Right now, 14 million unemployed Americans are struggling to make ends meet. 44.4 percent of these Americans have been struggling without a job for six months or more. While Republican lawmakers continually put off their “jobs” agenda, many of these Americans receive much needed financial support from the federal unemployment benefits program. These benefits, unfortunately, will expire at the end of 2011.
GOP presidential frontrunner Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been touting a “jobs” candidacy and emphatically insists that she could spur some economic recovery within the first three months of her presidency, if “not the whole turnaround.” Her powerhouse plan? Fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, repeal “Obamacare,” and cut taxes for the wealthy. Indeed, today on NBC’s Meet The Press, Bachmann reiterated that, to ensure “job creation,” Congress needs to cut the coporate tax rate from 34 percent to “something that is far more competitive.” But when asked whether extending the much-needed jobless benefits is part of her jobs agenda, Bachmann flatly rejected the idea. “Frankly we don’t have the money,” she said:
BACHMANN: I think we need to focus on more than anything is, what will lead to job creation. And what will lead to job creation is taking the United States down from about the top corporate tax rate in the world at 34 percent down to something that is far more competitive.
GREGORY: What about extending jobless benefits for people who are out of work. Do you think that’s a necessary step?
BACHMANN: I think it would be very difficult for us to do because we frankly don’t have the money. That’s the bottom line in the United States. We are now, according to Mark Stein, he wrote a book called “After America,” and in his book he says we are the brokest [SIC] nation history. He said we have gone from the biggest creditor nation to the biggest debtor nation in a very short period of time.
GREGORY: So no on extending jobless benefits.
BACHMANN: Right now I don’t think we can afford it.
Bachmann’s focus on the corporate tax rate to create jobs and spur the economy is, at best, ironic. Right now, corporations are sitting pretty on trillions in cash reserves. Corporate profits are at record highs. Still, Bachmann advocates for cutting the corporate tax rate down to nine percent, a policy that would cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion over ten years. According to the Tax Policy Center, a ten point reduction would cost $915 billion. Such a significant blow to the deficit may be justifiable if it resulted in job creation. However, as the non-partisan CBO noted, it doesn’t.
By contrast, an extension of jobless benefits for six months would cost $34 billion and will actually generate two dollars of economic growth for every dollar spent — not to mention the peace of mind it would provide to millions of jobless Americans. A fact, it seems, that Bachmann frankly does not seem to care about.