Selling Snake Oil

Josh Marshall notes that Republicans are completely uninterested in jobs right now.

 

We know that congressional Republicans are saying they won’t allow any more stimulus spending. That’s been more or less clear since last November’s election. And that doesn’t surprise anyone much since, while it prevents any real action to boost the economy, it’s also in line with Republican economic doctrines. The tell came when the White House pushed for a tax cut — something which likely would not boost jobs as efficiently as direct spending but would pass Republican economic orthodoxy. That was rejected too.

 

Of course Republicans aren’t going to let anything pass that will improve the economy for working-class Americans.  That’s a given. If they can’t rule, they’ll burn down the country until they are given what’s left to lord over.   This isn’t anything new.  Marshall goes a bit further.

 

Boil these statements down and they amount to: we’re interested in long term structural changes to the economy not short term measures to boost jobs or growth. Nothing wrong with wanting long-term structural changes. Democrats want those too, just different ones. But I don’t think anyone could get elected today in anything close to a competitive state or district writing off any kind of immediate effort to create jobs and economic growth. But that’s what they’re saying.

 

And while this is true, the much deeper question to explore is why the Republicans are allowed to get away with this.  They ran in September on JOBS JOBS JOBS but have done nothing since being elected.  You can make the very strong case as a matter of fact that the legislation Republicans have passed in the House would only serve to cost America millions of jobs.

So again, why are Republicans allowed to get away with this?  The answer is that Republicans are now arguing that only long term structural austerity cuts, coupled with massive tax cuts for the rich, will solve our unemployment problems.  Republicans have been making this argument since 2009.  It won them the House in 2010.  They figure they can win the whole ball of wax in 2012.

The far larger problem?  The number of Democrats that agree with the above statement.  We know that cutting spending at the state level has on average cost jobs, while the states that increased spending on average gained jobs.  But you’re not seeing Democrats make this argument.  Instead, they are agreeing with Republicans on the basic principle that cutting spending during a recession will improve the economy.  It won’t.

We also know that cutting taxes on the rich doesn’t create jobs either.  Republican economics has failed the country on jobs time and time again.  But they continue to be treated as serious policy wonks with viable economic policies.  The numbers don’t lie:  unemployment is higher when spending is cut, and it’s higher when taxes on the rich are cut.  The best empirical example of this was Bill Clinton’s second term, when a balanced budget was created through revenue and the country was adding millions of jobs.  But the Republicans are going to try the opposite of that.

The best part?  When it fails to work, Republicans will simply say more cuts were needed.  Until the Democrats stop agreeing with the Republicans on this, the Republicans will be able to get away with the austerity snake oil again and again.  And because Americans want results and don’t care who is actually responsible for tanking the economy but will judge Obama on it anyway, Republicans look like they’re going to get away with doing just that.

(Cross-posted at ZVTS)

45 replies
  1. 1
    bob h says:

    If Republicans are in such a lather about Medicare cuts, why not cut some more out of Medicare Advantage the way ACA did?

  2. 2
    4tehlulz_lite says:

    Obviously, the Republicans are bluffing.

  3. 3
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    A nice distillation of just about every fear and terrified thought leading into next year.

    If we continue to have such a significant chunk of Dems enabling or outright agreeing and siding with the GOP over everyone else, especially on the economy, the GOP can and will very well steal 2012 and send us all down the crapper.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    So again, why are Republicans allowed to get away with this?

    Because a massive part of the electorate doesn’t give a shit about the economy one way or another: all they care about is Taking Their Country Back from the hordes of U.S. citizens who have the audacity to think it’s their country too.

    The rest of the electorate isn’t exactly well informed, and the twenty percent or so in the middle is incredibly susceptible to conservative BS.

  5. 5
    Mike Lamb says:

    “If Republicans are in such a lather about Medicare cuts, why not cut some more out of Medicare Advantage the way ACA did?”

    The most ludicrous part about it is that Republicans are still hammering Democrats over cutting Medicare, even while the GOP budget doesn’t re-instate the spending. It’s maddening that they are allowed to do this. Heads I win, Tails you lose, tie goes to the GOP…

  6. 6
    Bobby Thomson says:

    If I wanted this kind of depressingly accurate analysis, I’d read Digby.

