John Boehner: Why he needs to go

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Name: John Boehner

State/District: Ohio/8th District

Current Position: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Number of Years in Federal Office: 23

Why He Needs to Go:

There are probably a million reasons why John Boehner needs to go. It’s difficult to explain the “whys” in terms of his votes since he was elected Speaker two years ago; in that position, he doesn’t often vote on bills, but rather decides the outcome of the votes taken, so if you were to look up his recent voting record on key issues, you’ll see a lot of “did not vote.”

However, his earlier record shows that he does not seem to believe in helping the poor or even the average American. Ohio, as a state, had a poverty rate of just over 14% from 2007-2011, according to the Census Bureau, and Boehner’s 8th district was right with the state average in 2009. However, childhood poverty in that district is 19.1%. Ohio’s unemployment rate as a whole is beneath the national average, at 6.7%, but is still high.

Boehner has, over the last four years or so, pretty consistently voted against bills that would help the poor and unemployed. For instance, in 2009, he cast a “nay” vote on the extension of federal emergency unemployment benefits (though he did cast a “yea” vote on the concurrence vote a couple of months later, possibly because that version contained more provisions for tax credits). In general, his voting history on bills that extend unemployment benefits is negative.

He voted against the Senate jobs bill of 2009 as well, which allowed businesses to avoid excise taxes on employee wages for all but the 1st quarter of 2010 under certain conditions (e.g., hiring an employee who hadn’t worked more than 40 hours per week for the prior 60 days), allowed issuers of bonds for “academy zone,” school construction, clean energy, and qualified energy conservation to apply for tax credits equal to a large percentage of the taxes that would be due on the interest on those bonds.

That bill also provides tax credits for business owners that were considered “economically disadvantaged,” meaning owners who were Native American, Native Hawaiian, and women.

He voted against the Dodd-Frank financial reforms bill, which contains many provisions intended to prevent financial institutions from engaging in the irresponsible behavior that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

On the economy, Boehner is a strong proponent of the trickle-down theory of economics. The problem here is that the relationship between cuts in the top tax rates and job growth, income growth, and GDP, is negligible at best; such growth has appeared after some reductions in the top tax rates over the last 50 years, but not after others. Not to mention that we’ve seen 30 years of the trickle-down theory fail miserably in practice. So to keep pushing tax cuts as a means of stimulating the economy shows just how ignorant of economics Boehner really is.

Furthermore, this particular economic recovery has been characterized by an unusually high level of income gains by companies and the wealthy, but not by workers. A New York Times piece published on March 3 explains that companies have been able to capitalize on increased productivity by increasing their sales without having to add to their workforces. So the Dow may be trading high, but it’s a poor indicator of how all segments of the economy are doing. Real income for the average American shrank from 2009-2011, and has been more or less stagnant ever since, while the wealthiest 1%, and corporations, continue to see large income gains.

If nothing else, that alone should demonstrate how ineffective the trickle-down theory is at creating jobs and increasing prosperity for the poor and middle class. There’s just too much it doesn’t account for.

Boehner also demonstrates a lack of understanding about how both the national debt and the debt ceiling work. Raising the debt ceiling gives the Treasury authorization to pay for program funding that Congress has already authorized. That includes payments such as employee paychecks, interest on bonds, Social Security checks, Medicare payments, and payments on its loans and bonds. Boehner wants spending cuts to match, dollar for dollar, every long-term increase in the debt ceiling (this would be known as the Boehner Rule).

However, unlike personal finances, the country can sustain long-term debt, even if it’s high in dollar amounts, because of its relation to GDP. Right now, U.S. public debt is slated to reach 73% of GDP by the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30). The last time the national debt was at this level was shortly after WWII; but the reduction then was a combination of deficit reduction and a booming economy.

Generally, a country can sustain debt up to about 80% of GDP. We are approaching that tipping point, however, finding ways to increase GDP, and accelerate the economy, can do more for debt reduction than simply cutting spending, particularly dollar-for-dollar, as the Boehner Rule would do.

Furthermore, what Congress is doing now is approving spending, and then crying over the need to raise the debt ceiling after the fact. It’s close to impossible to get the debt under control that way (though continuing resolutions are only part of the problem. It also must be noted that Congress has only passed a whole four budgets in the years since Carter was president). If they were to approve spending and then refuse to raise the debt ceiling because of a lack of sufficient spending cuts that Boehner keeps harping on, we’d default on an awful lot of payments.

Ohio, this man needs to be voted out in 2014. He’s not good for you, and he’s not good for the country!


2 Responses to “John Boehner: Why he needs to go”

  1. 1 charro


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