Both the House of Representatives and Senate have passed budgets that will savage the social safety net, slash spending except for defense which will increase, and transfer wealth from the poor and working classes to the wealthy. The budgets must still be reconciled, but the only thing that will protect the American public is a veto by the White House. Throughout the Obama presidency, the Republicans have sought to sabotage the economy rather than allow Obama have a successfully presidency. These budgets are the latest incarnation of this effort. Ironically, despite all these efforts of sabotage and obstruction, the economy has improved, albeit more slowly than might otherwsie have been the case. A column in the New York Times
looks at the derangement of the GOP agenda and the danger these madmen and women pose. Here are excerpts:
Two impossible things happened to the U.S. economy over the course of
the past year — or at least they were supposed to be impossible,
according to the ideology that dominates half our political spectrum.
First, remember how Obamacare was supposed to be a gigantic job killer?
Well, in the first year of the Affordable Care Act’s full
implementation, the U.S. economy as a whole added 3.3 million jobs — the biggest gain since the 1990s. Second, half a million of those jobs were added in California, which has taken the lead in job creation away from Texas.
we’ve been seeing at both the national and the state level is mainly a
natural process of recovery as the economy finally starts to heal from
the housing and debt bubbles of the Bush years.
recent job growth, nonetheless, has big political implications —
implications so disturbing to many on the right that they are in frantic
denial, claiming that the recovery is somehow bogus. Why can’t they
handle the good news? The answer actually comes on three levels: Obama
Derangement Syndrome, or O.D.S.; Reaganolatry; and the confidence con.
much need be said about O.D.S. It is, by now, a fixed idea on the right
that this president is both evil and incompetent, that everything
touched by the atheist Islamic Marxist Kenyan Democrat — mostly that
last item — must go terribly wrong. When good news arrives about the
budget, or the economy, or Obamacare — which is, by the way, rapidly
reducing the number of uninsured while costing much less than expected —
it must be denied.
a deeper level, modern conservative ideology utterly depends on the
proposition that conservatives, and only they, possess the secret key to
prosperity. As a result, you often have politicians on the right making
claims like this one, from Senator Rand Paul: “When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.”
if creating “millions of jobs” means adding two million or more jobs in
a given year, we’ve done that 13 times since Reagan left office: eight
times under Bill Clinton, . . . . and three times, so far, under Barack Obama. But who’s counting? . . . . The economy added 23 million jobs under Clinton, compared with 16
million under Reagan, but there’s nothing on the left comparable to the
cult of the Blessed Ronald.
on the other hand, want to block such things and, instead, to cut taxes
on the rich and slash aid to the less fortunate. So they must claim
both that liberal policies are job killers and that being nice to the
rich is a magic elixir.
enduring puzzle of political economy is why business interests so often
oppose policies to fight unemployment. After all, boosting the economy
with expansionary monetary and fiscal policy is good for profits as well
as wages, yet many wealthy individuals and business leaders demand
tight money and austerity instead.
As a number of observers have
pointed out, however, for big businesses to admit that government
policies can create jobs would be to devalue one of their favorite
political arguments — the claim that to achieve prosperity politicians
must preserve business confidence, among other things, by refraining
from any criticism of what businesspeople do.
[T]he fact that we’re now seeing mornings in blue America — solid job
growth both at the national level and in states that have defied the
right’s tax-cutting, deregulatory orthodoxy — is a big problem for
conservatives. Although they would never admit it, events have proved
their most cherished beliefs wrong.