Speaker John Boehner gave his jobs speech yesterday before the Economic Club of Washington, and it couldn't have been more different from President Obama's jobs speech. Boehner has obviously gotten the memo about acrimony in Washington; he started soberly with an overture towards concord, making the (unconvincing?) observation that the president's plan offers "opportunities for common ground."
Then he got real:
But let's be honest with ourselves. The president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America…the policies that are needed to put America back to work.
If we want job growth, we need to recognize who really creates jobs in America. It's the private-sector.
Then Boehner got down to brass tacks:
There's a fundamental misunderstanding of the economy that leads to a lot of bad decisions in Washington, D.C.
The reality is that employers will hire if they have the right incentives, but the incentives have to outweigh the costs. Businesses are not going to hire someone for a $4000 tax credit if government mandates impose long-term costs on them that significantly exceed the temporary credit. In recent years, such mandates have been overwhelming.
Private-sector job creators of all sizes have been pummeled by decisions made in Washington….
My worry is that for American job creators, all the uncertainty is turning to fear that this toxic environment for job creation is a permanent state. …
My message to Washington today on their behalf: this isn't that hard. We need to liberate our economy from the shackles of Washington. Let our economy grow!.
National Review Online had an excellent symposium on the Boehner speech: Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute found the speech "mostly right;" interestingly, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director, compared the president with his ‘hifalutin, multiplier-driven economic abstractions,'" to Boehner, who seemed like "a real person."
John Berleu, director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs, recognized a very interesting development:
If this speech had been given just a month ago by Boehner or another GOP leader, taxes and spending would have dominated the talk, and overregulation, if brought up at all, would have been an afterthought. But since coming back from Labor Day, the regulatory state has moved to the front burner for Republicans. "Job creation in America is facing what I would call a triple threat from government; the first [emphasis added] aspect of this threat is excessive regulation," Boehner said.
And today in Boehner's speech, overregulation was first – from the opening that brought up the National Labor Relations Board's blocking Boeing's plant in right-to-work South Carolina, to the Fish and Wildlife Service's raid of the Gibson guitar factory in Tennessee, to the speech's title of "Liberating America's Economy." That title is similar to one of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's main themes of the past two and a half years: "Liberate to Stimulate."