Low-tax and low-regulation. Because this approach has worked so well in the past (yeah…not so much), Republicans feel the need to unveil it again. Jon Huntsman, a 51-year-old Mormon, former Governor of Utah and ambassador to China, has been under pressure to come up with a jobs plan and this is apparently the best he can do. Let me ask you this: is there a Republican plan that is not “low tax” and “low regulation”?
Huntsman apparently thinks he can trump the others, including Mitt Romney and President Obama, by unveiling his über-plan on Wednesday, a week before Romney’s September 6th date and Obama’s post-Labor Day date. Seems like much ado about nothing, when you look at the two main ingredients. But Huntsman spokesman Michael Levoff says,
“Governor Huntsman is going to lay-out an economic agenda that would turn our economy around and allow entrepreneurs to thrive and create jobs – just as he did in Utah, where the state led the nation in job growth.”
The big moment will come on Aug. 31 at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire. Presumably, Gilchrist hasn’t sent all their jobs overseas like the really big companies do when they get tax breaks and deregulated. New Hampshire makes sense, given the importance of the primary there. But low-tax and low-regulation? Really?
He might as well have announced this while sitting on the toilet and taking a dump. I mean, it doesn’t get much more ho-hum than this, does it? Because really, a Republican talking low-tax and low-regulation is no more newsworthy than taking a dump.
Levoff wants us to believe that Huntsman is all about “made in America” as though any big American corporation cares where their stuff is made. They’re about the bottom line. If they can’t get cheap labor overseas they’ll round up exchange students to do the dirty work here in the U.S.
“He believes its time for us to make ‘Made in America’ mean something again, and a Granite State manufacturer is a great place to start.”
But what all this low-tax, low-regulation talk really stands for is “low-wage.” Low-wage Republicanism is the bane of the American worker, the bane of those trying to make ends meet, because low-wage is contrary to living-wage. Utah was under Gov. Huntsman, according to Deseret News om 2006, “one of some two dozen states with a minimum rate that mirrors the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t been increased since 1997.”
Huntsman, who already announced to America that he’s not really a moderate at all by saying he would “absolutely” be Bachmann’s VP, is, like every other Republican candidate for president, a low-wage Republican. He may like science, but he doesn’t much like the middle class. Bail out the corporations so they can max their profits while shipping jobs overseas and not hiring anyone at home. Somehow, this recipe is supposed to make America great again. I’ve yet to see an explanation of how exactly this is going to work. Simply insisting it does work is not enough, especially when that claim flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
When he announced his candidacy, Huntsman said,
“We cut taxes and flattened rates. We balanced our budget. Worked to maintain our AAA bond rating. When the economic crisis hit, we were ready,” he said. “And by many accounts we became the best state for business and the best managed state in America.”
Yes, Huntsman cut taxes (and raised them for a few) but he also spent and spent big, as the Cato Institute noted when at the end of 2006 he introduced the largest budget in Utah history. In 2007, Huntsman found he had $1.75 billion in surpluses so he spent that too and in the bargain, grew Utah government by one-third in two years.
The Obama campaign responded to Huntsman’s economic proposals back in June by saying,
“Governor Huntsman called for a more competitive and compassionate country, but he has embraced a budget plan that would slash our commitment to education, wipe out investments that will foster the jobs of the future and extend tax cuts for the richest Americans while shifting the burden onto seniors and middle class families,” the Obama campaign said.
“Like the other Republican candidates, instead of proposing a plan that will allow middle class families to reclaim their economic security, Governor Huntsman is proposing a return to the failed economic policies that led us into the recession.”
Huntsman made the claim that he was different:
“You’ll hear things you won’t be hearing from any other campaign,” he said in the email. “Our campaign is different. Our ideas are different. Our results will bring America back to the top.”
But if he’s different, if his ideas are different, as he claims, why is he saying the same thing every other Republican is saying? Low-taxes, low-regulation, increased spending, growing government…as Obama has pointed out, a recipe for disaster and the same policies that put us where we are today. All the other Republicans want to get back into the proverbial car we liberals and progressives so laboriously pushed out of the ditch; the only thing that separates Huntsman from the rest of them is that he changed the color of his key and say, “Hey, look, mine is different!”