Freshman Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) bashed Obama on the economy Saturday and offered a Republican jobs plan. The problem is his speech was short on facts and in some cases peppered with misleading information. Heller moved to the Senate earlier this year when GOP Senator Ensign had to resign as a result of an ethics scandal. Let’s examine.
Heller insinuates Republicans are pushing jobs while Obama is posturing
There is no question that jobs are the most important thing on voters’ minds and nothing has been done for jobs this year. Since taking office in January, Republicans have not introduced or supported a single job creating bill. Their agenda has been focused like a laser on three things: a) GOP social agenda items like abortion, b) spending cuts, which, necessary or not, are by nature job killers not job creators, and c) protecting tax breaks for the oil companies and the wealthy.
Unlike Republicans, Obama and the Democrats have proposed bills to prevent unemployment from increasing, and create jobs. Republicans have unanimously killed all of them. One was a proposal to extend the stimulus for another year to avoid teachers and policemen from being laid off. It wasn’t extended and 500,000 public employees lost their jobs worsening unemployment. Every other job creating bill so far has been killed by the GOP.
So it appears that the political posturing charge on jobs really applies to Republicans.
Heller calls “Obamacare” a job killing law; facts say the opposite
Speaking from insurance company talking points, Heller called “Obamacare” a “job killer”. However, even though most provisions have not been implemented, statistics do not back up Heller’s one liner. In fact, they show the opposite.
Since 2009 when “Obamacare” was passed, the health care industry has not lost jobs. It is in fact the industry that is one of the largest jobs generators in the post-Recession period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry added about 750,000 new jobs in 2010 and 2011.
As for his charge that the health care law is “killing small business,” there is no factual basis to back that up. Small businesses have benefited from the tax credits they get for providing insurance to their workers. Small business is hurting because of the lack of consumer demand in the economy, high gas prices, and a lack of credit, not any onerous provisions of “Obamacare.” If there is any job loss strictly because of the insurance mandate in Obama care in some businesses, it is off set by gains in other businesses that benefit from the tax credits.
So, it appears the job killing label is not accurate.
Heller falsely implied Republicans favor assistance to unemployed
Heller said, “We can help hasten an economic recovery by embracing pro-growth policies… At the same time, we should be assisting those who have lost their jobs and need help.” Let’s look at the record.
Last year Republicans filibustered the bill that would have extended unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of workers who lost their jobs as a result of the recession (which began on Republican’s watch.) The benefits were only extended after Republicans forced Obama and the Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy until 2013.
That extension is about to expire again, and millions are still unemployed. Republican leadership is unanimous in stating that unemployment benefits should not be extended. So Heller is correct that jobs must be created while assisting those without jobs, but electing Republicans is not going to accomplish that—it will do just the opposite.
He advocated closing tax loopholes but Republicans killed that last month
He said policymakers should turn to a major tax code overhaul that makes it simpler for individuals and employers, and closes special interest “loopholes” while lowering people’s overall tax bill. This is a good idea put forth by Obama, Democrats, economists, and others. Everyone is for it except Republicans in Congress. They walked out of debt ceiling negotiations over this very issue.
Almost every Republican in Congress has signed a pledge to lobbyist Grover Norquist to never raise taxes. Closing loopholes will result in hundreds of thousands of corporations and billionaires having to pay taxes when they don’t now. Closing loopholes is a violation of their pledge according to Norquist.
So, right idea, wrong party.
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Heller makes good points on what needs to be done to fix the economy and grow jobs. Where the wheels come off the bus is asserting that electing Republicans to Congress or the White House will accomplish any of the things he laid out in his economic plan.