Serial Job Killers: House Republicans Ducking Blame for Unemployment. GOP Backtracks on Economic Promise. Cenk Uygur MSNBC TV June 3, 2011 Video and Transcript.

CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening, everybody. It turns out I`m Cenk Uygur.

Now, look, we`ve got bad news for you off the top. The economy is down, and the Republicans are pushing to make it even worse, unfortunately. And that`s our lead story tonight.

Today, we learned just 54,00 jobs were added last month, bumping the unemployment rate up to 9.1 percent. Nearly 14 million people are unemployed. That is a very bad number, obviously. But the Republicans who now control half of Congress are accepting none of the blame and instead are pointing the finger at the president. Of course.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: One look at the jobs report should be enough to show the White House it`s time to get serious.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: This president continues to give speeches as if he is there for the middle class and the small businesses, but somehow the rhetoric falls short.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Another month and another data point on the failure of Obamanomics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: But if the House Republicans care so much about unemployment, why haven`t they brought a single jobs bill to the floor this year?

Now, after running on jobs, after blaming Obama for lack of jobs, they have not introduced one jobs bill. Not one. You know, there`s a number for that. It`s called zero.

In fact, it seems like whenever there`s a plan to take action to boost the economy, Republicans immediately oppose it. They oppose the stimulus, which the CBO says increased the number of full-time jobs by at least 1.6 million. And Republicans opposed President Obama`s bailout to save the American car industry.

Remember talk like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a bridge loan no nowhere. This is a down payment on many billions to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I join my colleagues in opposing this bailout plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to let the market fix this. This is not a political problem. It`s a business problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: The president was able to push through the auto bailout anyway, and it wound up saving hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

Today, at a Chrysler plant in Ohio, he talked about the choices that he made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we let Chrysler and GM fail, plants like this would have shut down, then dealers and suppliers across the country would have shriveled up. Then Ford and other automakers could have failed, too.

So, in the middle of a deep recession, that would have been a brutal and irreversible shock to the entire economy and to the future of millions of American. So we refused to let that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: Look, you know I keep it real with you. So I don`t think the President has done everything right when it comes to the economy. Actually, not by a long shot. But the Republicans have taken positions that would have been absolutely disastrous.

Can you imagine if they`d shut down GM and Chrysler and we lost all of those jobs on top of the terrible economy that we have now? My God, what would Michigan and Ohio have looked like today?

Come on. Those are terrible ideas.

And now all they want to do is cut spending, which no sane economist in their right mind believes will create more jobs. In fact, economists all say it will cost many, many jobs going forward. Why would you do that when we need jobs?

Look, is it possible that someone can earnestly believe these things as right policies in these times? Or do the Republicans have another agenda?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR: All right.

Now, let`s talk about their agenda and the economy overall. So, joining me to do that is Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for the Vice President, and now senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And Stephen Moore, senior economics writer with The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. So this should be interesting.

All right, guys. Welcome. Great to have you here on the program.

All right.

Jared, let me start with you. What do you think about the President`s economic plan? Are you disappointed with these numbers? And what can we do going forward?

JARED BERNSTEIN, FMR. CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I think the president`s economic plan, much as you said, but more importantly, just based on independent folks who actually have money in the game, these kind of private sector analysts, have looked at the impact of the president`s plan, including the stimulus, as well as some of the actions of the Federal Reserve, and unquestionably, this president and his actions, including the restructuring of the auto firms, took an economy that was cataclysmically falling off a cliff.

I mean, remember, when the president got here, you had 54,000 jobs a month. That`s not a enough, no question about it. That`s a tough month.

The first three months of his term, over 700,000 jobs lost per month. GDP cratering at over six percent. Over two million jobs lost in the first quarter.

So, before we get too wound up on this one monthly number — and we should talk about it, because I think more does need to be done going forward — let`s not forget about where we were.

UYGUR: All right.

So, Stephen, I want to try to get your perspective on this, right? Because opposing the auto bailouts looks like it was just flat-out wrong now. And when you look at the idea of cutting spending, how in the world is that going to create more jobs? That doesn`t seem to make any sense.

So what are the Republicans offering? I don`t get it.

STEPHEN MOORE, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: First of all, Cenk, we didn`t bail out the auto companies, we bailed out the unions. If we had not given them all this money, they would have restructured, and you`d probably — I think you`d actually have a more healthy auto industry than you do now.

(CROSSTALK)

UYGUR: Wait, wait, wait. Stephen, I don`t get that at all. What do you mean?

We didn`t give the money to the unions. We gave them to the car — they were bankrupt. So, otherwise, they would have gone under like you guys said they should.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Wait a minute, Cenk. If they had gone through bankruptcy, which any normal company that doesn`t have inroads to the White House would have done –

BERNSTEIN: They did go through bankruptcy.

MOORE: But the people — as you know, Jared, the people who got screwed were the creditors. And the money that was, you know, dually owed to the creditors went to the labor unions. But that`s not the point here.

UYGUR: But that`s a perfect thing. Stephen, hold on right there, because, look, you`re saying, oh my God, the creditors got screwed here, but they`re the ones who invested in the company that went bankrupt. And you`re saying, oh, it`s a shame that we helped to keep the workers in their jobs.

But wait a minute. Yes, the money should go to the workers who are creating the cars, who are now profitable.

MOORE: No, wait a minute. In any — this is 200 years of common law, that when you have a company that goes bankrupt, the people are first in line. And this has been the case in legal law for hundreds of years. The people who are first in line are the creditors. And what the Obama administration said is no, the creditors don`t get the money, we`re going to give it to the unions.

