Yesterday in Warrensburg President Obama tried to raise once again the issue of economic growth and its corollaries such as infrastructure investment, education and energy. The response from Missouri’s GOP politicians can only have been inspired by the fact that they’re secretly trying out their stand-up comedy routines before getting together and hitting open-mike night at some comedy club:
Back in Washington, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said on the Senate floor that he was glad the president is visiting Missouri. “But these speeches sound an awful lot like the 2012 campaign speeches. I think we need to move beyond that. We need to not just pivot to the economy, but we need to stick with the economy.”
“Our nation would be in a better place if, instead of spending all his time giving speeches filled with unrealized rhetoric about a better America, President Obama would actually work with Republicans to address the enormous problems facing our nation,” Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said in a statement.
Somebody needs to remind Senator Blunt about the priorities of his GOP congressional colleagues. Although perhaps he’s aware of some big economic impact that adheres to outlawing all abortions at 20 weeks; votes to ban gender-based abortion (which is not a problem in the U.S.); 38 (I believe that’s the current count) purely symbolic votes in the House to defund Obamacare, numerous set-to’s over shutting the down the government over such a routine matter as raising the debt limit to cover the nations already incurred obligations (all spending approved by congress, by the way); this summer’s unending hearings over poorly manufactured and managed non-scandals, etc. and etc. (And, by the way, don’t forget, all this useless activity costs us money.)
As for Speaker Jones, he actually has the right of it. Of course, God himself couldn’t “work with” Republicans. After all, as we have learned over the course of the past few years, working with Republicans to achieve almost any goal means meekly bowing your head and meeting their every demand, and, God forbid, never, ever criticizing them for acting like thugs – all while ignoring the druthers of the folks who elected President Obama with a rather resounding majority to do just those things that throw the excitable GOPers into a frenzy of tantrums.
Both Senator Blunt and Rep. Jones seem to want us to think that the President is all talk and no action. However, I do seem to remember numerous initiatives that the president has put forward while the GOP has done nothing at all but obstruct and fulminate. Specifically in response to columnist Josh Kraushaar, Economist Jared Bernstein managed to point out the weakness of these types of GOP talking points when used to counter the President’s new offensive on the economy:
There’s no hint in Kraushaar’s column about the Jobs Act that Obama proposed in September 2011. Nothing about the economic plan he pushed in fall 2010, either. Nothing about Dodd-Frank. Nothing even about the proposals Obama made in his State of the Union this year, most of which he’s still repeating (and House Republicans are still ignoring). For that matter, nothing about Obama’s deficit-cutting over the last couple of years. […]
Not to mention that there’s a very screwy giving-speeches-and-passing-things focus here. What Obama did for the economy in 2009-2010 was mainly implementing the stimulus passed in early 2009. That’s really not ignoring the economy.
I don’t think any sane person could deny that we’re recovering from the Bush recession – and from where I stand the President deserves the credit. And also from where I stand, the folks who deserve the blame for the fact that this same recovery is less vigorous than it could be are the folks who insisted on a series of stupid budget cuts that culminated in the sequester – which all by itself is costing us plenty in terms of growth:
Forecasting firm MacroEconomic Advisers has lowered its second-quarter forecast for GDP growth from 1.8% to 1.3%. That’s very weak growth that will probably hold back hiring and spending, and depress confidence. “The sequester is expected to slow growth this year, and largely accounts for the weak second-quarter growth and lackluster third-quarter growth,” the firm said in a recent report.
Of course I read yesterday that Senator Blunt thinks he has the solution to all our economic problems. While – to his credit – speaking out against a mind-numbingly stupid GOP threat to hold the debt limit hostage to an effort to defund Obamacare, he added:
… Where we ought to be now is – we need more spending cuts. They need to be probably on the mandatory side rather than the discretionary side. I think that’s the formula that obviously allows us to move forward most easily here.
You know what that means. If the President decides, apropos Speaker Jones wishes, to “work with” Republicans, it will mean cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Just what the GOP has wanted all along.