The "Jobs Plan" After the Stimulus

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 19 2010 9:19 AM

The "Jobs Plan" After the Stimulus

I have a piece up at the main page about how various candidates -- mostly Republicans -- are running on promises to create jobs but trying to avoid the mistakes of 2009, when Democrats offered economic models of how many jobs they could create. In the place of "multipliers" and studies of what can increase employment, candidates are going back to ideas that please the base and sound good.

Dig into candidates' jobs plans and you find ideas that have beendiscredited by previous experience or made to look better than seriouseconomists think they are. Jeff Greene, a billionaire running for U.S.Senate in Florida, has one ad in which he repeats the word "jobs" seven times in 30 seconds. What didhe plan to do to create them, other than being an "incrediblysuccessful businessman"? Tax credits and "green jobs," the latter beingthe absolute least successful concept of the last two years of Democratic governance. Commercials for OhioU.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman, a Republican, emphasize the word"jobs" again and again and point viewers to the "Portman Plan to CreateOhio Jobs," a 12-page document downloadable from his Web site. Amongthe job-creation ideas: rescuing a Bush "small business tax cut" whichaffects about 2 percent of small business owners.

"My own view isthat tax cuts are virtually useless under current economic conditions,"says Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist and Bush White Houseveteran. While he doesn't want the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2011, heaccuses Republican candidates of engaging in "90 percent dogma and 10percent pandering to the Republican base."

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David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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