Home Budget, Economy Stubborn Unemployment Numbers Show Republican Austerity Strategy is a Failure

Stubborn Unemployment Numbers Show Republican Austerity Strategy is a Failure

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Of course, Republicans will trot out the Big Lie and try to blame President Obama for continued, stubborn unemployment numbers. But the fact is, they may not be 100% responsible for the situation we’re in, but it’s close. Why is this the case?

1. First, and most obviously, the economy we have today was mostly bequeathed to us by Republican misrule in Washington, DC, starting in the 1990s with Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, and continuing on with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, etc. in the 2000s. Letting Wall Street run wild and grow “too big to fail,” irresponsibly allowing the housing bubble grow until it burst, waging two unpaid-for wars, foolishly going all-out on “trickle-down” economics (which, of course, doesn’t trickle down), throwing our fiscal house completely out of whack after Bill Clinton – a Democrat, of course – got it back in balance during his presidency, etc.  Sure, President Obama’s policies got us out of meltdown mode and into a recovery, but the huge damage done by Republicans is not going to be undoable in four years, unfortunately.

2. Since President Obama took office, Republicans have blocked practically every measure proposed to help the economy and start growing jobs again. By refusing to approve increased aid to states and localities, for instance, Republicans have caused the unemployment rate to be as much as a full percentage point higher than it would have been. As for the private sector, Republican intransigence and obsessive desire to see President Obama “fail” (and with him, the economy, but so be it in their view, apparently) has led to serious problems, such as the fiasco over the debt ceiling increase, the absurdly protracted battle over “Obamacare” (wasting time and energy on lies about “death panels” and other insanity, time that could have been far better spent on job creation), the failure – again, thanks to Republicans – to pass a clean energy bill that would have been a jobs engine for our country, and of course Republicans’ complete unwillingness to compromise in order to put our country’s finances in a better place (the deficit, I’d remind everyone, is largely the result of the Bush tax cuts, not anything President Obama has done).

3. Republicans continue to waste time on divisive social issues, both at the state and national levels, instead of focusing “like a laser beam” on the economy. Here in Virginia, for instance, we had Republicans focused on repealing the one-handgun-per-month law, on preventing women from having access to family planning and abortion clinics, on forcing women to submit to government-mandated ultrasounds, on pushing insane conspiracy theories about climate science, etc. On the national level, the Republican House seems a lot more concerned with abortion and other social issues than on passing legislation that could actually help matters economically. Priorities, priorities, I guess.

Bottom line: without Republican austerity, the economy would be recovering nicely, at the pace of the “Reagan Recovery.” The fact that it isn’t may not be 100% the fault of Republicans – not 100%, of course, because there are also international developments in Europe and elsewhere that nobody here has much if any control over – but it’s damned close. Thanks a lot, Republican’ts!

P.S. Also remember, Willard “Mitt” Romney’s economic “plan” would make matters worse in every way – exploding the debt, lavishing tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans while screwing over the middle class, hitting spending for those who actually need it while continuing it for those who don’t, etc. No matter how frustrated you are about the economy, the two things to remember are: a) it’s nearly 100% the Republicans fault; b) Romney would make it MUCH worse; and c) despite Republican obstructionism, things have still gotten a lot better than they were in late 2008 under President Obama’s leadership, so let’s make sure we reelect Obama and give the House back to Democrats so he actually has somebody willing to work with him.