Political Animal

Blog

June 06, 2011 10:50 AM Defying explanation

By Steve Benen

When the most recent monthly job totals were released on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “One look at the jobs report should be enough to show the White House it’s time to get serious about cutting spending.” That doesn’t make any sense.

But the deteriorating employment picture seems to have emboldened those who are the most misguided to believe they’re also the most correct. The Hill reported over the weekend, “Freshmen House Republicans are sticking to their guns on the need for immediate spending cuts in light of Friday’s dismal jobs report. First-term members interviewed by The Hill said the jobs report released Friday — which showed unemployment rising to 9.1 percent — is all the proof anyone should need that government spending doesn’t stimulate the economy.”

This extends to presidential politics, too. Mitt Romney continues to argue that President Obama inherited an economic mess, but made matters “worse.” When that was fact-checked, and proven false, Romney said it again.

I’m curious about how Republicans explain what transpired in 2009, immediately after the stimulus took effect.

Here, for example, is a chart showing private-sector job losses per month in the year before President Obama took office.

It’s obviously not a pretty sight. The month Obama was inaugurated, America’s private sector lost a remarkable 841,000 jobs. That was just in one month.

Now, if Obama’s policies made matters worse, we’d expect to see those columns move even lower. If Obama’s policies made things better, we’d expect to see the monthly totals improve. So, take a look at what transpired over the first 14 months the president was in office:

This shows private-sector jobs only, so it’s not skewed by Census jobs. Obama took office, the stimulus took effect, and the job market quickly improved.

What I’m curious about is how Republicans explain this. How is this even possible? Democrats spent a lot of money, deliberately made the deficit much worse, and imposed their preferred regulatory policies. The economy grew, the recession (technically) ended, and the job market got significantly better.

Does the right have an explanation for such developments? Was it magic? Was it a coincidence? Or is it possible that all of that spending actually made things better?

It’s not a rhetorical question. I’d really like to know.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

  • dsimon on June 06, 2011 10:59 AM:

    To be charitable to Romney, I think it's possible to interpret his statement as meaning "worse than if the administration had done nothing." He may mean that we'd have been better off with no intervention, or a different kind of intervention, instead of the sluggish, faltering recovery we may now be experiencing

    That claim too, though, would require some justification. Would Romney have let the banks fail? If he thinks the stimulus didn't work, why not repeal the 40% portion of it that was tax cuts since they supposedly didn't help? Even giving Romney the benefit of the doubt still leaves a lot of doubt.

  • walt on June 06, 2011 10:59 AM:

    But Steve, it IS a rhetorical question since Republicans are neither intellectually honest nor economically literate. You already know what they would say: "the government is sucking up too much of the credit from the marketplace so entrepreneurs can't create new jobs". Yes, it's garbage and a lie at the same time. But they'll ride this horse long and hard and, I assume, successfully. What should really alarm us is that President Obama (remember him?) has essentially validated their talking point for them. Why? Because he's not a fighter for our interests and he apparently too busy golfing to really care one way or another.

  • c u n d gulag on June 06, 2011 11:00 AM:

    They believe - so it's matter of faith.

  • danny shenanigan on June 06, 2011 11:02 AM:

    It would seem to me that the auto industry bailout offers an opportunity for the White House to display the differences between the two policy positions quite clearly. On one hand, the republicans said to let it go. The White House saved the industry, thousands of jobs, and some measure of national pride.

    republican spending cuts, no auto industry bailout = many lost jobs, higher unemployment, no cars made in the US.

    White House government loans to the auto industry = many saved jobs, lower unemployment, good Eminem et al car ads and the resulting national pride. (Last part optional)

    Get the White House whiteboard going on that one!

  • Gummo on June 06, 2011 11:05 AM:

    I have a serious question for you Steve:

    Who do the Republicans have to explain themselves to?

    Their followers? The ignorant, angry sheep who'll believe anything, as long as it's confirms their prejudices, that liberals are stupid and unpatriotic, Obama's evil, taxes are theft and they deserve more of everything without paying for it.

