House Republicans continue their march to nowhere

The GOP debuts its own economic recovery plan: A tax cut in every pot.

By Andrew Leonard

Published January 27, 2009 10:28PM (EST)

Determined to prove their functional relevance to the American political process in 2009, the House Republicans are planning to debut their own economic recovery plan on Wednesday, reports The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder.

What's it boil down to? Tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts. Oh, and a commitment by Congress not to raise taxes to pay for future deficits.

Ambinder says there are four main proposals (in addition to the pledge not to raise taxes):

  • A "permanent" five percentage point cut for people in the 10 percent and 15 percent tax brackets.
  • A small business tax deduction of 20 percent.
  • Removal of the tax on unemployment benefits.
  • A $7,500 tax credit for homebuyers who make a minimum down payment of 5 percent.

I will acknowledge I have never quite understood why there is a tax on unemployment benefits. It seems like adding insult to injury. And I also have to confess to being impressed by House Republican chutzpah. After a president whose economic policy agenda was defined by huge tax cuts led the country into an financial cataclysm, their only substantive proposal for fixing the mess is more of the same? There's a reason why the Democrats have dominated the last two Congressional elections, and you're looking right at it.

The simplest way to explain the House Republican plan is as posturing designed to bolster the standing of conservative politicians who represent safe, conservative districts. But one has to wonder how this will play with the general public. On Tuesday, Obama generously visited with both the House and Senate Republican caucuses, and told them that the American people expected "action." But before the President even arrived at Capitol Hill, the House Republican leadership was instructing the membership to vote against the Democratic bill. And now they're proposing a sham of their own which has zero chance of being enacted. I don't think that's the kind of "action" Americans are hoping for.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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