UYGUR: So Stephen, you`re saying that the workers should have been last in line.

MOORE: No, Cenk. By the way –

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: We can relitigate this all we want, but the facts are wrong. Everyone in line took a haircut on that one.

MOORE: The unions still exist, Jared. I mean, the fact is that the unions (ph) didn`t give nearly the concessions that are needed. And you`re going to have a situation the next time we have a recession, which hopefully isn`t now, where Chrysler and GM are going to come back for more money.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: OK. A, you`re wrong. And B, it`s irrelevant because you`ve saved about a million jobs. And that`s precisely what we have to be talking about right now.

MOORE: Hold on, Jared.

BERNSTEIN: When you count the supply chains.

MOORE: All right. Well, Jared, wait a minute.

You shouldn`t be talking about how many jobs were created. You were the one — it was your numbers that said the stimulus plan was going to create three million jobs. Here we are two-and-a-half years later, we have got maybe two million jobs, not as a result of the stimulus.

You said we`d have an unemployment rate less than 8 percent. We`re at 9.1 percent.

I don`t know how anybody, Cenk, could basically say that the stimulus plan was anything but one of the biggest and most expensive policy failures in American history.

BERNSTEIN: OK. Good points. Let me take them.

Now, if you look at the Congressional Budget Office, if you look at Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder, former Fed vice chair, and you look at their analysis, at the peak of the stimulus it created or saved 3.5 million jobs. Not my numbers, their numbers, happened to come out precisely as we said it.

And you`re absolutely right. We did not at the time — in late 2008, we didn`t see how high unemployment was going to go. You`re correct about that.

But those same folks find that the stimulus plan took about two percentage points off the unemployment rate. All of that is old news. What we need to talk about now, Stephen, and I`d love to get into this –

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Wait a minute. Wait, hold on. Jared, hold o. You`re saying the people like you who got it wrong are now saying –

(CROSSTALK)

UYGUR: Let me jump in here.

Stephen –

MOORE: All we can go on is what really happened. We don`t know what would have happened.

UYGUR: No, Stephen.

MOORE: We do know what did happen. And we got a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, which is a catastrophe for our country.

UYGUR: Stephen, listen, listen, listen. Over here, listen. OK?

First of all, he just said, that, yes, according to some analysts, over three million jobs were created. And you say, ha -ha, you got it wrong. No, he`s saying he got it right.

Now, I understand you guys disagree about that. I get it.

MOORE: Where are the jobs then?

UYGUR: Hold on. Hold on.

MOORE: What jobs are you talking about?

UYGUR: What I want to talk about is going forward — and look, I`ve got my own problems with the administration. I don`t think they were anywhere near progressive enough. I don`t think they took nearly enough action.

MOORE: You want more stimulus. You want more debt.

UYGUR: Absolutely! OK?

Now, you`re saying — OK, I assume you`re saying you`ve got a plan for jobs. I haven`t heard it yet. We have got a massive unemployment problem. Is your answer to cut spending and we lose more jobs?

MOORE: No. Government spending reductions create jobs. We learn that. And government spending increases –

UYGUR: How? How? How? How?

MOORE: Because when you cut government spending, you reduce government debt and you free up resources for the private sector. We tried it the other way.

UYGUR: We already have resources freed up. Do you acknowledge, Stephen, that there`s $1.6 trillion sitting in corporations in America right now and they`re not spending it?

MOORE: Cenk, why? Because of regulation? Because of taxation?

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Because companies are scared to death of this administration.

BERNSTEIN: Stephen — Stephen –

MOORE: Regulation, all the things that are causing businesses to go into a cocoon. Who wants to invest in this kind of environment?

UYGUR: All right, Jared. Go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: Stephen, I know you were going to make this uncertainty point. We can have arguments about deregulation. But let`s see if we can agree on something.

There is a great deal of economic uncertainty right now. It has nothing to do with regulation. It has to do with the debt limit.

MOORE: A lot of it does.

BERNSTEIN: I think you would agree with me there.

Why not tell your Republican friends who are so concerned about certainty in this economy to allow that debt limit to increase not tomorrow, but this evening, so we can get that out of the way and get this economy back on track?

MOORE: All right. OK, Jared –

BERNSTEIN: Let me hear your response. Just focus on that one point.

MOORE: First of all, Jared, why don`t you get the 85 Democrats in the House, members of your own party who voted against the president, on that? Maybe once you can get all the Democrats on board that agenda, maybe the Republicans will come along. But you know what? I think the worst possible –

BERNSTEIN: So you support a clean debt limit?

UYGUR: All right.

MOORE: No, I don`t. I think, actually, the worst possible thing we could do for the economy right now is pass a clean debt bill that basically says we`re going to punt on getting this budget deficit down and doing something about the $14 trillion debt. That would be a disaster. I think it would cause a financial meltdown if we did that.

UYGUR: I got you. All right.

So the idea is we don`t even pay our debts and then we cut spending? And I don`t know how in the world you think that`s going to get jobs.

MOORE: Well, we should also cut taxes, Cenk. We have to do a tax cut.

UYGUR: Well, of course! Give the rich and the corporations even more money. And the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board will be ecstatic, and you`ll have all the money and we`ll have none of the jobs, and you`ll be like, yes, the rich win again!

And you guys will have a huge party on a yacht, and everybody will be happy. I got it.

MOORE: Well, except, Cenk, we`ve got two –

UYGUR: Jared Bernstein and Stephen Moore, thank you for your time tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

UYGUR: We appreciate it. We really do. Thank you for the comments.

BERNSTEIN: OK. Great to be with you.

UYGUR: All right.

Transcribed by the Barefoot Accountant of Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC

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About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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