About a year and a half ago U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell let the world know his top priority – to make sure Barack Obama was a one-term president. So while unemployment crept higher, the only job Mitch McConnell was concerned about creating was the one the president currently occupies.
To make sure this happens, McConnell and his Republican brethren have done everything thing in their power to make government look incompetent, leading to the lowest congressional approval rating in the history of this country.
It’s one thing to object to the president’s plans because of ideological differences, but today’s Republicans have altered their beliefs simply to make the president look bad. One of the core concepts of the Mitch McConnell led Republican recovery plan is to reduce government spending. As my colleague Libby Spencer pointed out recently, increases in government spending have slowed to historic lows and these cuts in spending have cost around 600,000 public sector jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, these public sector job losses have cost the economy another 500,000 private sector jobs. So while Republicans lament the slow job growth, their own best recovery plan has cost the economy more than 1 million jobs.
The real problem I have with Republicans in this situation is that when it was George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan trying to pull the economy out of a recession, the obsession over government spending and public jobs was completely non-existent. As a matter of fact it can be argued that it was this exact government spending and public sector job growth that led to an economic recovery for both Bush and Reagan. It should also be noted that the growth in private sector jobs under Obama outpaces both Reagan and Bush after their recessions hit bottom.
This sort of gamesmanship is emblematic of the issues our country faces. Politicians and the powerful have made the collection of power their number one priority, using the rest of us as pawns to fight against our own best interests. We deserve a Congress that represents their constituents, and values the success of the country over their own personal gain. But until that happens, we will continue to see politicians demonize the other side and let their desire to rule control their political ideology, regardless of how hypocritical it makes them.