    The media? The right-wing near-monopoly corporate media? That parrots right-wing spin points when it's not letting Republicans spew them unopposed and unquestioned?

    Their Democratic colleagues? Most of whom agree with them that slurping at the corporate money trough is all that matters and who will say or do anything to make sure that that fine fine corporate gold keeps flowing?

    Republicans can say ANYTHING without being challenged. They've been working on crafting this situation for 30 years, at least since they struck down the Fairness Doctrine. They're going to enjoy it -- being unaccountable (to anyone but your plutcrat paymasters) is quite a giddy feeling, I'm sure.

  • ManOutOfTime on June 06, 2011 11:07 AM:

    The GOP is an organization whose base believes in an invisible magic man in the sky who once directed Noah to ride his dinosaur onto the ark, and now uses diseases and hurricanes to punish homosexuals and blacks. No mention of tornadoes in the Bible Belt as punishment for anything, but it's an evolving theology I guess. Anyway, what use do people like this have for "facts" or "charts" ... ? It's a closed epistemological system. There is no spoon. There is no bikini graph.

  • Texas Aggie on June 06, 2011 11:08 AM:

    The Democrats have to make the point that money from the stimulus has run out so of course you expect the employment picture to get worse. As long as there was money going to people so that they could spend it, there were jobs being created. Once that flow got cut off, then jobs were no longer being created.

    The public has to be reminded time and again that businesses operate on customers buying their products and services, not on tax policies. It doesn't matter how much your taxes are cut if you aren't making any money to pay taxes on in the first place. Normal people can understand this if they're reminded often enough.

  • stevio on June 06, 2011 11:24 AM:

    OK. here it is.

    The GOP has: SCOTUS, Congress (remember they set the agenda), MSM (both print and T.V.), millions of Low Information Voters, millionaires lining the pockets of BOTH sides of the isle...

    THIRD WORLD AMERICA

  • J on June 06, 2011 11:26 AM:

    Before Obama took office, the Economy was shedding jobs because it knew that Bush's fine conservative administration was going to be replaced by Obama's socialist muslim one. This was just an example of foresight by the Economy.

    Then, once Obama actually took office, the Economy started gaining jobs, because it knew that Obama's record would be so dismal that the GOP would do well in the next election cycle (2010). Again, foresight in action.

    Now that the GOP has taken over Congress, and it's once again being run effectively, the Economy is cooling off a bit, cutting back on job growth. This is because it's looking forward to 2012, and is concerned that the GOP might lose Congress and/or the socialist muslim atheist might be re-elected.

    If you think about it hard enough, you can see that all episodes of job growth are due to past and/or future GOP leadership, while all episodes of job losses can be blamed on the Democrats.

  • Stephen Stralka on June 06, 2011 11:26 AM:

    Well of course the Republicans aren't going to explain how spending cuts are going to create jobs, but that doesn't mean Democrats shouldn't be relentlessly pressing that question between now and November 6 2012.

    Of course it's a concept that takes about 30 seconds to explain, which appears to be about 28 seconds longer than the attention span of far too many Americans, but anyone who loves this country needs to understand that it't not going to do us any good to give the people who are already sitting on enormous piles of money that they aren't investing in job creation even more cushioning for that fat, smug, self-righteous, unpatriotic asses.

  • Stephen Stralka on June 06, 2011 11:29 AM:

    To be charitable to Romney...

    What for? His party has declared all out war on you and me. If they manage to keep enough young people and blacks from voting to let some corporate stooge slither into the White House, the Republic really will be finished.

  • Goldilocks on June 06, 2011 11:30 AM:

    The United States of America contributes 52% of global warming, with 5% of the world's population.

    Maybe the Republicans, in destroying America, are saving the planet.

    Discuss.

