Charles Lane Is Confused About the Republican Agenda

December 10, 2013

Washington Post columnist Charles Lane argues that President Obama’s newly proclaimed focus on inequality is misplaced, saying that it is not likely to be a popular agenda. He concludes by noting some polling results and then commenting:

“Create jobs, slash debt, then worry about equality. Isn’t that the Republican pitch?”

Actually this is not at all the Republican pitch. The Republican pitch is to reduce taxes for rich people and corporations. It also calls for reducing regulations that prevent corporations from taking property from or harming individuals. For example, they are opposed to requiring oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking so that nearby residents would be able to hold companies accountable if these chemicals contaminated their land and water.

As a vast body of research shows, the best way to create jobs in the current economy is to have the government spend money in areas that create jobs, like teaching, health care, or improving infrastructure. While job creation would strengthen the labor market and reduce inequality by increasing wages for those at the middle and bottom of the distribution, the Republicans are completely opposed to this agenda. They have demanded cuts in spending that slow growth and reduce employment. Also, the Republicans never worry about equality.



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