Somebody on Facebook was commenting that with all the attention on the Affordable Care Act, it seems little has been done with regard to job creation.
The poster asked what happened to the “laser focus” on job creation that President Obama has been promising us on and off for the last five years.
One of my liberal friends posted this, “As for job creation, it seems the GOP has worked hard to prevent any jobs bills from being passed in the last four years.”
This seems to be a theme pressed by liberals – that Republicans only obstruct. All they do is say no and they have no ideas of their own.
But if you do even a modest amount of research, you find that’s not really very accurate.
Following is a list the Republican-led U.S. House of Representative has labeled “The Forgotten 15.” These are 15 jobs bill passed by the House that have been stonewalled in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, according to gop.gov
• The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act
• The Energy Tax Prevention Act
• A Resolution of Disapproval Regarding FCC’s Regulation (H.J. Resolution 37 prevents the federal government from regulating the Internet and broadband providers.)
• Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act
• Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act
• Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act
• The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act
• The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act
• The Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011
• The North American-Made Energy Security Act
• The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act
• The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts Act
• The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act
• The EPA Regulatory Relief Act
• The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act
After each one of these was passed in the House, the Senate leadership refused to bring them to the floor for a vote.
Now, certainly one could argue about the merits of each of these, but Congress never got to that point in the process. These bills were just dismissed out of hand without any debate, much less a vote.
So it seems just a bit disingenuous to say Republicans have no ideas. Their ideas just aren’t gettin’ in.
The situation with regard to health care legislation is even more startling. Again, Republicans are painted as merely obstructionist with no ideas.
Well, Avik Roy writes a column for Forbes.com called the Apothecary. He labels it, “Insights into health care and entitlement reform.”
Roy notes: “It’s arguably the favorite myth of progressives, the oft-repeated claim that Republicans have no health plan. Hence, President Obama was fully justified in ignoring them and proceeding to enact a comprehensive health reform law on a strict party line vote — something completely unprecedented in American political history.
Roy then presents an impressive list of progressives who propagate the myth that Republicans have no health reform plans.
Then he offers the following:
“Let’s start with 5 comprehensive health reform proposals that have actually been introduced in Congress — some well before President Obama even was nominated for president, and all months before the House (11/7/09) or Senate (12/24/09) voted on what eventually became Obamacare.”
• Ten Steps to Transform Health Care in America Act – July 12, 2007
• Every American Insured Health Act – July 26, 2007
• Healthy Americans Act –  Jan. 18, 2007, re-introduced Feb. 5, 2009.
• Patients’ Choice Act – May 20, 2009.
• H.R. 2300, Empowering Patients First Act introduced July 30, 2009.
Roy also notes that conservative market-oriented health policy scholars “developed a rich menu of potential replacement plans for Obamacare”:
• Individual Pay or Play proposed in 2005 by John Goodman.
• Health Status Insurance originally proposed by John Cochrane in 1995.
• Universal Health Savings Accounts proposed by John Goodman and Peter Ferrara in 2012.
• James C. Capretta and Robert E. Moffit, “How to Replace Obamacare,” National Affairs, no. 11 (Spring 2012).
• James C. Capretta. Constructing an Alternative to Obamacare: Key Details for a Practical Replacement Program. American Enterprise Institute, December 2012.
• Flexible Benefits Tax Credit For Health Insurance by Lynn Etheredge in 2001.
• Near-Universal Health Insurance Exchanges proposed in 2001 by Sara Singer, Alan Garber and Alain Enthoven (covers only non-elderly).
• Universal Health Insurance Exchanges proposed in 2013 by former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy (covers Medicare and Medicaid in addition to privately insured).
He also writes:
“Too many people conveniently ignore that in his 2007 State of the Union message President Bush proposed a sweeping health reform plan that would have replaced the current tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage with standard tax deductions for all individuals and families.
“The Bush plan called for a tax deduction that would have applied to payroll taxes as well as income taxes. Moreover, if one were worried about non-filers, the subsidy could easily have instead been structured as a refundable tax credit in which case even those without any income taxes would have gotten an additional amount.
“This is the kind of policy detail that easily could have been negotiated had the Democrats been in a cooperative mood in 2007. They were not. On the contrary, President Bush’s health plan was declared ‘dead on arrival’ by Democrats in 2007. Yet it is Republicans who were tagged as being uncooperative and intransigent when they resisted the misguided direction that Obamacare seemed to be headed.
“What’s sad is that the Bush plan actually was superior to Obamacare when it comes to providing universal coverage. Remember, Obamacare actually does not provide universal coverage. The latest figures from CBO says that when it is fully implemented in 2016, Obamacare will cut the number of uninsured by only 45 percent, covering 89 percent of the non-elderly. Even if illegal immigrants are excluded, this percentage rises to only 92 percent. In contrast, the Bush plan (without a mandate!) would have cut the number of uninsured by 65 percent. But that’s ancient history.”
I know this stuff is a little dry, but if you want to read Roy’s entire article – it’s considerably longer than I have condensed it here – it can be found online at:
www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/08/28/seriously-the-republicans-have-no-health-plan
The takeaway in all this for me is that it seems if lawmakers could have blended some of these Republican ideas with the Democrat ideas within Obamacare, we could have had a right nice health care plan.
But no.
It’s about exclusion when it should be about inclusion. It’s about power and control when it should be about policy and competence.
And it’s about right and left when it should be about right and wrong.