  7. 7
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    The best part? When it fails to work, Republicans will simply say more cuts were needed. Until the Democrats stop agreeing with the Republicans on this, the Republicans will be able to get away with the austerity snake oil again and again. And because Americans want results and don’t care who is actually responsible for tanking the economy but will judge Obama on it anyway, Republicans look like they’re going to get away with doing just that.

    Thank God for the Obama era of post-partisanship.

  8. 8
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The minatory example of the UK Tories, in the last general election, going to the nation with a manifesto that promised to do stuff they knew, and the voters knew, going in, would just make things worse, and in some cases the very things that had spawned the crisis, is worth considering.

    They came within a Nick-Clegg’s-ego’s length of an outright majority in Commons. Labour abstentions did the rest.

    Not that the Tories were popular — their vote share was up only 3% over their last general election defeat. But they were different. Someone had to take the fall, and Labour did very nicely thank you.

    Never underestimate the spite vote.

    Nice piece here on why, in the UK, the Tories do so well when a majority of the electorate isn’t actuall helped by Tory government.

    Sort of a “What’s the Matter with Basingstoke”.

  9. 9
    D. Mason says:

    Republicans look like they’re going to get away with doing just that.

    They are going to get away with it but I don’t thik it’s for the reasons you mentioned. It’s because the media is owned lock, stock and barrel by the ultra rich. For most Americans there might as well be an information blackout.

    They can see that Rome is burning but there are big piles of bread and circus elephant shit blocking their view of what’s going on under the billowing smoke.

  10. 10
    Judas Escargot says:

    Max out the credit card, give all the cash to the landlord, come home drunk, beat the sh!t out of the kids– then tell them no more milk, eggs or cereal for them. The math demands it, you see.

    “Daddy party” indeed.

  11. 11
    BobbyK says:

    Look it’s up to Obama to fight this and create an opposing narrative. If he can’t or won’t(or even worse actually agrees with the turds) that’s on him.

  12. 12
    slag says:

    Look it’s up to Obama to fight this and create an opposing narrative. If he can’t or won’t(or even worse actually agrees with the turds) that’s on him.

    That may be “on him”, but what does that do for you? Or me? Or anyone else more affected by this stuff than him?

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    So again, why are Republicans allowed to get away with this?

    Because they are doing nothing that the Ferengi Controlled Infotainment Networks’ owners disapprove of.

  14. 14
    chopper says:

    shock doctrine, writ large.

  15. 15
    General Stuck says:

    The bi partisan pitch by Obama and dems is only for consumption of the indie swing voters who will likely decide the next election.

    It would be nice if libs and progs could actually keep up with current events before daily diving into the bottomless pit of concern and bashing their leaders when it is not warranted.

    It was a nice gesture for Bernie Sanders to give his speech and have his letter to Obama signed, but the facts are that Obama and Reid are offering the wingnuts nothing of what they want, such as offering the tax holiday to the lowest income folks as a compromise. And it is false to state that Obama and dems agree with the wingers that austerity right now will create jobs. Both Reid and Obama have flatly stated recently that to whatever cuts are made, there will have to be genuine revenue raising efforts, ie higher taxes for the wealthy, and absolutely no benny cuts in either medicare or any social safety net program, And whatever cuts are made, will be for waste fraud and abuse savings.

    It is why the wingers are pulling out of the talks, and planting their flag squarely on the nihilistic hill to die on demanding deep cuts in medicare, and ultimately the ACA, or else, or dems can raise the debt limit on their own. Which is where this is headed, forcing Obama to go around, or over the debt ceiling law, to raise the debt ceiling himself. Which he can by declaring it unconstitutional.

    But can we please stop the bullshit that dems are caving and capitulating, because they are not. They are playing pol strategy of their own to impress the swing voters tht they are trying and the wingers are not. That may or may not be good strategy, but it is not agreeing with wingnuts that we need to cut spending to create jobs.

