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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Obama Jobs Plan Would Be Effective, So Of Course It Must Be Killed

Looks like President Obama's jobs plan is getting the thumbs-up from economists.


Obama announcing jobs planPresident Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan would help avoid a return to recession by maintaining growth and pushing down the unemployment rate next year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The legislation, submitted to Congress this month, would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012, economists said.

Economists in the survey are less optimistic than Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who has cited estimates for a 1.5 percent boost to gross domestic product. Even so, the program may bolster Obama’s re-election prospects by lowering a jobless rate that has stayed near 9 percent or more since April 2009.

If you want to understand Republican economic policies, that last sentence should tell you all you need to know. President Barack Obama must not be reelected. And if that means that America takes a hit, then so be it.


The problem with conservative economic policies is that they suffer from being complete BS. Even conservative economists recognize this fact and blatantly rewrite history and leave out data to get their arguments to work on paper. For Republicans, it's not what's best for America that's important, it's what's best for the party. On issues ranging from global warming to public health to economics, they embrace disaster. In some cases, they must knowingly embrace disaster, since the odds rule out universal idiocy among Republicans. Some in the GOP know they're heading straight for a cliff on this issue or that, but don't care.

For example, what do these surveyed economists think of GOP ideas? The answer is "not much."

A reduction in government spending, the end of the payroll-tax holiday and an expiration of extended unemployment benefits would cut GDP by 1.7 percent in 2012, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli in New York. Instead, the Obama proposal makes up for that potential loss and may add a net 0.1 percent to the economy, he estimates.

All of this makes complete sense, by the way. Government doesn't just spend money; it's not shoveling dollars into a furnace where they disappear forever. Government buys things from people and it puts money into the pockets of the unemployed. Those people buy things and spend money. This is called demand. Cut spending, cut demand and -- as inevitably as sunrise -- the economy slows.

And what is Republican reasoning on deficits anyway? The argument is that deficits are a drag on the economy, but no one can quite manage to explain why. Do they really believe people get up in the morning and decide not to spend money because they're worried about deficits? "Yeah Gladys, it sure would be nice to get a new refrigerator and we can definitely afford to, but with this all this out-of-control spending in Washington..." On what planet would that conversation ever take place?

But what gets me the most -- and most clearly demonstrates Republicans' economic mendacity -- is how often their talking points switch gears. They beat people over the head with "We've gotta slash the deficit! We've gotta slash the deficit!" while everyone sane is asking how to help the economy. "Never mind the economy," they say. "We've got to slash the deficit or we'll end up like Greece."

"OK," the president says, "then let's raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to decrease the deficit."

"How's that going to help the economy?" they answer. It's infuriating and about as serious as an Abbot and Costello routine.

Republicans will probably ignore this survey of economists. I doubt they'll spend much time rebutting it. It doesn't matter what works for America. What matters is what works for the GOP.

So far, denying reality has been working for them.


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