Earlier this month, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) was unable to identify any Republican ideas that separate today’s GOP from that of former President George W. Bush, simply saying “the vision for Republicans going forward is to produce pro-growth tax policies.” This hearkened back to Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) performance last year, when he was asked to explain the GOP’s “big idea” for job creation, and could only stammer “the big idea is to get, to get, to produce an environment where we can have job creation again.”
Yesterday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — one of the so-called Republican “Young Guns,” who claims to be “changing the face of the Republican Party and giving Americans a road-map to get back to the American Dream” — was asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley to name an idea not already suggested by Bush that would “make a major difference in what’s going on right now.” McCarthy, after Crowley pointed out that Bush had already suggested the first thing he named, then called for rolling back the stimulus, therefore repealing tax breaks for the middle class:
CROWLEY: It does seem to me that Democrats have taken out after you all because there isn’t an idea out there that you haven’t seen either executed or proposed in the Bush years. What is that idea that’s out there that would make a major difference in what’s going on right now?
MCCARTHY: Well, fundamentally, we should look at how we spend our money. We should spend the money in government just as we do in households.
CROWLEY: But didn’t they do that in the Bush administration? I think that’s the problem here, and you know there were some disastrous Sunday appearances…
MCCARTHY: The first thing I would do, I would end the uncertainty. I would end the uncertainty for business to invest. I would invest in small business, where I would give a 20 percent deduction for the income for small business, less than 500 employees, to actually start going. I would roll back the stimulus, that’s $260 billion.
I’m fairly certain that Bush never did, in fact, call for raising taxes on the middle class. But I don’t think that’s the kind of difference McCarthy wants to be advertising.
According to Recovery.gov, McCarthy actually lowballed the remaining stimulus funds a bit, as there are about $289 billion that haven’t been paid out. But much of the money has already been allocated, including $65 billion in funding for tax breaks, which are intentionally going out the door a little bit at a time. Rolling back the stimulus as McCarthy suggests would necessitate rescinding these already promised tax cuts.
McCarthy also paid a lot of lip service to small businesses, without pointing out that in June he voted against a bill that provided small businesses with tax credits and set up a lending facility to get them loans amidst the credit crunch. And I guess that’s one more way in which McCarthy is employing the Bush playbook: saying one thing yet doing another.