Economic Outlook: Do the math, Mr. Cantor

By ANTHONY HALL, United Press International
Economic Outlook: Do the math, Mr. Cantor
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks alongside Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a press conference on the debt ceiling vote on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 28, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

If House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wants to remove obstacles to economic growth, one possible option is that he stop lowering his own credibility.

In a Sunday op-ed piece published in The Washington Post, Cantor appeared willing to prove Abraham Lincoln right, at least in a pedestrian sense. Lincoln is attributed with the concept -- although it might be an urban myth to credit the 16th president -- that it is best to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and prove it.


Cantor said there were two crises confronting the U.S. economy. First, he said, "is the federal government's debt crisis, the result of decades of fiscal mismanagement by both political parties."

The second issue, he said, was jobs.

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He then writes 900 words almost to the number and never mentions once how he would create even one job for Americans.


Besides, back up the truck. Cantor is groping for credibility here by implying the Republican party is just as guilty as Democrats in mismanaging the federal budget.

Do the math, Mr. Cantor: Two wars that the Defense Department estimates cost taxpayers $9.7 billion per month, roughly the size of the Environmental Protection Agency's annual budget -- the department Cantor deplores as being part of President Obama's anti-job agenda.

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Congress has allotted $1.3 trillion for defense spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost to a dime what the so-called supercommittee of lawmakers is being asked to propose as cuts to the budget by Nov. 23.

And, what if the number was a bit too simplistic? At Brown University, a recent study pegged the actual cost of the two wars at $3.7 trillion, the Times Leader reported.

The Bush tax cuts? Do the math, Mr. Cantor. Recent estimates put the cost of the tax cuts at $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years and, wouldn't you know it, that is, roughly speaking, the total in spending cuts that Congress has been trying to find over the next 10 years, including the $1.2 trillion in proposals expected from the supercommittee.

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The Henry Paulson Jr. slash George W. Bush bank bailout? Do the math. The original price tag was $900 billion. Now Republicans point to the Troubled Asset Relief Program and shudder, blaming anti-business Democrats, who were left to see the program through, and dutifully sell its credibility to the public. Incidentally, the program's final cost will be less than $25 billion and, incidentally, the program worked.


Oddly, the Obama administration, says Cantor, is looking to make government permanently bigger. At the same time, if it came to bailing out the nation's banks or the automobile industry, Republicans now hyperventilate. Democrats, they say, are anti-business, but it sounds more popular today to blame the bailout rather than, say, blame the banks that put the housing market in a tailspin.

If it came to recommending a second rescue of U.S. banks in 2011, the Republican party would be hiding under their desks, at the same time telling voters the other guys are anti-business.

It's too bad, too. Businesses could use less regulation and raising business taxes may not be a splendid idea.

Taxing the wealthy, as billionaire Warren Buffett said, shouldn't even be an issue -- and if it shouldn't be an issue and one party declares that it is, that is called ideology.

Cantor has muddied the waters with ideology. Point blank,what he is really saying is, "We will not work with you." That means there is only one job he is interested in saving. His.

In international markets Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan rose 1.22 percent and the Shanghai composite index in China rose 1.52 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 1.99 percent and the Sensex in India gained 0.96 percent.


In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index gained 2.23 percent.

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.42 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany rose 0.4 percent. The CAC 40 in France added 0.93 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.41 percent.

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