  • Ron Byers on June 06, 2011 11:41 AM:

    Are we sure this slow down is a continuation of the Great Recession? There are a lot of things going on in the world out side of Washington. I understand that the stimulus is winding down, but I want to know why private sector demand isn't picking up the way should. Maybe there just isn't enough private demand in the world to keep everybody employed anymore. If that is the case we are going to have to figure out how we are going to deal with permanent unemployed. Maybe there is still something rotten in Wall Street. If so we need to figure out what and why.

    All the finger pointing back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats isn't going to get the economy back on track.

    In the meantime we have to force the conversation away from the long term deficit back to the economy. Maybe it should be pointed out that if we don't solve the economy, nothing we do will solve the long term deficit. Jobs, jobs, jobs create demand, demand, demand. Chicken and egg, but we have to do something to turn on the tap. I would like to turn it on without another world war.

  • SYSPROG on June 06, 2011 11:41 AM:

    They have tourettes...the world is going to hell? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich. Bad jobs report? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich. Stock market down? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich.

  • Ron Byers on June 06, 2011 11:56 AM:

    You are right sysprog, the Republicans are pushing an insane one solution fits all problems approach. Can you imagine our media talking heads even grasping how insane they are and asking relevant follow up questions? Me neither.

    Remember Sarah Palin is a trained broadcaster and Fox News producers can't tell the difference between Tina Fey and Sarah Palin. Those two data points should give all of us pause when we hope for David Gregory or one of the others will ask significant follow up questions.

  • j_h_r on June 06, 2011 11:57 AM:

    *sings*

    it's an
    itsy bitsy
    teeny weeny
    half-red and half-blue bikini...

  • Ladyhawke on June 06, 2011 12:06 PM:

    Andrew Leonard of Salon says....

    THIS IS WHY THE UNITED STATES IS DOOMED:

    The GOP response to the jobs report: The Earth is flat and two plus two equals five


    http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2011/06/03/this_why_the_united_states_is_doomed

  • Four Legsgood on June 06, 2011 12:11 PM:

    Does the right have an explanation for such developments? Was it magic? Was it a coincidence? Or is it possible that all of that spending actually made things better?

    No, they DON'T have an explanation. Frankly, they don't have a clue about how the economy works. They are completely mystified by the relationship between demand and jobs.

    They believe that if they kill local governments that private businesses will immediately rush into the gap. Of course it's not true. I am sorry to say that my own city is about to become exhibit A for what happens when you trash state government. Austin was doing quite well up until now - but our stupid lege just passed a draconian budget that will result in thousands of layoffs in state government, the local school districts and the state's university system.

    The only good news is that the resulting carnage should put a shiv in good hair Perry's presidential ambitions once and for all.

  • meander on June 06, 2011 1:07 PM:

    Here's another good question for the economic geniuses at the GOP: how did the U.S. get out of the Great Depression? Was it concerted thinking about the gold standard? Or an uptick in free trade around the world? And how do you argue away the massive, unprecedented government spending on World War II?

  • howard on June 06, 2011 1:07 PM:

    ron, just to address your 11:41: the "private" economy is demand-constrained, no ands, ifs, or buts about it.

    first off, we still have a lot of households who want to pay down debt, not expand consumption.

    second off, we still have terrible news in terms of home values, and the negative wealth affect makes a difference (not to mention the end of the heloc-supported consumption boom that the housing bubble enabled).

    third, although "inflation" is fine, direct household out-of-pockets are being hit by higher gas prices (it's been a few years, but the last time i looked into it, it appeared that the average household used roughly 1,000 gallons of gas a year, so a $1 increase reduces other spending by $20/week for that household).

    and, of course, as steve has been documenting, since there hasn't been sufficient revenue sharing to help the states out, government employment is dropping, with all the further negative implications of higher unemployment and unemployed households being resource-constrained by definition.

    so yes, demand in the private sector isn't going to recover rapidly, which is why the public sector is the only choice....

