Of all the Republican spin coming out of Washington in recent months, nothing quite exceeds in audacity this statement by House Speaker John Boehner in response to the jobs report showing unemployment dipping below 9%:
“The improvement seen in this report is a credit to the hard work of the American people and their success in stopping the tax hikes that were due to hit our economy on January 1,” Boehner says in a statement. “Removing the uncertainty caused by those looming tax hikes provided much-needed relief for private-sector job creators in America.
Gee, mighty nice of Boehner to give a shout-out to “the American people,” and not just those wealthy “job creators,” currently sitting on some of the highest business profits in recent history, that the rest of us must perpetually bow down to if we’d like to have a job. It’s especially amusing to see someone who is holding the operations of the federal government hostage to demands for new budget cuts take credit for reducing “uncertainty.”
Until fairly recently, there was something of a bipartisan consensus in this country that economic growth depended on a variety of factors other than corporate or high-income tax rates, such as the skills and knowledge of the work force, the positioning of the country with respect to key future industries like sustainable energy, and national progress on challenges like rising health care costs. Yes, conservatives worried about top-end tax rates and regulatory costs, but few if any pretended these were the only issues. Now, at a time of almost unprecedented income inequality, the GOP is committed to the proposition that only by making the rich richer can anyone else be vouchsafed any sort of future at all. That, my friends, is a particularly perverse form of the “class warfare” conservatives are always accusing progressives of trying to foment.