In response to today’s report showing that the economy created 157,000 jobs last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement lamenting the disbanding of a symbolic jobs council and blasting a nonexistent surge in government spending:
“This is the wrong time for President Obama to scrap his jobs council and delay his budget. Month after month we see the same thing: high unemployment and even more debt. More than 12 million Americans are still unemployed, and it’s been that way for far too long. If government spending were what causes economic growth, as the president believes, then the economy today should be booming, and the unemployment rate in America should be plummeting.”
“Instead of accepting sluggish job growth as the new normal, we need to work together to grow our economy, address our debt crisis, and expand opportunity for all Americans. In the weeks ahead, Republicans will outline another budget that addresses our spending problem and promotes robust job creation.”
This statement shows Boehner has no interest in conveying that he understands what’s happening in the economy. For starters, there has been no surge in government spending: spending under Obama is growing at its slowest rate since the Eisenhower administration. In fact, the slight economic contraction that occurred in the fourth quarter of last year is solely attributable to a drop in government spending, as the private sector hummed along.
Next, Boehner decries the disbanding of a purely symbolic jobs council about 18 months after congressional Republicans blocked the actual American Jobs Act. While President Obama’s jobs council was powerless to implement real changes, the American Jobs Act, according to several independent economic analyses, would have significantly boosted economic growth and created millions of jobs.
Europe’s current economic malaise and the latest GDP numbers show the detrimental effect that spending cuts can have in a weak economy. Yet Boehner and the GOP continue to push in that direction, clinging to an economic theory that simply hasn’t worked.