- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The president drove to Washington’s Key Bridge Wednesday to plead once more for higher taxes to pay for infrastructure stimulus. Infrastructure here, of course, means trains and transit, not roads and bridges. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) countered with an alternative jobs bill that focuses on fostering a healthy economic climate for the private sector.

The idea behind the Jobs Through Growth Act is to simplify the message. “We take all the good things that the House has passed this year - which went nowhere in the Senate - and put it in a concise fashion,” RSC Chairman Jim Jordan told The Washington Times. The conservative caucus trimmed down the 10-page GOP leadership proposal to a more manageable two pages.

Mr. Jordan hopes the more concise proposal will help reshape the debate. “Let’s focus on the private sector; they are the ones that create jobs and grow our economy - not some idea that the president has that it’s government that creates jobs,” said the Ohio Republican.

The RSC proposal is the only congressional jobs plan that smartly includes individual tax reform. As Mr. Jordan explains, “simpler leads to more economic growth.” The proposal would let taxpayers choose to stay in the current, complex system or move to this flatter system.

The plan sets only two individual income rates: 15 percent for individuals making up to $50,000 or couples up to $100,000 and then 25 percent for taxable income above those amounts. All the deductions and credits would be replaced with a $12,500 standard deduction per filer and per dependent.

The death tax would be eliminated. Capital gains would be capped at 15 percent, but indexed for inflation. The corporate tax rate would be reduced to 25 percent, and the worldwide tax structure would become a territorial system.

The conservatives’ bill would cut regulations to spur job growth. It would put a hold on any new rules until unemployment falls to 7.7 percent. It gives small businesses relief by raising the threshold for regulations from 50 to 200 employees. No unelected executive-branch bureaucrats could put out rules with an economic impact of over $100 million without congressional approval. Small businesses are provided a path to opt out of federal regulations adopted since the recession started in 2007.

Finally, the RSC would take a number of steps to increase energy production. This includes encouraging drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for development. It would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse-gas regulations. It puts the Keystone XL pipeline on the fast track.

From his actions, it’s obvious President Obama isn’t really all that interested in doing what it takes to get the millions of underemployed and jobless Americans back to work. He shows more interest in political theater that he hopes will rescue his flagging re-election effort.

However, Republicans are up against the formidable megaphone of the White House. The RSC plan should help provide the GOP with a more coherent voice to strike back against the president’s Washington-centered legislation that makes government bigger and more intrusive. As Ronald Reagan proved, the message of private-sector prosperity and growth is one that can win.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

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