  • Redshift on June 06, 2011 1:30 PM:

    sysprog:
    They have tourettes...the world is going to hell? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich. Bad jobs report? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich. Stock market down? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich.

    You have to take it back a few more years to get the full effect: "Government surplus? Stop spending and give a tax break to the rich."

    Republican "policy" thinking pretty much amounts to: "Tax cuts are the answer. What was the question?"

  • Jim Pharo on June 06, 2011 2:48 PM:

    It's almost cute how you think facts should have this hugely important role in voters' minds. These same people think soda makes you active and popular, that Appleby's has delicious food, and if they love their children they should buy Jif.

    You think it will matter whether Obama is in fact doing a good job, or that the GOP is a proven bunch of incompetent hacks and liars?

    The thing that will decide the election hasn't even come into view yet. My money is on a fake scandal involving the President's family...

  • dsimon on June 06, 2011 2:57 PM:

    Stephen Stralka: "'To be charitable to Romney...'

    "What for?"

    Because I don't want to assume bad faith unless I absolutely have to. I try to give people the benefit of certain assumptions...and then show why they're still wrong. It's often a more effective way of argument than just challenging their motives, which rarely advances the discussion.

  • majun on June 06, 2011 3:27 PM:

    Does the right have an explanation for such developments?

    Well, yes, they do have an explanation. The actual recession was the delayed results of Clinton's policies and the improvement in 2009 and 2010 was the delayed effects of the Bush tax cuts finally kicking in.

    What other explanation could there be?

  • Colin on June 06, 2011 3:31 PM:

    No mystery here. The economy worsened, hit rock bottom from about October through March, and then began to improve. It's the same story with every recession we've ever had.

    What were you expecting? That absent the stimulus the job losses would have worsened indefinitely?

  • soggy01 on June 06, 2011 3:41 PM:

    Stimulus was like a tourniquet around the neck of a patient with a head wound. It stops the bleeding and, for a short time looks to be working, then the patient dies from the treatment not the wound.

  • indyshooter on June 06, 2011 3:56 PM:

  • MEL on June 06, 2011 3:58 PM:

    A short, satirical YouTube animation on this subject: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

  • Hayne Crum on June 06, 2011 4:07 PM:

    Most of the decrease in unemployment is due to people falling off the unemployment roll due to time, not them getting a job. The question is not if the government spending created jobs, but did it create more than would have occurred without the spending. The government used most of the loan money, starving small business. They might or might not have created more jobs.

  • edge on June 06, 2011 4:14 PM:

    Before I buy into this, I want to know how many of these gains are due to "McJobs". In other words, what is the net loss & gain of personal *income* over this period? I suspect it would be an even uglier sight.

  • Anonymous on June 06, 2011 4:26 PM:

    The author's premise that the economy would continue to lose jobs is absurd. ALL recessions bottom out and then the economy springs back. There have been over 40 recessions in the US economy. For most of those, the Federal government did NOTHING. For most recessions, the economy was growing at 5% two years after it ended. Celebrating 1.8% growth after spending a trillion dollars is foolish.

  • Skinnedy on June 06, 2011 4:33 PM:

    And I could have a bigger house, if only I could keep going into debt. At what point does borrowing what you don't have become a problem for this country? Pump another trillion into the economy, and things will probably get better, but does the bill ever come due?

  • Fustrated on June 06, 2011 4:37 PM:

    Can we get graphs with dates? The two graphs shown just have the numbers. What is the time scale? Without the proper references these numbers are meaningless.

  • Dogbert on June 06, 2011 4:43 PM:

    I would like to see the chart overlayed with the "stimulus" spending. I bet you would find that the decline leveled off and improved prior to any substantial amount of extra spending.

    If I recall, it was some time after the bill was passed that money began to flow.

  • CP on June 06, 2011 4:51 PM:

    "republican spending cuts, no auto industry bailout = many lost jobs, higher unemployment, no cars made in the US."

