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August 19, 2011 1:10 PM Cantor eyes end of stimulus ‘discussions’

By Steve Benen

This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent a letter to his caucus, urging them to avoid budget brinkmanship when lawmakers return in September, suggesting Republicans don’t have much of an appetite for another showdown over a government shutdown. But that’s not the only thing Cantor said in the letter.

Reader F.B. flagged another tidbit that’s especially relevant right now.

[Cantor] blamed Obama’s policies for harming the economy, and invoked President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he said had lengthened and deepened the Great Depression with some of his decisions.

To help reduce uncertainty, Cantor said the GOP will focus on ending regulations and “stopping the discussions of new stimulus spending.”

The Majority Leader is frighteningly confused about the basics of economic policy, which certainly does not bode well for the nation’s economic future.

The White House message to Cantor and his GOP colleagues will be pretty straightforward: both sides can get what they want out of an economic plan. Democrats can get short-term economic growth and job creation with common-sense measures that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and Republicans can get long-term debt reduction with changes to the tax code and entitlement “reforms.”

The results would give the economy a boost, demonstrate that the American political system can still function, reassure investors and global markets, and probably even improve the public standing for both parties. It’s an approach that economists, financial experts, and business leaders from both parties consider painfully obvious.

And yet, there’s the dimwitted House Majority Leader, blaming FDR for making the Depression worse and telling his caucus “stopping the discussions of new stimulus spending” is a top Republican priority.

America can’t thrive if Republicans won’t let it.

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

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  • snowbird42 on August 19, 2011 1:20 PM:

    Looks like its hatred of Obama over the good of the Country yet again.

  • Burr Deming on August 19, 2011 1:27 PM:

    The advantage that Republicans successfully press is that Hooverism remains intuitively self-evident. Government should tighten its belt, just like families have to.

    The fact that common sense, in this case, is counter to a large body of evidence does not make it less appealing to the public or to politicians.

  • just bill on August 19, 2011 1:29 PM:

    the republicans seem intent on continuing down the path of stupid ideas that the real american public hates. keep it up eric. hopefully you'll succeed in destroying the republican brand forever.

  • Bernard HP Gilroy on August 19, 2011 1:30 PM:

    >> [Cantor] blamed Obamaís policies for harming the economy, and invoked President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he said had lengthened and deepened the Great Depression with some of his decisions.

    No, no, this is a good sign. After all, the common consensus of economists is that FDR did lengthen the Great Depression -- by slashing spending, lowering taxes, unwinding some of the New Deal, and all around doing exactly what Republicans are demanding that Obama does now. It's nice to see Cantor come around to understand that we must not repeat the mistakes of 1937.

    Oh, wait. You don't think he had some other policies in mind, do ya?

    ObSiteComplaint: In addition to the lousy captcha, is there any reason why blockquote no longer works?

  • RT on August 19, 2011 1:34 PM:

    The White House message to Cantor and his GOP colleagues will be pretty straightforward: both sides can get what they want out of an economic plan. Democrats can get short-term economic growth and job creation with common-sense measures that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and Republicans can get long-term debt reduction with changes to the tax code and entitlement "reforms."
    But we know the Republicans only say they want those things. They'll say any proposed plan isn't good enough rather than admit to what they really want.
  • c u n d gulag on August 19, 2011 1:42 PM:

    Also, too - what exactly does that idiot Cantor, who've I've heard say that 'FDR didn't do anything to end The Great Depression, WWII did!' exactly think WWII was, except the biggest, grandest stimulus package of all time?

    We have a age minimum to serve in the House, the Senate, or to be President.

    Can't we set an IQ minimum?
    You have to have an IQ of 80 of higher to be a House member.
    90 for the Senate.
    And 100 for the President.

    Eliminate almost all of the Republicans in DC, and prevent the "R" presidential candidates from running.

    It might also have saved us from the Reagan and Little Boots presidencies, too.

  • howard on August 19, 2011 1:45 PM:

    republicans won't let america thrive: that's a fact.

    so the question is, what structurally can be done about it, and the number one structural thing is to get rid of the %&^**%%$&%^&*$#(*& filibuster.

    i'll know obama is serious about letting america thrive when he takes the filibuster on: until then, his narcissistic obsession with being the most reasonable man in the room, his hatred of the left, and his chicago freshwater economics brainwashing make him the perfect foil for the republicans not letting america thrive.

