Rep. Garrett: Keystone Pipeline, not Payroll Tax Cut, is Real Job-Creator

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, US Congressman (R-NJ 5th) Scott Garrett discussed unfinished business including the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

Defending the Keystone Pipeline

Yesterday, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called the Keystone Pipeline a "poison pill" for President Obama's much sought-after payroll tax cut extension. "I think [Republicans] are trying to introduce it as a reason for it to fail," she said.

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) disagrees.

Republicans generally dismiss [the payroll tax cut] as a job-producing program and say, if we're going to pass something that costs X number of billions of dollars, let's have something in it that at least has some empirical evidence that will produce jobs.

Garrett said that projects like the Keystone pipeline had a proven track record of creating jobs, and that he had not heard anybody come out in the last year saying that the payroll tax cut, first signed into law by President Obama in 2010, resulted in more people having jobs today than they did yesterday. The same was true, Garret said, when President Bush cut payroll taxes during his presidency.

The data after that was that no new jobs were created; you had a spike in people paying off their debt, but the data showed that that didn't produce any new jobs when Bush did it. When Obama signed this into law, same thing: we didn't see any empirical data that this would produce more jobs.

Other changes to the tax code can help to create jobs, for example the capital gains rate. There's some data that says lowering that will create greater incentive for people to invest, which does produce jobs.