    Says the person with no apparent understanding of how the free market works. Why did the auto industry need bailing out? Because it was poorly run from top to bottom.

    Had they been allowed to fail, they would have eventually been replaced by new companies who (if they were smart) would have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors and been more competetive in the world market. It would have been painful in the short term, but exponentially better in the long term.

    Instead we have spent billions of taxpayer dollars, much of which will never be repayed, to prop up failing companies so they can go back to business as usual.

    The government doesnt fix problems, it subsidizes them.

  • Dogbert on June 06, 2011 4:52 PM:

    http://pro-to.co.uk/blog/obamas-road-to-recovery-the-inconvenient-graph/

    Check on this graph created with the same numbers. It paints a different picture of the "success" of this administration.

  • Mojo on June 06, 2011 4:56 PM:

    It's hard to be sure, since Mr. Benen seems to have seen no need to cite the source of his fancy graphics, but jobs statistics generally measure net changes to the overall labor market - that is, they include not only hiring data but also separations. A net increase in employment may reflect increased hiring, decreased firing, or a combination of both. Certainly SOMEBODY must be hired for there to be net growth of jobs, but demonstrably people were still getting hired even in the depths of the recession - they were just getting fired in far greater numbers.

    JOLTS data tells us that, lo and behold, hiring numbers are still pretty much where they were back in 2009. That means that the "job growth" amounts to fewer terminations - still welcome, although I'm not quite clear on the causal link between that and the stimulus might be. The most obvious suggestion, as with the temporary surge in public-sector employment, is that the stimulus delayed difficult but necessary decisions rather than altering the fundamental trajectory of the economy.

    Hence an anemic growth rate that makes this the worst "recovery" in the last twelve recession cycles - one that is less than the rate of inflation, which may explain why a plurality of Americans believe the recession never ended.

  • Robert on June 06, 2011 5:06 PM:

    One problem the author seems to have is that he calls shedding less jobs a "dramatic improvement. Yes look at the jobs report. For the first couple months we didn't hemmorrhage jobs as fast. The first cuts are always the deepest, so it makes sense that jobs get shed faster at first. Once all the non-essentials are gone, the cuts remaining aren't as substantial. We can't continue to shed jobs at a couple 100K per month or else we'd be looking at 12-15% unemployment right now, which was never realistic in the short term. So after a trillion dollars in stimulus spending, we are no longer losing jobs, but we're not gaining any. Improvement on the graph does not mean a gain in jobs. With the exception of the last two months, we were still losing jobs. Slowing down the rate of speed with which someone is dying is not improvement, it's buying time.

    Republicans don't have to explain why the jobs stopped benig lost, that always happens during a recession, they just have to show that the stimulus alongside this administration deciding to bypass the rule of law regarding bankruptcy with the auto-bailouts has tightened up credit because creditors rightly think this administration will just screw them at will if it's politically expedient to help those with who they are politically connected. Go ahead and praise the auto-bailouts and then wonder later on why they won't be able to get any credit after this administration screwed potential creditors in that bailout in order to give handouts to the unions and make sure they didn't take the hit.

    Now we have record profits and no hiring because businesses are scared of all the regulations coming down the pipe and they are uncertain how expensive new employees will be. Between all the cap and trade regulation this administration wants, and healthcare reforem, I would try to automate, outsource and otherwise not hire American workers, becuase they are going to start becoming prohibitively expensive. That's what is meant when they talk about starving small business. Fine you stemmed the tide, but we are not gaining private sector jobs. They have shrunk down to core workers and will not add jobs as long as this administration makes it punitive to do so. Employment should be mutually beneficial between the players, but Democrats are trying to turn it into a lopsided condition where the worker receives all the benefit and the employer gets all the cost. Continue to be baffled that the private sector doesn't hire more people. And then continue to ignorantly claim that the Republicans are "declaring war on you and me." That class-warfare rhetoric will win you elections I'm sure becuase Americans aren't smart enough to know the truth, and then continue to blame Republicans for all the ills. I don't think Democrats would mind 15-20% unemployment as long as they can keep winning elections, and then when more people are out of work, they can continue to peddle handouts like a drug dealer.

