Conventional political wisdom would say Republicans will block any job plan President Barack Obama tries to propose. After all, it is in their best interests, right?
This is false. Congressional Republicans would be wise to work with the president on a job creation bill that deals with low consumer demand and includes tax cuts to businesses, as well as massive long-term deficit reduction.
Combine Obama's charisma, the weak GOP field, and the demographics that have improved since 2008, and the GOP can only hope for a tough win in 2012.
If you assume that Obama will not lose in a landslide and can only lose narrowly — and with a lousy economy — then you also assume that voters will take their fury out on all incumbents. The Congressional Republicans poll at about 30% below Obama right now. Coattail effects from a marginal win will not save their hides. Blocking Obama will not save the GOP. They will go down with him. And so will America if we don't address the jobs crisis.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Republicans in Congress can still save themselves. They could listen to the Chamber of Commerce and pass a huge infrastructure bill and corporate tax reform to bring the top rate down. They could listen to a majority of Americans and pass payroll tax cuts. Not only that, but the president just offered them trillions more in cuts.
The economic consensus is that a lack of consumer demand is holding back the economy. The middle class is in debt. Businesses — having trimmed their inventories more efficiently ever before — have achieved record profits, but they are not hiring, because no one is buying their products. You don't hire people if you aren't moving inventory. Plus, even if you're not a right-wing economic extremist, what's the worst thing that could happen? We increase our total debt by 2% and build some bridges, roads, and schools? Cry me a river and I'll drive over it on a bridge that doesn't fall down.
Congressional Republicans should listen to big business and pass his jobs plan. They would be smart to amend it with additional ideas that increase job creation. And they should work with Obama to pay for it by passing an unprecedented deficit deal with hard spending caps and shared sacrifice. By doing so, they won't just help the country — they’ll help themselves and prove to Americans that Washington is not broken.
Photo Credit: Medill DC