Turning a Lemon into Lemonade.
Yes, that H.R.589. From the Orange County Register…
Thursday’s meeting might best be described as exploratory because a large gulf remains about how to pay for the estimated $16 billion cost of the benefits.
When Lee introduced the bill in February, she argued the cost should be deemed emergency benefits and added to the deficit as has been traditional with unemployment extensions. The Republicans balked, contending the additional aid should be paid for through cuts in other programs.
Lee, in her request last month for a meeting with the House leadership, said she was open to discussing funding and “to exhausting every possible option for passing the bill.”
House Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., released a statement in response saying he looked forward to the meeting “and would like to broaden the conversation to focus on ways to grow the economy, spur investment and create jobs rather than simply extending unemployment benefits in some instance beyond the maximum of 99 weeks currently permitted.”
This is exactly right.
Lost among all of the debate about the amounts of spending to be cut and the size of the deficit has been one undeniable fact-without doing something to encourage investment, hiring and economic growth, there is no way to get a handle on said deficit. Period. We cannot grow our way to a balanced budget-but we can’t just cut spending and ignore the economy either. Both are needed and if anything, job creation is the more urgent if not important. Whatever motives Reps. Lee and Scott and their co-sponsors have for pushing this bill (a cynic might see them as cultivating a new million plus voting block for the next election by proposing a bill they have no intention of passing, but give them the benefit of the doubt) this bill is a prime opportunity to pass vital legislation (promised in the Pledge to America, BTW) that would otherwise be DOA in the senate.
1) Since the Senate seems dead-set against allowing the rider defunding Obamacare pass in the 2011 budget, let’s throw them a bone. We add it on here instead, the 10 Billion in savings this year (not to mention the 100+billion this decade) is a good down payment on offsetting the UI costs. Of course, they’ll just have to agree to more cuts in the budget, but that’s their problem. And again, getting this economy moving is more urgent that whether they shut Washington down or not.
2) Add the EPA rider as well. Both of these measures are not only vital, but should have a direct impact on encouraging investment and growth. The other two riders-as worthy as they are-have nothing to do with growth and are insignificant budget-wise.
3) Include a 20% deduction for small business investment.
4) Make mandatory cost/benefit analysis for all new federal regulations and congressional oversight for any that cost the economy 100 million or more.
5) Reduce capital gains tax rates for the next two years.
Okay, I just added the last one, it wasn’t in the Pledge. But you get where I’m coming from-work out the details. The fact is, the million plus individuals currently on unemployment need jobs. Real jobs in the private sector (remember that, Mr. President?) that don’t currently exist. This would not only give them short term aid but the opportunity to become employed taxpayers helping our economy and voting GOP in 2012 instead of bitter impoverished Democrat victims. Keep in mind (from the same register article):
As of March, 6.1 million people nationwide had been out of work more than six months, 45.5% of all the unemployed. In California, the number of long-term unemployed has topped 1 million since last August.
The number of unemployed who have exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits continues to climb. As of March 29, more than 377,000 Californians had fallen off the unemployment rolls, according to the state Employment Development Department. It is not known how many of those have since found jobs.
And did I mention it would help reduce the deficit?
Now there has been talk from some here at RS about the ‘principled’ reasons to oppose any extensions regardless of offsets. Let’s just say at the best these arguments are well-meaning but misguided. I’ll just use the comments for a Teachable Moment to deal with them.
Presuming anyone reads this.
Of course, your colleagues in the Senate could just kill the whole thing anyway. Or President Obama could veto it. And explain to today’s unemployed and next year’s voters why they are opposed to aid to the jobless and job creation.
Again-their problem. Ours (and by ours, I mean yours) is fixing this economy.
Like you all Pledged.