  • BentOak on June 06, 2011 5:21 PM:

    What you socialists never understand is that nothing is static and everything is dynamic. Economics is not immune from the law of relativity. Every time the government tries to implement any policy it puts into motion counter-activity to the policy. The glut of regulation we have seen over the last 20 years has put us into this mess, and capitalists, rightly so, are now sitting on the sidelines because there is no certainty of anything. As an entrepreneur I am not averse to risk, but I need to at least be able to assess the amount of risk. With this bunch there is no way of assessing what tomorrow will bring, much less 1, 5 or 10 years down the road.

    Please...just leave us alone and we'll get this thing moving again.

  • DC Economist on June 06, 2011 5:41 PM:

    Steve, you are suffering from the logical fallacy of "post hoc ergo propter hoc." Just because job losses were less bad after the stimulus was passed doesn't mean the stimulus helped anything. Indeed, boom and bust cycles are built into the economy--they are a natural feature of our system.

    The question you should ask is: would things have been worse in the absence of a stimulus? And the next, more important question would be: would they have been worse by $862B (+ the future interest on that debt) per job created?

    But here's the most important question for the keynesian-minded... If demand stimulus is such a great thing for the economy, and Bush racked up all this debt and we were spending a trillion dollars in wars, why wasn't the economy better off in the first place? Shouldn't it have been booming?

    This seems to me a more interesting question than the one you posed. I've never heard a Keynesian address it.

  • DC Economist on June 06, 2011 5:55 PM:

    Steve, you are suffering from the logical fallacy of "post hoc ergo propter hoc." Just because job losses were less bad after the stimulus was passed doesn't mean the stimulus helped anything. Indeed, boom and bust cycles are built into the economy--they are a natural feature of our system.

    The question you should ask is: would things have been worse in the absence of a stimulus? And the next, more important question would be: would they have been worse by $862B (+ the future interest on that debt) per job created?

    But here's the most important question for the keynesian-minded... If demand stimulus is such a great thing for the economy, and Bush racked up all this debt and we were spending a trillion dollars in wars, why wasn't the economy better off in the first place? Shouldn't it have been booming?

    This seems to me a more interesting question than the one you posed. I've never heard a Keynesian address it.

  • Anonymous on June 06, 2011 6:02 PM:

    I believe that the economy would have recovered on its own without the stimulus.
    As proof, I offer the depression of 1920:
    ***************************************************************
    http://mises.org/daily/3788

    "The economic situation in 1920 was grim. By that year unemployment had jumped from 4 percent to nearly 12 percent, and GNP declined 17 percent.No wonder, then, that Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover falsely characterized as a supporter of laissez-faire economics urged President Harding to consider an array of interventions to turn the economy around. Hoover was ignored.

    Instead of "fiscal stimulus," Harding cut the government's budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922. The rest of Harding's approach was equally laissez-faire. Tax rates were slashed for all income groups. The national debt was reduced by one-third.

    The Federal Reserve's activity, moreover, was hardly noticeable. As one economic historian puts it, "Despite the severity of the contraction, the Fed did not move to use its powers to turn the money supply around and fight the contraction."[2] By the late summer of 1921, signs of recovery were already visible. The following year, unemployment was back down to 6.7 percent and it was only 2.4 percent by 1923.

    ****************************************************************

    So Steve, isn't it possible that the stimulus actually prevented jobs from being created? After all, if Obama had left things alone, history would say that we would be in a strong recovery right about now.

  • widmerpool on June 06, 2011 6:07 PM:

  • Luna on June 06, 2011 6:23 PM:

    The chart also depicts that both houses of Congress were controlled by democrats from 2008-2010 and they were responsible for the great loss of jobs. And gains in 2011 were the result of republicans taking control of the House.

