Boehner Is Once Again Short On Specifics In Economic Address

August 24, 2010 5:43 a.m.

Republicans billed it as a major economic speech by House Minority Leader John Boehner, and the prepared text of the speech itself promised “a plan to break the ongoing economic uncertainty.” But what followed was a familiar litany of criticisms of President Obama’s current policies — including a demand that he fire his Treasury Secretary and his chief economic adviser — but only a promise that the GOP will offer up its true plan weeks down the line.

Speaking in Ohio this morning, Boehner, who hopes to be Speaker of the House next year, acknowledged that Republicans will offer “a clear and positive governing agenda focused on getting people working again” next month.

For the time being, though, Boehner attacked a recent, $26 billion aide package Obama signed, helping states save the jobs of teachers and other public employees — in Boehner’s words “to protect government jobs.”

As terrible as that is, though, the bill is also paid for. “Even worse,” Boehner lamented, “the bill is funded by a new tax hike.”Boehner listed five things he’d like to see the White House do with Democrats still in the majority — “actions President Obama should take immediately to break this economic uncertainty and help more Americans find an honest day’s work,” in Boehner’s words.

First, Boehner said Obama should make sure that the Bush tax cuts for the rich are extended without the resulting deficits being paid for.

“Washington politicians who have spent the last 18 months borrowing and spending our economy into the ground are now fretting over whether we can afford the ‘cost’ of stopping job-killing tax hikes,” Boehner said. “Only in Washington would it be acceptable to think that taxpayers should have to pay for the privilege of keeping more of their own hard-earned money.”

The CBO projects that preserving tax cuts for the rich would add $700 billion to the deficit.

Second, Boehner said that Obama should not press Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill or legislation making it easier for employees to form a union during lame duck session — something Democrats have shown almost no appetite for so far this year.

Third, Boehner believes that Obama should press his top lieutenants on the Hill to take the first steps toward appealing his flagship health care bill, starting with the so-called 1099 mandate. “One of the new law’s most controversial mandates requires small businesses to report any total purchases that run more than $600,” Boehner said. While there is indeed bipartisan support for repealing this provision — which is intended to reduce tax fraud and is expected to raise revenue — Republicans are unwilling to replace the the inevitably lost tax revenues with money from any new source.

Boehner also called, once again, for the stimulus to end, and for Obama to fire the remaining leaders of his economic team, including Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

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