Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's the Economy, Stupid!

The "TurtleBrag" Economic Theory

After six long years of sitting on the sidelines and claiming that Obama has been taking the economy to hell in a hand basket, the Republicans are now trying to claim that their stunning takeover of Congress in November was all it took to reverse the numbers.  This bold gambit initiated by the new Senate majority leader is falling flat but don't expect the GOP to let it go.  Now that they "are in charge" you can expect a whole lot of undeserved credit being meted out to themselves.

The conservative narrative remains that Obama is a failure.  Rep. Andy Harris claims that the President doesn't understand the economy with his latest proposal to soak the rich, finding a friendly audience at Fox.  Meanwhile, the the Republican House, with 20 or more Democrats in tow, passed a bill to ease banking restrictions, exactly what got us into this mess in the first place.  It may clear the new Senate by the thinnest of margins but it is unlikely to survive a presidential veto.

Sadly, the Republicans are up to their same old tricks, trying to push for even broader tax cuts in the wake of state fiscal crises like that in Kansas, which saw their "tax-free zone experiment" fail miserably.  The amazing part is that the overall economy has managed to improve despite so many states lagging behind.

This is in large part due to the active involvement of the Federal Reserve, which the Obama administration has worked with to continue to provide stimuli long after his signature Stimulus Bill ran out in 2011.  This economic recovery has absolutely nothing to do with Republican policies on the state level, which have seen Draconian budget cuts fail to alleviate the shortfall in state revenue due to tax cuts.  In fact, states like Kansas have had to rely on Federal assistance to cover their growing debts, essentially making them debtor states.

That doesn't stop the Republicans from trying to set the narrative once again.  They rely on an audience that is oblivious to economic reality and is gullible enough to buy into their rhetoric.  The GOP hasn't changed its message since 1980, still believing in Reaganomics despite the huge economic disparities it has left in its wake.

Since Republicans refuse to work with Democrats on meaningful economic reforms, the Obama administration has to resort to executive actions coordinated with the Federal Reserve to keep the economy moving.  Never has their been such a shortfall in federal revenue in relation to expenses, yet somehow this administration has managed to bring down the annual budget deficit significantly since it first assumed a roughly one trillion annual deficit in its first year due to TARP and the Stimulus Bill.  For whatever reason this goes largely unreported.  Many persons still believe there is an exploding national debt, when it has been managed the best it could be managed given the lack of tax revenue.

Republicans had been willing to work with Clinton in his second term to reduce the budget deficits and spur the economy, which proved beneficial to them in the 2000 and 2002 elections.  But, here they are still bucking the President, determined to present self-defeating legislation that in all likelihood will lead to a stunning electoral reversal two years from now.

As the old adage goes, you can fool all the people some of the time (in a midterm election year where less than 40 per cent of the electorate voted) but you can't fool all the people all the time (in a presidential election year where 60 per cent of the electorate is expected to vote),  McConnell can say what he wants but this is an economy recovery despite Republican best efforts to the contrary.

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