Despite the fact that the proposal acquiesced to one of the GOP's favorite demands -- a lower corporate tax rate -- Republican legislators, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), were quick to turn it down. McConnell's stated reason was that the proposal was "Just a further-left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago." It's worth noting, however, that the GOP has shot down every major Democratic job-creation proposal of the past few years.
Arguments for killing job proposals have generally focused on the dangers of deficit spending and the need to slim down the budget -- a quixotic claim, given the fact that reputable economists tend to question the effectiveness of austerity cuts.
On Saturday, President Clinton's secretary of labor, Robert Reich, offered another explanation for Republican refusals to entertain job-creating legislation: He suggests that the Grand Old Party may actually want to keep unemployment high.
Reich's reasons are compelling (if a little cold-blooded). As he notes, high unemployment keeps wages low, keeps bond yields low, and keeps voters afraid -- three factors that directly help Republican politicians, as well as benefiting the bankers and corporations that fill their coffers.
On the one hand, it's a little extreme to assume that the Republican party is selling out tens of millions of voters for billions of dollars. On the other hand, this wouldn't be the first time that the Grand Old Party used questionable economic policies to support its patrons on Wall Street.
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.