Republicans are basing their entire re-election strategy on pinning the blame for the residual effects of their own failed policies on President Obama. They repeatedly claim that President Obama’s economic policies have failed, but the fact is, Obama’s policies weren’t ever really enacted. Thanks to the GOP’s strategy of sustained hostage taking over nearly every single piece of legislation, the GOP still owns our economic policy. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s review the record:
Look first at total government spending — federal, state and local. Adjusted for population growth and inflation, such spending has recently been falling at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.
How is that possible? Isn’t Mr. Obama a big spender? Actually, no; there was a brief burst of spending in late 2009 and early 2010 as the stimulus kicked in, but that boost is long behind us. Since then it has been all downhill. Cash-strapped state and local governments have laid off teachers, firefighters and police officers; meanwhile, unemployment benefits have been trailing off even though unemployment remains extremely high.
As an aside, I think it’s worth pointing out that although the economy’s performance has been disappointing, to say the least, none of the disasters Republicans predicted have come to pass. Remember all those assertions that budget deficits would lead to soaring interest rates? Well, U.S. borrowing costs have just hit a record low. And remember those dire warnings about inflation and the “debasement” of the dollar? Well, inflation remains low, and the dollar has been stronger than it was in the Bush years.
And let’s look at what Republicans have done with their time in the Congress. You’ll recall they made their big sweep in 2010 on the promise to create jobs.
Yes, I know they claim to have sent a gazillion “jobs” bills to the Senate. They very cleverly give them names that say they’re jobs bills. But I’m still waiting for someone to show me the text of even one GOP bill that would provably create a single job. As John McCain might say, “You can’t do it, my friends.”