WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
Romney (of all people! see above) quickly blames President Obama for slow job creation, higher unemployment and the nation’s recovery — “Today’s weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families,” Romney said in a statement. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee added: “It is now clear to everyone that President Obama’s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class.” — Boston.com
The blame game — At a certain level, this is almost amusing. Matt Yglesias noted this morning how “impressed” he is by conservatives’ ability to “pretend to believe Obama is 100% responsible” for all economic developments a year and a half into divided government. He added, “You can’t fake that kind of bulls**t, it takes real conviction.” But we can go further with this. The same Republicans who are blaming monthly job totals on the White House have argued – last year and this year – that GOP measures have improved the economy, and that credit for recent improvements should go to them, not the president. The logic is incoherent: for Republicans, when there’s discouraging economic news, Obama deserves all the blame. When there’s good economic news, Obama deserves none of the credit. Job losses in 2010 were Obama’s fault; job gains in early 2011 and 2012 have nothing do to with Obama; and tepid growth in the spring of 2012 are back to being Obama’s fault again. — Steve Benen
Austerity hurts the country: the GOP continues to push for it, while the media attacks Obama – Economic experts agree that spending cuts in a weak economy hurt the creation of jobs and economic growth. Though Republicans in Congress spent much of 2011 demanding spending cuts, the media are amplifying their attacks on President Obama’s economic record. – MMFA
- Why the jobs deficit is more important than the budget deficit – [W]e can’t possibly achieve the growth needed to reduce the budget deficit as a proportion of the total economy unless far more people are employed. Workers are consumers, and consumer spending is 70 percent of economic activity. And cutting the budget means fewer workers, directly (as government continues to shed workers) and indirectly (as government contractors have to lay off workers) and therefore fewer consumers. Yet deficit hawks continue to circle. – Robert Reich
- If it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was … during the Reagan era. — But one significant factor in our continuing economic weakness is the fact that government in America is doing exactly what both theory and history say it shouldn’t: slashing spending in the face of a depressed economy. In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the “Morning in America” recovery during the Reagan era. – Paul Krugman
MORE austerity for the rest of us: FIRE SEASON – Congressional budget cuts of over $500m could leave crews scrambling for resources in an already overactive fire season Fire experts are warning that $512m in congressional budget cuts could leave communities dangerously exposed in an early and active fire season. “A person has to wonder. Is this going to be the new norm – frequent record-setting fires, while the number of federal firefighters and air tankers continue to shrink?” wrote Bill Gabbert, a former fire management officer in the Black Hills of South Dakota. – Raw Story
- That’s great news when combined with this news: drought expands throughout USA – Only two states — Ohio and Alaska — are entirely free of abnormally dry or drought conditions, according to the Drought Monitor. The drought is expanding into some areas where dryness is rare, such as New England. – USA Today
The USA hasn’t been this dry in five years.
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
The road NOT taken: The American Jobs Act – It seems like ages ago, but it was just last September when the president delivered an address to a joint session of Congress, laying out a detailed plan to boost job creation. It’s easy to forget, but it was a credible, serious plan — the AJA would have prevented thousands of layoffs for teachers, cops, and firefighters; invested heavily in infrastructure; and cut taxes intended to spur hiring. [...] Despite public clamoring for action on jobs, congressional Republicans reflexively killed the American Jobs Act, saying it was unnecessary. The House wouldn’t bring it up for a vote, and a Republican filibuster killed it in the Senate. For GOP policymakers, this was a time when Washington should stop investing in job creation and start focusing on austerity — lower the deficit, take capital out of the economy, and everything would work out fine. As panic sets in after this morning’s brutal jobs report, take a moment to consider a hypothetical: what would the economy look like today if Congress had followed Obama’s lead, responded to public-opinion polls, and passed the American Jobs Act? In 2012, do you think the nation could use those 1.3 million jobs or not? — Maddow Blog
- Steve Benen: The Republican Party’s passive disinterest to the jobs crisis — This is, after all, a Republican-led Congress that has plenty of time to fight a culture war — I’ve lost count of the anti-abortion bills that have reached the House floor, including one yesterday — but has shown passive disinterest to the jobs crisis. Follow this pattern of events:
- With the job market struggling, Obama unveils the American Jobs Act, a State of the Union agenda filled with economic measures, and an economic “to-do list.”
- Republican lawmakers ignore the proposals, and the job market deteriorates.
- The GOP then blames Obama for the failure his policies, which Congress didn’t pass.
Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Get to Work — President Obama speaks to the American people from a Honeywell manufacturing facility in Minnesota about his proposal to make it easier for companies to hire our returning service members for jobs that utilize their skills and help grow our economy. – The White House
The insane scenario unfolding before our eyes — Under a Republican president, the United States endured eight years of disastrous economic stewardship—arguably the worst of the post-war era—that nearly led to a second Great Depression. In response, voters elected a Democratic president and gave him huge majorities in both chambers of Congress. Rather than work with the new president, Republicans ran to the right and promised to defeat this president by any means necessary. They abused institutional rules to block nominees, and imposed a de-facto super-majority requirement on all legislation. Republicans rejected stimulus, the automobile rescue, a climate bill built from their ideas, a health care bill built from their ideas, and a reform bill designed to keep the Great Recession from happening again. This was an amazingly successful strategy. It destroyed Democratic standing with the public, energized the right-wing fringe, and led to a historic victory in the House of Representatives. Once in command of the House, Republicans pushed hugely draconian budgets, risked a government shutdown, and nearly caused a second economic collapse by threatening to default on the nation’s debt. This reckless behavior depressed the economy, prolonged the recovery, and destroyed trust in the nation’s political institutions. The Speaker of the House has even promised to do this again, if Democrats don’t bow to his demands for greater spending cuts. Now, those same Republicans—and their enablers—are running to replace President Obama by blaming him for the entirety of our economic situation. – Jamelle Bouie
Gosh, I wonder why the economy is underperforming? Remember all the talk a few years back about how we wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of 1937, when FDR pulled back too soon on support for the economy? Here, from FRED, [...] using rates of growth: Government current expenditures – GDP deflator (the right measure of inflation) – Growth in civilian noninstitutional population [...] So we haven’t seen spending cuts like this since the demobilization that followed the Korean War. — Paul Krugman
Federal Spending, Taxes, and Deficits Are Lower Today Than When Obama Took Office — This is an inconvenient truth. It is inconvenient for Mitt Romney that spending, taxes, and the deficit are all lower today than when President Obama took office. It is inconvenient for liberals (not to mention, really inconvenient for the unemployed) that we’ve been overly aggressive in paring down our deficits even with high unemployment and huge cuts to state and local government. – The Atlantic