The Washington Post buried the story about Speaker Boehner’s remarks on the possible loss of federal jobs resulting from reduced spending. The story is inside the Metro section, probably because he was talking about government jobs, of which many are local. It’s a stretch but that’s the only reason I can see for its placement.
But Dana Milbank writes about the comment on the op-ed page and in it states a truth that should be part of this debate but this is the only time I’ve seen it stated.
Let’s assume that Boehner is not as heartless as his words sound. Let’s accept that he really believes, as he put it, that "if we reduce spending we’ll create a better environment for job creation in America." A more balanced budget would indeed improve the jobs market – in the long run.
But in the short run, the cuts Boehner and his caucus propose would cause a shock to the economy that would slow, if not reverse, the recovery. And however pure Boehner’s motives may be, the dirty truth is that a stall in the recovery would bring political benefits to the Republicans in the 2012 elections. It is in their political interests for unemployment to remain higher for the next two years. "So be it" is callous but rational.
The strategy is canny. First focus on discretionary spending where you can cut ideologically. Republicans are hoping to kill programs they don’t like before they tackle the real problem, entitlements. I’m sure their strategy then will be to cut entitlements for the poor and middle class while preserving them for the truly entitled.
A proven communications strategy is to accuse your opponent of something you think they will hit you with, so when they do, it seems calculated by your opponent and becomes easy to fight back against. Obama and Democrats ought now to start charging the GOP with killing jobs by cutting spending, so when it happens, you can say, “I told you so.” Because killing jobs is just what the GOP wants.