  16. 16
    mk387 says:

    It makes no difference if Obama or the Dems agree to cut more with the Repubs or not.

    The bottom-line here is that the press has decided that the state of the economy and job creation is 100% the responsibility of the President.

    When was the last time that you saw the MSM asking tough questions of Congress as to why there are NO JOBS BILLS?

    Or how about asking business trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce why their members are sitting on RECORD AMOUNTS OF CASH and not hiring more people?

  17. 17
    KSH says:

    “Republicans have been making this argument since 2009.”

    What? They’ve been making this argument since 1980, or earlier!

  18. 18
    chopper says:

    alright, what’s going on with comments. the one i tried to make in the other thread hasn’t taken after 3 tries.

    srsly, cole, fix yer blog.

  19. 19
    BobbyK says:

    That may be “on him”, but what does that do for you? Or me? Or anyone else more affected by this stuff than him?

    Um, the idea is that Obama actually gets around to-you know-doing something that actually helps the economy.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    __

    If they can’t rule, they’ll burn down the country until they are given what’s left to lord over.

    This was different than the approach when they were ruling?

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    And then we get reports of the precious dem flowers in the Senate bashing Obama because they are idiots and morons that cannot find a way to do their constitutional duty and pass vital legislation for him to sign. They want him to do their job too, and pile on, along with the magic progressives. I figure another week or two, some wizard liberal senator or congressidiot will float the primary Obama balloon, or say some other whiny nonsense on why Obama doesn’t use his BULLY PULPIT, to make them get off their perfumed asses and do what is necessary to raise the debt ceiling. The only thing worse than being a democrat is being a republican, which is why I remain an independent that caucuses with dems. In a futile attempt to remain relatively serene and still able follow politics without flogging myself.

  22. 22
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    r say some other whiny nonsense on why Obama doesn’t use his BULLY PULPIT

    Weirdly, Gore made the same attack. What in the hell would that libtard know about bullypulpitting?

  23. 23
    Maude says:

    General Stuck
    The Repubs are the party of suicide.
    They are not only trying to make Obama fail and wipe out the poor and middle class but ruin the US economy.
    If they allow the default, they will go down the tubes as a political party. The people in this country, for the most part, aren’t stupid.
    I heard on the radio this morning that the House Repubs need at least 40 Dem votes on the debt ceiling.
    The chip on the shoulder crowd will blam Obama no matter what.

  24. 24
    Han's Solo says:

    As always, whether this works for the GOP or not will come down to the answer to one question: Exactly how stupid is the American public.

    If they are dumb enough to think that taking money out of an economy (budget cuts) creates jobs, we are fucked. People work in order to earn money, if there is no money available there is no work available. This is lost on most Republicans.

    Raising Taxes, given that corporations are sitting on a couple trillion dollars, wouldn’t take nearly as much out of the economy as cutting spending. This, too, is lost on most Republicans.

    But we aren’t trying to convince Republicans, we are trying to convince the 20% of the populace that doesn’t identify with a political party. If recent history has shown us anything it is that Republicans can’t be convinced of anything that isn’t approved by Rush Limbaugh.

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:

    What in the hell would that libtard know about bullypulpitting?

    Absolutely nothing, due to him never having one. Obama has been speaking about every day about the debt ceiling, in one forum or another. The geniuses that go around screaming OBAMA! BULLY PULPIT! never give us a definition of how much or in what form the use of Bully Pulpit is. That is because it is simple a way to pile blame onto Obama, and for dem CC’rs to deflect the rightful blame away from themselves.

    And in case no one was paying attention, the wingnuts have launched a civil war of sorts, and show no inclination to abide by public opinion one way or another. They are fully self contained crazy, and dems blasting Obama is just idiotic given the circumstances. But I figure at some point here soon, Harry Reid will start holding votes on raising the debt ceiling, and that will be the best bully pulpit, since it is congress that must do this.

  26. 26
    Nemesis says:

    So the WH is not allowed to use the bully pulpit?

