GOP: Jobs Numbers Would Have Been Even Worse Without Bush Tax Cuts

Republicans were quick to blame President Barack Obama’s economic policies on the dismal jobs numbers announced Friday.But since Congress passed and the president signed a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy shouldn’t small businesses have used their tax breaks to hire more employees?

Republicans say those tax cuts have had an impact and that if they weren’t extended, Friday’s jobs numbers would have been even worse. The Bush tax cuts, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) told TPM, are only one part of what was needed to boost job numbers.

“There was no regulation relief,” Bishop said. “The president, every time he speaks, talks about raising taxes, and no one gets confused when he says millionaires and billionaires that it’s not millionaires and billionaires. He’s talking about raising taxes on small business, most of whom qualify in that $250,000 to $200,000 profit area.”

“It’s the president’s rhetoric that still scares people, its the president’s policies that still scare people. It’s happened in the past, and he should learn from history,” Bishop said.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) told TPM that the administration’s policies “are what is continuing to keep unemployment numbers so high,” and said “if the Bush tax relief had been allowed to expire it would have been worse.” The Bush tax cuts were “the status quo,” he said.

“I think when President Obama took office, unemployment was 7.6 percent now it’s 9.2 percent,” Smith said. “Certainly his polices have made it worse, whether it be the stimulus package or the anti-private sector free-enterprise policies, he clearly believes in more government, more spending and more taxes.”

Democrats said that the Republican theory that cutting taxes will create more jobs wouldn’t work out.

“With all this money that the private sector has, we keep hearing from the other side we’re going to cut our way to prosperity,” Rep. John Larson (D-CT) told TPM.

“How does that help the economy, how does it help unemployment as we see whats going on in our states already with people being laid off and people being cut?” Larson said. “How have those job numbers increased because of it. The more we have tightened our belts, rightfully so in a number of areas, where have the jobs come from. You can’t cut your way to prosperity.”

Additional reporting by Brian Beutler and Benjy Sarlin.