Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hey GOP, It's Obama's Recovery

Well isn't it nice that Republicans are finally acknowledging that the economy is recovering. It only took them about six years. Of course, the credit for this recovery, according to the GOP, comes from their policies and has nothing to do with President Obama. Indeed, the economy improved in spite of Obama, not because of him, they say.

I wasn't aware that standing on the sidewalk, looking up at a burning building, cheering for the fire and then blaming the fire department for not putting it out fast enough was an actual policy, but then I wouldn't have believed that a party which ostensibly said "No" for six years could actually win an election, let alone two.

To sum up, 58 straight months of private sector job growth, unemployment down to 5.6 percent and GDP growth at 5 percent in the third quarter of last year. Pretty impressive and considerably better than Mitt Romney in 2012 promised he'd deliver by the end of his first term. In fact, it could be argued that were it not for the Sequester that Republicans managed to extort from Obama during the 2011 near debt-ceiling default, the recovery would've been even more robust.

How bad is the Republican argument? Without exception, every prediction they made about the economy and how to deal with it has been proven false. First they said the stock market would crash. The Dow is now at the highest it's been in its history. They said unemployment would remain high; its now at its lowest rate in a decade. They said we would have hyper inflation thanks to Fed policies; inflation has fluctuated between 1.4 and 2.1 percent for the last two years. Both the stimulus and auto bailout were a waste of tax payer money.  As far as the stimulus goes, while it may not have been as effective as many would've liked, it nonetheless provided badly needed relief for states - some of them Red - whose budgets were hemorrhaging in the throws of the recession. Without it, the economy might well have fallen off the cliff. Regarding the auto bailout, virtually every economist - liberal AND conservative - has concluded that without it, the auto industry as we know it would not exist. Indeed hundreds of thousands of jobs would have been lost and hundreds of thousands more would never have been created.

When you look at where Europe is, thanks to its love affair with austerity, the U.S. economy by comparison is the envy of the world and the lion's share of the credit belongs to Obama and his policies. That Republicans would even dare to take any credit for this recovery is both comical and offensive. As I mentioned in an earlier piece, Democrats need to push back hard against this meme before it, like every other GOP lie, begins to gain traction.

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