Since his election as RNC Chairman last Friday, Michael Steele has been on a public relations offensive. His first order of business: urge his colleagues on Capitol Hill to reject President Obama’s economic recovery plan. “The goose egg that you laid on the president’s desk was just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful,” Steele told a group of GOPers this weekend, referring to the fact that no House Republicans voted for the plan last week.
As the bill moves to the Senate, Steele is upping his game. Trying to convince his Senate colleagues to obstruct the recovery package, Steele is arguing that the bill will not create jobs. In fact, a new talking point has emerged from Steele’s rhetoric — that no government, local, state or federal, has ever created a job. He made this bizarre claim over the weekend, and repeated it again today on CNN:
STEELE: And first off the government doesn’t create jobs. Let’s get this notion out of our heads that the government creates jobs. Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job. Small business owners do, small enterprises do. Not the government. When the government contract runs out, that job goes away. That’s what we’re talking about here and those 2 to 4 million jobs that are projected? Won’t happen, trust me.
However, Steele doesn’t seem to be on message — with himself. Just this morning on NPR, he ackowledged the recovery package “will create several hundred thousand at best.” But Steele’s “none, ever” talking point is beyond absurd. As Brian Beutler pointed out, Steele was employed by the government of Maryland when he was Lt. Governor there. “As were his staff members,” Beutler noted, adding, “As are, say, the 1.5 million or so active personnel in the Unite States armed forces. And so on and so on.”
And aside from noting the myriad government sponsored job creation programs starting from at least the New Deal era, CBO estimates that the recovery plan as passed in the House last week will create up to 3.6 million jobs by the end of next year (Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, says 3 million). Moreover, an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that infrastructure investment — which makes up a large part of the bill — creates more than 60,000 jobs for every $10 billion spent.
We understand Steele is new on the job, but he should try to get his talking points straight — and at least get them to make sense.