  • m p b on June 06, 2011 6:34 PM:

    It's a pretty graph, it just doesn't infer what you want to believe it does.

  • Mike on June 06, 2011 6:37 PM:

    A few factoids for lefties

    1. The economy tanked when the dems took back Congress during Bush's second term.

    2. Even if Obama's stimulus created jobs, they can't be sustained because the source of revenues will dry up once our country can no longer borrow. Learn Chinese.

    3. On your next job search please feel free to interview with the "poor" because you obviously prefer if the rich just gave all their money away or the government confiscated it. Don't forget to shake hands with the homeless guy when you ask if you can work for him.

    4. Yes our country may produce more pollution but our national products better the lives of many people around the world and our drugs and healtcare products save the lives of millions.

    5. For the record, historically no government has succeeded long term through high taxation and minimal personal freedom.

  • Karl from Chicago on June 06, 2011 6:45 PM:

    One other thing that the right has to deny is what worked in the last big recession, the recession of 1981-1982. We set post WW II records for spending as a % of GDP in FY's 1981, 1982 and 1983. We did not stop setting spending records until ALL of the 2.7 million lost private sector jobs had been recovered. In practice, President Reagan was a Keynesian.

  • Laughing At The Left on June 06, 2011 6:46 PM:

    The best part of all this is watching you uber left wing hate America crowd coming completely unglued that your boy king doesn't have any answers as he claimed he did to get elected, you(dems) "had" 100% of the power and blew it, no closing of gitmo, war is now cool, bail out the banks then turn around and blame the same banks and and 2 Illegal wars (Libya & Pakistan)....and don't get me started on the reps, there dumb enough to run Palin and she'll probably win......

    You wanted the job, you crowed from day one that you had all the answers and the blame it all on Bush card ran out...the real problem, mental midgets like Steve Benen

  • Mark Crawford on June 06, 2011 6:52 PM:

    The fundamental difference between this approach and the approach proposed by Republicans is on the sustainability of the jobs created. Government stimulated growth is transient and does nothing to create wealth or grow GNP. the nature of the stimulus promoted jobs that are already begining to dissapate as evidenced by the dismal jobs picture. Real growth will only happen when the Government gets its house in order, focuses on its constitutional responsibilities, and unleases the private sector by reducing taxes, eliminating duplicative and unnecessary regulations, and provides a sense of stability in which entrepeneurs are willing to take risks to create wealth.

  • CrazyHungarian on June 06, 2011 7:15 PM:

    You can show all the graphs you want and can quote numerous tidbits of cherry-picked misleading statistics. These statistics lie to make ploiticians look better than reality, since unemployment does not count those that have been unsuccessful too long, nor does inflation count those things that affect us most: food and fuel. None of those charts and statistics will change the fact that the economy is still in the toilet after 2 1/2 years of Democrat/Obama policy, astronomical overspending, business crushing regulation environment, record increases in unemployment payments (99 weeks!), record increase in Food Stamps, a complete shutdown of fossil-fuel exploration, record increase in size of government, government take-over of major industries, a healthcare program that will crush small businesses, a Trillion dollar discredited Keynesian Stimulus and a sure promise of significant tax increases in 2012.
    Do the economic doldrums still defy explanation?

  • Willieisdead on June 06, 2011 7:18 PM:

    We can't know how many jobs the stimulus did or din't save. It's a hypothetical question and is unverifiable; there is no metric of any sort to measure it. We do know how bad the situation is though--UE at it's highest level in a generation, a decade's worth of home values destroyed and paltry GDP growth.

    As to Steve's chart, the focus on private-sector employment gains doesn't tell the story that for a great number of those months there were still net losses when accounting for losses in gov't payrolls.

    Bottom line, Bush hasn't been president for 2 1/2 years. At what point does President Obama become accountable for the performance of his policies?

  • TJ on June 06, 2011 7:37 PM:

    please, people...put down the kool-aid...

  •  
  •  
  •