  • MuddyLee on August 19, 2011 1:51 PM:

    On "The Takeaway" PRI program this morning they were asking listeners to give Obama a letter grade for his performance on the economy - I didn't hear ONE WORD mentioned about the republicans deliberately trying to sabotage the economy throughout Obama's presidency and turning the debt ceiling increase (a routine matter in the past) into a republican made crisis. How about letter grades for Cantor, Boehner, McConnell, and Bachmann on what they have done for the economy and for America since Obama has been president: F, F, F, and F - unless there is a lower letter grade. Rick Perry, if you are looking for treasonous actions, look at the Congressional republicans. Is there even ONE who has acted responsibly in 2011?

  • iokiyar on August 19, 2011 1:54 PM:

    gotta hand it to them -- they know how to get what they want. f america, bring back power.

  • Brenna on August 19, 2011 1:59 PM:

    If a republican were to win in 2012, they'd change their whole strategy in order to get the economy shaped up. Republicans don't care about deficits. That's why Obama should be bold on his jobs plan speech. This capitulating to the republicans is a fool's game and won't get him anywhere.

  • R. Porrofatto on August 19, 2011 2:04 PM:

    It would be great if someone like Cantor would occasionally evince some awareness that the Great Depression, not unlike the Great Whatever we currently endure, was a GLOBAL phenomenon.

  • Lance on August 19, 2011 2:19 PM:

    You know why businesses are 'uncertain'?

    Because they KNOW taxes have to be raised. Hell, they WANT taxes to be raised.

    The uncertainty comes from Grover Norquist stopping the Republicans from raising the taxes this country needs. The businesses know this, and the businesses are unwilling to invest.

    That, and they have no customers for anything they'd make.

  • Philat on August 19, 2011 2:41 PM:

    Cantor's contention that some of FDR's policies deepened the Great Depression is another indication of his ignorance of history. It's a ploy that many in the GOP use, trotting out erroneous stats to prove their point. True, FDR's policies did not end the Depression, but condition improved immensely by 1939-40 compared to 1933. As one who has studied that time, as well as lived through it as well, Cantor is as one of his former math teachers said: "smart but arrogant as hell..."

  • jjm on August 19, 2011 2:50 PM:

    Truly a sadistic, shortsighted wimp whose ego ideal is that of a super powerful bully.

    And a corrupt one, too. ThinkProgress has the story on huge donations to his campaign by a bank after his wife joined their board. He bet against the US by plumping for default, and then, when the downgrade he was salivating for happened, he was caught out: because it didn't go exactly the way he'd bet on, since the US treasuries zoomed, so his short selling didn't work as he had very deviously hoped.

    Maybe he ought to keep his mouth closed?

  • apmat on August 19, 2011 2:52 PM:

    Putting aside the fabrication that FDR lengthened the depression, I have thought for some time now the Republicans would be much more willing to compromise during the run-up to the election. They see the polls and believe they can turn them around to "2010" levels with be big spending on deceptive ads by "Americans for Prosperity" and some modest compromise where they get what they want but have give a little to the Dems.

  • lwc on August 19, 2011 2:54 PM:

    America canít thrive if Republicans wonít let it.

    Ah, now that's a great campaign theme. If only Obama would stop comparing the US government to a family and it's budget and start using a great line like this maybe we'd start to get somewhere. And Congressional Democrats should be using it as well.

  • markg8 on August 19, 2011 3:07 PM:

    Actually Social Security taxes kicked in in 1937 thought the first checks didn't go out til 1940. A tax hike on both employers and employees. FDR also lowered spending and tried to rein in deficits. If we accept Cantor's meme we will extend tax cuts for employers and employees and increase spending. Of course Cantor will deny he meant 1937 and claim it was 1933 but not sure where he'd go with that. He can't very
    well demand we get rid of the SEC and FDIC.

  • Greg on August 19, 2011 4:46 PM:

    They've all read at least one book--Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man. She makes just this argument

  • RT on August 19, 2011 5:16 PM:

    I've heard the "FDR prolonged the Depression" argument so many times, I figure it's a right-wing article of faith so there's no point in arguing with them.

  • thebewilderness on August 19, 2011 5:17 PM:

    Getting rid of the banking regulations in 2003 was such a great success that it should surely be repeated?
    Consumer confidence drives the economy so the obvious solution is to undermine consumer confidence by removing regulations consumers depend on?
    Stupid or lying?

  • TCinLA on August 19, 2011 5:32 PM:

    Always nice of little Eric to take the time to demonstrate to us all what a "Kapo" was - i.e., a Jew who collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust, which furthered the Holocaust by his actions." The guy is the perfect definition of the "Jewish Nazi."

  • bob h on August 20, 2011 6:24 AM:

    America can't thrive until the Republican Party dies.

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