    My concern is that the narrative regarding the economy is so completely tilted to the far right, we have little hope of escaping the near term without losing a huge chunk of the social safety net.

    The goopers bat shit insanity is pefect cover for undue captiulations from the WH.

  27. 27
    SIA says:

    Gen Stuck 10:47. THIS.

  28. 28
    General Stuck says:

    Maude

    I heard on the radio this morning that the House Repubs need at least 40 Dem votes on the debt ceiling.
    The chip on the shoulder crowd will blam Obama no matter what.

    If this is true, then it sounds like good news to me. That most of the House wingers are not completely insane. Like I said in a comment last night, a lot of the posturing going on between House and Senate wingers, is which body will get the wrath of blame from the tea party crazies.

    And that this game of chicken could well by accident cause a default to occur. But it sounds like to me that Mcconnell and the Senate wingers have thrown down the gauntlet of deep medicare benny cuts, or they are not playing and Obama can raise the debt limit himself. Something that would be pol suicide for Obama to do.

    It will be, in effect, a seditious dereliction of their duties, to just walk away and not play, forcing Obama to do it extra legally, or questionable legally. Some will no doubt then start yelling.
    RULE OF LAW!! RULE OF LAW!! Obama must be IMPEACHED!

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    SIA

    Hi, SIA, hope you are doing well :-)

  30. 30
    PWL says:

    Well, it’s discouraging out here in California. We’ve just passed a state budget that is pretty much cuts, cuts, cuts. Why? because the Repubs here threatened to hold their breath till they turned blue when the Governor asked them to agree to put certain tax extensions on the ballot for the people to vote on.

    In other words, what we have here is a totally Republican “starve the beast” budget. Cuts in health and welfare programs, higher college tuition for students who are already having a hard enough time.

    Worst of all, I think this will encourage the Repubs in the national debt limit debate. They’ve shown in Calif that they can get their way just by saying no,no,no,and sitting on their asses, so why shouldn’t that work on a national level? Especially with Obama: the man who would rather “achieve bipartisanship” (Read:”cave in”)than fight.

    What’s really infuriating about this is that the minority party in this country is able to make the country dance to their tune by pure obstructionism, being the party of “No!”, and throwing temper tantrums. There is really something sick about our political system that we have reached this point….

  31. 31
    gene108 says:

    Look it’s up to Obama to fight this and create an opposing narrative.

    The lack of an effective media presence by liberals is what is creating the lopsided media coverage for Republicans.

    The 20th century model of a relatively impartial media reporting information to readers has changed. We’re going back to each partisan side needing its own media outfit to pump out its message.

    The right-wing has beaten the left-wing silly in this regard.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    you’re not seeing Democrats make this argument. Instead, they are agreeing with Republicans on the basic principle that cutting spending during a recession will improve the economy. It won’t.

    I don’t think that’s true. Democrats aren’t saying that “cutting spending during a recession will improve the economy.” The Democratic deficit-hawk argument is all about “getting the house in order” and such. They think that cuts will improve the balance sheet, and that that’s important for the future, because without doing so there will have to be more dramatic and painful cuts later. (I don’t particularly care about the long-term when we’re waist deep in the Big Shitty now, but that’s me.)

    Democrats who favor “spending cuts” don’t, IMHO, believe that they will help the economy, i.e., that it would improve the current job market or anything of that kind. Republicans do, because they have bizarre theories they’d like to give us good and hard. But Democrats don’t, not even the rightmost on the spectrum.

  33. 33
    taylormattd says:

    This is an utter load of shit.

    I am so sick of “progressives” vomiting all over democrats using the line “if only democrats would stop doing [X]. . .”

    Until the Democrats stop agreeing with the Republicans on this, the Republicans will be able to get away with the austerity snake oil again and again.

    I mean buy a fucking clue. Are you really so dumb that you believe if only the small number of democrats who do on occasion vocally agree with republicans would stop doing so, that then the media would suddenly call the republicans on their bullshit? Really?

    Again, fucking stupid. Lay the blame for letting republicans lie squarely where it belongs: the media.

