According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during Mitt Romney’s campaign stop today in North St. Louis County
today, he continued his most recent dishonest campaign line, the one where he claims that Obama is responsible for the slow rate of recovery:
For three and a half years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper into debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.
Follow the link above for the full text of his talk, although the segment above summarizes his main themes – about which what can I say? So much drek – where to begin?
The president slowed the recovery? Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office tried once again to disabuse congressional GOPers (and through them the well-and-truly duped American public) of their seeming belief that the stimulus didn’t work:
But on Wednesday, under questioning from skeptical Republicans, the director of the nonpartisan (and widely respected) Congressional Budget Office was emphatic about the value of the 2009 stimulus. And, he said, the vast majority of economists agree.
In a survey conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 80 percent of economic experts agreed that, because of the stimulus, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been otherwise.
Romney’s been misquoting Noam Scheiber’s The Escape Artists to bolster the point he hints at above when he speaks about “expanded government”; he actually has the gall to say that Scheiber indicts the President for consciously slowing the recovery by priortizing Obamacare. Of course, no less a person that the author, Mr. Scheiber, contends that Romney is willfully misrepresenting his argument:
Romney’s imputing one big claim that I just do not make and that I just do not believe to be true,” he said. “Which is that there’s something substantively, sort of intrinsically about the Affordable Care Act that would derail the recovery. That, I personally don’t believe, and I don’t believe they believe it. …
Either Romney has reading comprehension problems or he’s lying. In fact, Schreiber argues that the only problem with Obamacare was that it took energy that could have been dedicated to securing even more stimulus which, in his view, would have pushed the recovery harder and made it go faster. Is Romney implying that he actually supports more stimulus?
If Romney is so concerned with jobs, why doesn’t he address the role of the GOP’s deficit cutting which took thousands of public sector jobs out of play during a major recession? How does he deal with the growing realization that the GOP has fought tooth and nail against measures that would aid recovery in order to sabotage the administration of a Democratic president – a fact that has become so obvious that the usually circumspect Harry Reid explicitly questions GOP motives.
Next we move on to the charge that Obama has threatened “economic freedom.” Of course, this particular point is simply a nod to rabid free market conservatives. By economic freedom, Romney is referring to untrammeled laissez-faire capitalism of the sort that characterized the gilded age in the last quarter of the nineteenth century – a time of great inequality, intense poverty and powerlessness on the part of a large segment of the population. Do we really want to go there again?
It’s easy to criticize those who have the actual responsibility for making things work – especially when, as in the case of Mitt Romney, you don’t consider yourself bound by the truth. It’s much harder to do the deeds or even come up with a viable plan. Although Mitt Romney has been very shy about putting concrete suggestions forward, the six immediate “job-creating” actions he proposed when pressed in a recent CNN interview don’t seem to meet his own criteria according to two economists who were asked by Washington Post blogger, Greg Sargent, to evaluate them:
… Joel Prakken, the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, […] described Romney’s ideas as a “a bundle of reasonable policy proposals that could well stimulate the economy from the supply side over a number of years, but would do little to stimulate aggregate demand in the short run. The reason that unemployment is as high as it is is inadequate aggregrate demand, not inadequate supply.”
“On net, all of these policies would do more harm in the short term,” added Mark Hopkins, a senior adviser at Moody’s Analytics. “If we implemented all of his policies, it would push us deeper into recession and make the recovery slower.”
So to summarize, Romney is traipsing around Missouri telling us that Obama has done something bad by pulling us through a major economic meltdown. The economy is recovering at a slow pace thanks to congressional GOP obstructionism that he fails to acknowledge. He lies blatantly about measured evaluations of Obamacare and its relation to the recovery, and puts forward proposals that would do nothing, zero, nada, zilch, to deal with the Bush recession – a recession that came about because George Bush and like-minded GOPers tried to restore gilded age, unregulated capitalism – the path to the “economic freedom” to which Romney hopes to return the nation.
Got to give it to the guy – Romney may not have much going for him in area of smarts or integrity, but he’s got chutzpah.