down "green-energy" rat-holes. Rather, we should remind President Obama, even if al Qaeda didn't get the memo, of his declaration that "all wars must end"; and thus insist that he end his administration's wars on coal, affordable energy for the poor, and full-time private sector jobs via EPA and other government bureaucracy minders.
In that regard, Republicans should not be seen as knee-jerk reactionaries unalterably opposed to any infrastructure stimulus spending. Governments build and maintain roads and bridges, which activity necessarily still requires the labor of more human beings than computers and other machines. Sadly, Obama's stimuli-to-date focused on "saving" the jobs of non-shovel-needing, public sector labor union-dues-paying-into-Democrat-coffers state government employees and environmental impact-studying federal government employees that kill pipeline (Keystone XL) and other infrastructure jobs in order to "save" Planet Earth. Obama's "grand bargain" offer is a grand opportunity for Republicans to re-brand themselves as for the working man and the Democrats as the party that burdens the poor with high energy bills; and, just possibly, shame Obama's party into lowering tax rates so that more jobs will actually be created.
After all, a Chief Executive that can defy courts' ruling him in contempt for issuing illegal deep-water oil drilling moratoriums; and, unilaterally declare Dream Acts, suspend Obamacare employer mandates and end welfare-work requirements without Congress, can surely ready shovels for job creation. Let's make use of the opportunity with counter proposals rather than mere intellectual arguments that win zero votes.
Mike DeVine‘s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson