What Republicans Argue When They Have Nothing Left To Say

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By Robert Reich

(This article originally appeared in Robert Reich’s blog on March 19, 2012)

Republicans are desperate. They can’t attack Obama on jobs because the jobs picture is improving.

Their attack on the Administration’s rule requiring insurers to cover contraception has backfired, raising hackles even among many Republican women.

Their attack on Obama for raising gas prices has elicited scorn from economists of all persuasions who know oil prices are set in global markets and that demand in the United States has actually fallen.

Their presidential ambitions are being trampled in a furious fraternal war among Republican candidates.

Their Tea Party wing wants to reopen the budget deal forged with Democrats after Republicans got bloodied by threatening to block an increase in the debt limit.

So what are Republicans to do now? What they always do when they have nothing else to say.

Call for a tax cut, of course.

It doesn’t matter that their new “tax reform” plan (leaked to the Wall Street Journal late Monday, to be released Tuesday morning) has as much chance of being enacted as Herman Cain has of being elected president.

It doesn’t matter than the plan doesn’t detail how they plan to pay for the tax cuts. Or whether an even bigger whack would have to be taken out of Medicare than Paul Ryan’s original voucher plan – which would drowned many elderly under rising medical costs.

It doesn’t even matter that the plan would probably raise taxes on many lower-income Americans,

All that matters is the headlines.

“House Republican Budget to Propose Lower Income Tax Rates,” says Bloomberg Businessweek. “Republican Budget Plan Seeks to Play Up Tax Reform,” says Reuters. “GOP’s Budget Targets Taxes,” blares the Wall Street Journal.

Presto. Republicans have gotten what they wanted on the basis of saying absolutely nothing.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause’s board chairman.


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