9:14 PM Eastern - Thursday, September 23, 2010

GOP's 'Pledge' to Favor Special Interests; Target Federal Workers

Today the Republican Party rolled out a 21-page political agenda they've dubbed 'Pledge To America.' Recalling Republicans' 1994 "Contract With America," the Pledge is the GOP's gimmicky attempt to lay out what their agenda will be if they regain control of one or both houses of Congress in the November midterm elections.

At the unveiling today in Virginia, House Minority Leader John Boehner detailed the priorities of the pledge, which include an emphasis on job creation and national security, limiting government spending, repealing health care reform and changing the way Congress does business.

Also included in the "Pledge To America" is a promise to cap federal hiring to keep the government from "crowd[ing] out" private-sector growth.

One way Republicans envision cutting back "the relentless growth in government that has occurred over the past decade"? By hiring only one new worker to replace every two federal retirees. This proposal would also initiate a hiring freeze of non-security federal workers, as well as cuts in federal employment to return the federal workforce size down to 2008 levels.

Authored by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, this provision would hurt American workers in a number of ways.

Ø By cutting--not creating--more jobs in an economy where there are already nearly five unemployed workers for every job opening.

Ø By enacting a hiring freeze which could result in an even larger pool of unaccountable and costly private contractors.

Ø By not filling the jobs of federal retirees when they leave the workforce.

As more and more federal workers retire [and are not replaced with new hires], it's highly unlikely that the expectations of government agencies would actually reflect these reduced workforces. Rather, those left behind would just be forced to do the work equivalent of 1.5 to 2 full-time jobs, and work longer hours to enable their agency to produce the same results with fewer employees.

Hiring Freeze Doesn't Get To The Root of the Problem

One exception to the hiring freeze listed in the pledge is federal security employees. However, this is as much clarity as we get on the issue, because the proposal in no way specifies which employees fall under the security classification. Additionally, a hiring freeze would also do absolutely nothing to curtail the already large pool of contracted government employees, where real growth has occurred.

While the GOP's pre-election manifesto promises to cut taxes and spending, the document "does not specify how the spending reductions would be carried out." Now, isn't that convenient for House GOP'ers? Per usual, it's all talk, with no authentic plan of action.

Full text of the GOP's Pledge To America in all its ridiculous glory here.

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