In a must-read Washington Post op-ed today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor made the connection between the present jobs crisis and the nation’s ongoing debt crisis — and pinned blame for both on President Barack Obama:
[T]he Obama administration’s anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that “we want to make it harder to create jobs.” There is no other conclusion for policies such as the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the “Transport Rule,” which could eliminate thousands of jobs, or the ozone regulation that would cost upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade. The administration’s new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement are expected to affect nearly 100 cement plants, setting over-the-top requirements resulting in increased costs and possibly thousands of jobs being offshored. There is the president’s silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs. Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade. …
The debt crisis threatens our long-term future: the ability of our children and their children to have the same opportunities to succeed that this and previous generations enjoyed. Republicans passed a budget this spring, written by Rep. Paul Ryan, that would address our challenges head-on by putting in place common-sense reforms to manage our debt over the short and long term.
Unfortunately, we have found President Obama to be an unwilling partner when it comes to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Since taking office, he has added trillions to the debt, ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission and put forth a budget that failed to address the drivers of our debt. Then we had to drag him to the table to make even the modest spending cuts that Standard & Poor’s says don’t go far enough.
Cantor also took aim at the president’s reluctance to reform entitlements in the structural way necessary to ensure solvency and reiterated Republicans’ opposition to any new tax increases, writing that tax hikes would only “exacerbate the jobs crisis for the 14 million Americans out of work.”
As Cantor writes, the president’s class warfare rhetoric belies his purported concern for cooperation and action — and his willingness to raise taxes on even non-millionaire-and-billionaire households, like individuals reporting income of more than $200,000 and families and small businesses with incomes of more than $250,000, hints at the underlying agenda of his administration, which is, quite simply, to grow government.
Cantor does an admirable job of connecting the dots and drawing the distinction between the two ideologies in competition as the federal government attempts to solve the crises we face. In one corner, the president and his administration, out of a misguided paternalism, want the government to provide even what it cannot afford. In the other, Republicans in the House want to move government in the opposite direction — to reduce it so that American wage-earners may keep what they’ve worked for and invest it as they see fit (including in job creation!). Framed in such stark language, it’s difficult not to choose the latter.
For Republicans to enact their government-reducing agenda, though, the American people must deliver an electoral mandate in the Senate and the White House. Reminders, like this op-ed, of just what’s at stake in the next election — the heart of the American Dream, the idea of self-government over and against a secure-sounding (but ever-so-expensive!) wide social safety net — are needed now more than ever. Kudos to Cantor for laying out the Republican agenda early. Let’s hope he and the rest of House leadership repeat it often between now and November 2012.