Like all Republicans, likely GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is all for abruptly slashing federal spending. But unlike most high-profile conservatives, he seems to be aware that slashing outlays during an economic downturn will cost jobs.
On Fox News Friday morning, Huckabee let it slip.
“What you will hears is the word ‘draconian’,” Huckabee said. “It will come from Democrats and middle of the road Republicans. But this boat needs to be rocked. One of the things I learned in government is necessity is the mother of invention. If you have to make cuts and you force the cuts, you will find ways to get the job done. Part of the answer to that is create incentives so the employees who are left get an award and benefit for getting the agency done.”
The implication’s pretty clear: If you cut domestic discretionary spending by $100 billion in a year, you bleed salaries or staff. Republicans generally don’t acknowledge that spending cuts cost jobs during periods of high unemployment. They either contend that spending cuts create jobs, or that the private sector fills the gap, or that public-sector jobs don’t count as jobs. Huckabee’s silent on that score, but at least seems aware that people will be laid off.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.