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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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.


Congressman Scott Garrett

Comments [23]

Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

Maybe the @557015 in Washington should come out here to Nebraska and ask us what WE want before having the audacity to make the decision for us. Even our hard core conservative governor is against the pipeline. We don't want it. Don't force it on us.

This pipeline could be built parallel to the one that already exists, and wouldn't threaten land with spills any more than it already does. This whole issue is a farce.

Dec. 15 2011 05:38 PM
dsimon from Manhattan

I meant to post this earlier, and Joe below made the point: if upper income tax rates go up, it does not destroy the incentive for business to expand.

Garrett says that if taxes go up, a business won't expand because owners will think: why should I bother if it will just raise my taxes? But businesses will expand if it will increase profits. And even after profits get taxed, the owner is still left with profits, so it's still rational for the owner to expand: the owner will have more after-tax money than before, so why wouldn't the owner expand?

I really wonder whether Republicans believe their own rhetoric when it's so easily refuted.

Dec. 15 2011 08:59 AM
Xtina from E. Village

Oh good, another Republican given air time to repeat the same tired talking points for the thousandth time. Sure, rich people need tax cuts to create jobs. We've never heard this one before, good thing Andrea Bernstein found a way to squeeze this important subject into the schedule, then sat there letting the Congressman spout his tired talking points without any argument.

So okay there's no 'data' that shows when middle income people have more money to spend, they spend it. But we've tried the tax cut experiment for the rich for ten years and the result has been ghastly unemployment. So let's keep trying that tactic, right?

Dec. 13 2011 09:00 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Yosif, the problem is we can't afford to wait for "eventually." Especially if the pipeline's approved & even more damage is done to the environment in the meantime!

Dec. 13 2011 11:16 AM
Pat Trueman from West Milford, NJ

Classic 'won't cross the line' rep! I've been trying to vote him out for years and year.... he doesn't hold a candle to Marge Roukema.

Dec. 13 2011 11:09 AM

why hasnt congress passed a budget in 3 years. just what are they doing down there?

Dec. 13 2011 10:38 AM

If we're a consumption led economy (70+%) than tax cuts in the lower classes will do more than tax cuts for the super rich. This is also basic economics as money spent multiplies in the economy many times more than money invested.

Stop spewing supply-side economics which doesn't work Scott!

Dec. 13 2011 10:28 AM
Iven Rothenberg from New Jersey

Scott Garrett like other republicans have signed Grover Norquist's No tax pledge. I feel the only plege any congressman or senator makes should be to the Constitution of the US. Not some lobyist!

Dec. 13 2011 10:27 AM
Amy from Manhattan

NPR's Tamara Keith couldn't find any millionaires who said they'd create more jobs if they got that tax break, & the Republicans who keep saying they would couldn't refer her to any either:

Dec. 13 2011 10:27 AM
Peg from Upstate NY

Please ask the Congressman to give us a few REAL examples of actual small businesses who would be affected by raising taxes on the wealthy. My understanding is that the Republican Congress and the Chamber of Congress could not give an example.

Dec. 13 2011 10:26 AM
Joe from Port Washington

The congressman repeats a tired fallacy about taxes, that higher rates on higher incomes leaves no incentive to make more money. We have marginal tax rates. The rate only goes up on income above the threshold, so it is still true that you make more money when your income puts you into a higher tax bracket no matter how high the higher rate is. The incentive to make more money is simple: YOU MAKE MORE MONEY. Please challenge him on this silly nonsense that we hear all of the time.

Dec. 13 2011 10:26 AM
Phil from Park slope

Wait--people hire not due to tax policy, but due to business prospects? Why do the "job creators" need a tax break, but the middle class who spend their income dont again??

Dec. 13 2011 10:25 AM

1990's = plus roughly 18 million jobs at higher tax rates

2000's = plus roughly 2 million jobs at lower Bush tax rates

Please explain Scott?

Dec. 13 2011 10:24 AM
Renee from CT

About a month ago WNYC did an interview with the small business association which said that there are a miniscule number of S corp millionaires. The small biz assoc said once a small business reaches those numbers- they change their tax status so their personal taxes are not intermingled with business. Someone at WNYC please look up that story and bring it to Andrea's attention.

Dec. 13 2011 10:23 AM
Nora W from Bloomfield, NJ

Correction: Don't characterize it as tax hikes on the rich, it is suspension of the supposedly temporary Bush era TAX cuts.

Dec. 13 2011 10:22 AM
JimC from N NJ

The argument about S-Corps is such a crock of bull... just exclude those people... the stock broker and CEO who get millions of dollars in bonus or salary do NOT use that money to create any jobs -- why should they be exempted using the argument about the S-Corps?

Dec. 13 2011 10:21 AM
Nora Wertz from Bloomfield, NJ

Don't characterize it as tax hikes on the rich, it is suspension of the supposedly temporary Bush era cash cuts.

Dec. 13 2011 10:20 AM

why doesn’t the oil industry build more refineries? Maybe because they know oil is a thing of the past and they don’t want to invest in it.

Dec. 13 2011 10:20 AM
Alice L from Brooklyn

When the GOP finds a job-creating addendum to a bill that doesnt put billions in the pockets of corporate polluters, while simultaneously ruining the future of the planet in one fell swoop, then we can talk about that bill. Otherwise yeah, let's VETO. Funny that Mr. Garnett keeps referring to all this "data" that he forgot to bring with him.

Dec. 13 2011 10:18 AM
Phil from Park slope

Are the republicans, by advocating for this pipeline project, suggesting that infrastructure investment will create jobs? Or is this project an exception to republican orthodoxy? Oh I get it, jobs can only be created by environmentally catastrophic infrastructure projects.

Dec. 13 2011 10:16 AM
Ben from Westchester

Anyone (such as your guest) who keeps calling it the "Social Security trust fund" cannot be trusted and shouldn't be given air time. He's using talking points instead of reality for his comments.

In fact, there is no "trust fund." Under the first President Bush, the decision was made to mix the (then) surplus in Social Security into the main budget in order to mask the growing debt. So what was once a trust fund has now been lent to the rest of the government to make deficits seem lower.

There is no trust fund there any longer. Just IOUs for the government to pay itself someday.

Dec. 13 2011 10:16 AM
Yosif Ganat from Manhattan

This congressman's thinking is so 1.0. 2.0 thinking is wind, solar and geothermal, and my generation will eventually take over and update this troglodyte form of thinking. A new pipeline is the old school way of thinking

Dec. 13 2011 10:12 AM
Mike from NYC

What is this National Republican Radio? You couldn't find an objective opinion about why the Democrats are against rushing the Keystone Pipeline before the science is in on the real costs beyond the cost of building it? I can hear this kind of propaganda from Fox without the pledge drives. How many jobs in agriculture will be lost if there is a spill of oil from the pipeline that contaminates the Ogala aquifer? How many people's drinking water will be ruined? The one reason they are putting this rider on the bill is to embarrass Obama!

Dec. 13 2011 10:12 AM

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