As 2014 comes to an end, Republicans around the country should be rejoicing in the amazing track record of President Obama, who has accomplished the 2012 Republican presidential candidates’ agendas far faster than they themselves promised they would have!
From Steven Benen:
* The Romney Standard: Mitt Romney said during the 2012 campaign that if Americans elect him, he’d get the unemployment rate down to 6% by 2016. Obama won anyway and the unemployment rate dropped below 6% two years faster.
* The Gingrich Standard: Newt Gingrich said during the 2012 campaign that if Americans re-elected the president, gas prices would reach $10 per gallon, while Gingrich would push gas down to $2.50 a gallon. As of this morning, the national average at the pump is a little under $2.38.
* The Pawlenty Standard: Tim Pawlenty said trillions of dollars in tax breaks would boost economic growth to 5% GDP. Obama actually raised taxes on the wealthy and GDP growth reached 5% anyway.
Fantastic job, Mr. President!
Of course, sadly for Republicans, their own agenda was achieved via some, er, um, unorthodox methods (at least to them). I mean, President Obama and Congress allowed most of the Bush tax cuts to expire, and taxes even increased for the very richest among us.
Republican members of Congress spent much of the beginning of 1993 warning that raising taxes on the rich would destroy the economy.
“It will kill jobs, kill businesses, and yes, kill even the higher tax revenues that these suicidal tax increasers hope to gain,” Rep. Christopher Cox said.
And cut to the best job growth of the century — over 22 million jobs — and the first budget surplus in generations.
Of course, the nineties were an anomaly, with the end of the Cold War and the government’s decades-long investment in the internet suddenly paying off exponential returns. You can’t expect those kinds of returns again.
Cut to 2013, when President Obama’s re-election allowed most of the Bush tax breaks to expire with Republicans making similar warnings.
The result? Well, it wasn’t the best job creation of the century – yet. The 2,331,000 jobs created in 2013 was shy of 2005’s 2,506,000, which was fueled by the tens of billions of dollars the Bush Administrations flushed into defense and Homeland Security. I’d argue that 2013’s job growth could have beaten 2005 if not for Congress allowing a payroll tax to expire as the sequester went into effect. And don’t forget the how the GOP shut down the government for no discernible purpose.
In 2014, taxes again went up on those in the top percentiles to fund the Affordable Care Act. And with that money we were able to help 10 million Americans gain health insurance.
The result? According to the Labor Department, 2014 has already surpassed 2005 as the best year of job growth this century with 2,650,000 jobs projected to have been created through November.
Democratic policies that ask the rich to invest in our economy is the only way we ever created middle class jobs and it pays off for the rich.
“The U.S. economy not only grows faster, according to real GDP and other measures, during Democratic versus Republican presidencies, it also produces more jobs, lowers the unemployment rate, generates higher corporate profits and investment, and turns in higher stock market returns,” Princeton University professors Mark W. Watson and Alan Blinder have found. “Indeed, it outperforms under almost all standard macroeconomic metrics.”
Then there’s the terrible reality that the economy is growing despite the fact that millions of Americans are obtaining health care for the first time. In fact, I have conservative relatives who hate ObamaCare so much that they complain about the bureaucratic hoops they had to jump through to obtain the subsidies that allowed them to actually afford health care. The horror!
And let’s not even get started with all those “job killing” regulations that Americans are swimming in. Yes, we would all have been better off letting the Republican president slow things down in the name of ideology.
And let’s not forget the stock market. The Dow passed 18,000 a few days ago, which brings to mind the words of former George W. Bush adviser Michael Boskin, who on Mar. 6, 2009 penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow.” As Matt O’Brian writes in the Washington Post:
Boskin, though, didn’t think that this once-in-three-generations financial crisis was to blame for the market meltdown. Instead, he blamed it on Obama for … talking about raising taxes? “It’s hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street,” Boskin philosophized, “as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy.” What followed was the usual conservative jeremiad against higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes on the poor, and deficit spending. Obama’s trying to turn us into Europe, and that’s why markets are pricing in the possibility of a Great Depression—not the dying economy he inherited.
Stocks bottomed on March 9, three days after the op-ed, as the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying and the Treasury’s stress tests restored confidence in the financial system. Then the stimulus started to kick in, putting enough of a floor under the economy that it began growing again that summer. It’s been a nasty, brutish, and long recovery, but unemployment is finally back under 6 percent and the economy is now growing at its fastest pace in over a decade.
Add it all up, and Obama’s radicalism has killed the Dow to the tune of a 171 percent return since Boskin’s op-ed.