As I wrote earlier, Speaker of the House, John Boehner made a rather callous statement on the possibility of federal budget cuts leading to job losses:
“And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it.
A reporter at that press conference asked Boehner if he had an estimate of how many jobs could be lost. Boehner did not. In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank has this to say:
Well, Mr. Speaker, I do. I checked with budget expert Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress, and, using the usual multipliers, he calculated that the cuts - a net of $59 billion in the last half of fiscal 2011 - would lead to the loss of 650,000 government jobs, and the indirect loss of 325,000 more jobs as fewer government workers travel and buy things. That's nearly 1 million jobs - possibly enough to tip the economy back into recession.
In other words, Boehner is willing to sacrifice a million jobs to play politics:
But in the short run, the cuts Boehner and his caucus propose would cause a shock to the economy that would slow, if not reverse, the recovery. And however pure Boehner's motives may be, the dirty truth is that a stall in the recovery would bring political benefits to the Republicans in the 2012 elections. It is in their political interests for unemployment to remain higher for the next two years. "So be it" is callous but rational.
Rational? I prefer to call it "insane." These are people's lives we're talking about. There aren't enough jobs for the millions already unemployed.
Then there's this:
Among the savings proposed by the Obama administration (and before that, the Bush administration) is to end the wasteful effort to develop a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon is satisfied with the engine it has, made by Pratt & Whitney, and it doesn't want the second engine, made by General Electric and others. Eliminating the second engine would save $450 million this year and some $3 billion over 10 years.
But it just so happens that a GE plant that develops the second engine employs 7,000 people in Evendale, Ohio, near Boehner's district. Rather than take a so-be-it attitude toward jobs his constituents may hold, he's backing an earmark-like provision in the spending legislation to keep funding the unneeded GE engine.
The military doesn't want the engine. Eliminating it would save billions. "So be it" is good medicine for the rest of the country, just not Speaker Boehner's district.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org