  34. 34
    MBunge says:

    “The best empirical example of this was Bill Clinton’s second term, when a balanced budget was created through revenue and the country was adding millions of jobs.”

    Uh…budget cuts and spending restraint were a significant aspect of Bill Clinton’s budget policies.

    Mike

  35. 35
    jayackroyd says:

    Eventually you have to consider the possibility that the Democratic leadership is getting the policy results they want.

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:

    If Violence is supposed to be the option of last resort, the others don’t seem to be working.

    Anthrax and Tirerims anyone?

  37. 37
    liberal says:

    @15 General Stuck:

    But can we please stop the bullshit that dems are caving and capitulating, because they are not.

    LOL.

    It’s been obvious since the beginning of this crisis that the right strategy was what Yglesias proposed: Obama issuing an ultimatim that he won’t sign any debt ceiling bill that had any strings attached. That Obama chose not to do so means either he’s a terrible tactician or that he actually wants strings attached.

  38. 38
    liberal says:

    @33 taylormattd:

    Are you really so dumb that you believe if only the small number of democrats who do on occasion vocally agree with republicans would stop doing so, that then the media would suddenly call the republicans on their bullshit? Really?

    No, but the fact that the Democrats’ message is confused and wrong certainly doesn’t help matters.

  39. 39
    Judas Escargot says:

    @The General:

    Which he can by declaring it unconstitutional.

    …followed immediately by impeachment for “dictatorial overreach” or somesuch.

    Which could easily backfire on them. Or not. But I’ve started to think that’s the GOP plan now. (Best of all worlds: Appeases the FIRE folk, evades blame, gives a reason to spend the 2012 election season impeaching the President).

  40. 40
    SIA says:

    Gen Stuck @ 29 doing great – you? :)

  41. 41
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ liberal / 37:

    That Obama chose not to do so means either he’s a terrible tactician or that he actually wants strings attached.

    Maybe he actually believes in the necessity of LONG-TERM deficit reduction. Michael Capuano, Massachusetts prog-darling, talks this up in the most recent issue of my alumni magazine. There _really is_ a long-term issue with the deficit; that’s why the HCR bill had that whole aspect of “bending the cost curve.” There are a lot of cost curves that need bending. Should it be done now? I wouldn’t. But if you believe that long-term cuts are in order, and Republicans are making a lot of noise about cuts, it kinda makes sense to nudge that discussion in the direction of the cuts that you believe are necessary and that you wouldn’t mind sharing the responsibility for enacting.

    Mind you, I think the whole discussion of O Noes Teh Deffysitz! should be postponed for another day and that we should instead be focused on tangible short-term improvements. BUT if the Republicans are intent on having a discussion of cuts, _and_ if Democrats believe that long-term cuts ARE necessary (as even many progs in Congress say), I think it makes sense to clash with them over the configuration of those cuts, rather than on a quixotic quest to thwart any and all cuts.

    Like I said, it’s not what I would do as Liberal Benevolent Despot, but it might be what I would do as a member of Democratic leadership when _even Democrats_ are fixated on cutting.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    LOL.

    Do you want to hear something REALLY funny?

    Some anonymous guy on the internet saying-

    . That Obama chose not to do so means either he’s a terrible tactician or that he actually wants strings attached

  43. 43
    OzoneR says:

    And while this is true, the much deeper question to explore is why the Republicans are allowed to get away with this.

    The same reason why a third of union voters polled are supporting their incumbent Republican State Senator who is being recalled in Wisconsin.

    But they need to make liberals cry, even if it means hurting themselves.

  44. 44
    cynickal says:

    the much deeper question to explore is why the Republicans are allowed to get away with this.

    Because they own the media.

    This has been another episode of “Simple answers to obvious questions”

  45. 45
    Bernard says:

    not like the Democrats in New Jersey are voting with the Republicans, or elsewhere.

    no, it couldn’t be that. Blue Dogs are true to their roots.

    Blame the media for the Democrats enabling the Republicans, we all know it’s the media’s fault. once the media gets it “right” then the Democrats will follow suit.

    of course that follows, in America at least.

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