Skip to main content

wrecking ball
If making the economy worse will hurt Obama,
what Republican cares about collateral damage?

Charles Babington asks that question in the first paragraph of his he said/she said piece Saturday on whether Republicans are out to sabotage the economy in hopes of hurting Obama. The question keeps being asked against the clear evidence that this is precisely what's going on and against polling evidence that half the country, including a lot of Republicans, believe the GOP is doing just that.

It started in earnest four days before Barack Obama took the oath of office in January 2009 when the shadow chief of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, said, "I hope he fails." Though not stated again so brazenly, GOP efforts to bring about that failure have been going on ever since then on a whole range of issues. But particularly on the economy the Republicans have sought to ensure that Obama does fail.

It started with the stimulus package, the Keynesian boost meant to slow and then reverse the plunge the economy took in the last year of the Bush administration. And it's happened repeatedly from then on, through several renewals of extended unemployment benefits, through a focus on deficit and austerity practices so incessant that many Democrats and Obama himself felt compelled to announce their own lite versions, through attacks on public sector workforces and their union clout, through weakening proposals for already mild financial sector regulations, through economic hostage taking to maintain reduced taxes (which were creating much of the loss in revenue driving higher deficits) and through pushing the Paul Ryan budget that would make the wreckage of the Great Recession look like happy times by comparison.

And then there was the threatened government shutdown over raising the federal debt ceiling, a raise that had occurred five times without eliciting a smidge of Republican opposition during the Bush administration.

Despite the damage the threat of a shutdown created last time the Republicans did it, including damage to their own reputations, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democrats think that's where the GOP leadership may now be headed again. That view, Babington wrote, was kindled by House Speaker John Boehner's saying last week that the next time raising the debt ceiling comes up, he'll once again be pushing for sharp spending cuts before agreeing on the deal.

That, of course, means chopping things like clean energy initiatives that bolster a growing industry that can provide vast numbers of new jobs in both goods and services as well as cutting programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits that help tide people over in sour economic times. (No cuts in Pentagon spending, however; on the contrary.)

The latest stall is on the Bush tax cuts. Come January, those expire, including the ridiculous cuts on the wealthiest Americans. The Republican argument is that coming to agreement now will give investors and businesses confidence about their future tax load and encourage them to create more jobs. How many times have we heard this siren song only to be dashed upon the shoals of GOP intransigence?

Deciding now on the future of those cuts might well be a good idea, economically speaking. A case can be made for keeping some cuts in place for another year or so for people who aren't in the top economic tiers. Returning tens of millions of Americans to a greater income tax burden while the economic recovery is still exceedingly fragile could easily stall it out.

But those middle-class cuts are not what really concerns Republicans. It's the cuts for the wealthiest they want intact—preparatory to slicing off a few more percentage points. They refuse to seriously discuss letting the cuts expire for the most affluent Americans at a time of obscene income inequality and obscene attention to the deficit that will be made worse by keeping those unnecessary, unfair and unproductive top-level cuts in place. Unwillingness to put those cuts on the table sabotages efforts to break the economy out of its sluggish advance.

In the upsidedown world they and their puppet-pundits inhabit, Republicans bellyache that the blockade to dealing with the tax cuts and other aspects of the economy isn't the GOP's doing but Obama's. So, all the while they are dropping their various clogs into the economic machinery, they pretend publicly that it's the Democrats and the man they think should never have been in the White House who are holding things up. That's sabotage, pure and simple. With no question marks.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon May 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

a gilas girl, Bob Johnson, SME in Seattle, Sylv, Alfred E Newman, Trix, filkertom, itsbenj, jam, grollen, Trendar, Liberal Thinking, Joan McCarter, Gooserock, mimi, Bob Love, Shockwave, billlaurelMD, cotterperson, meg, OLinda, rubyr, devtob, SallyCat, expatjourno, hubcap, Creosote, bronte17, Zinman, TracieLynn, cskendrick, nyceve, susakinovember, whenwego, djMikulec, jaysunb, ivote2004, Ignacio Magaloni, sngmama, bwren, mollyd, librarianman, Iberian, navajo, antirove, CocoaLove, dksbook, Quege, Texknight, psnyder, nancelot, TexDem, MKS, westyny, JCPOK, wdrath, NYFM, defluxion10, lcrp, zerelda, glattonfolly, side pocket, MrFrost, tomjones, TexasLefty, lyvwyr101, solesse413, eztempo, Sybil Liberty, sawgrass727, Brecht, ExStr8, bloomer 101, Bluesee, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, revbludge, subtropolis, democracy inaction, irate, basquebob, Tod, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, eru, owlbear1, Beetwasher, majcmb1, Kayakbiker, sofia, skyounkin, sunbro, SBandini, coolbreeze, LivesInAShoe, bunsk, JanF, Alan Arizona, bently, noweasels, Reality Bites Back, third Party please, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, cybersaur, jkusters, dharmafarmer, Russgirl, HoundDog, kestrel9000, KenBee, dougymi, The Wizard, sailmaker, blueoasis, AnnCetera, NBBooks, wild hair, Libby Shaw, SadieSue, Terminus, JVolvo, bleeding heart, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, kurious, markthshark, tegrat, Tamar, One Pissed Off Liberal, john07801, bluicebank, BeninSC, Cronesense, Haningchadus14, camlbacker, ColoTim, Stwriley, Brix, DvCM, norbalish, terabytes, dclawyer06, joedemocrat, US Blues, Aunt Martha, Rosalie907, mudslide, bobswern, jnhobbs, OIL GUY, Rumarhazzit, uciguy30, GeorgeXVIII, skod, Aynsley, trueblueliberal, TomP, JDWolverton, MKinTN, rogerdaddy, gundyj, JeffW, ChocolateChris, kimoconnor, weegeeone, Sixty Something, Thomas Twinnings, skohayes, Sharon Wraight, Akonitum, VL Baker, smartdemmg, Missys Brother, envwq, Gemina13, glendaw271, petulans, luckylizard, venger, psilocynic, palantir, toom, DavidW, watercarrier4diogenes, lissablack, JBL55, maggiejean, Sun dog, Bule Betawi, ARS, litoralis, greengemini, divineorder, lostinamerica, LinSea, Dopeman, Mislead, A Southerner in Yankeeland, pvlb, Partisan Progressive, Zotz, earicicle, CamillesDad1, UnaSpenser, Shelley99, sfarkash, Tortmaster, GWinkler, Livvy5, Larsstephens, Lefty Ladig, Amber6541, FogCityJohn, estreya, gramofsam1, Susan Grigsby, jethrock, stunzeed, JoanMar, gulfgal98, SoCalHobbit, 4kedtongue, ericlewis0, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, Actbriniel, Pakalolo, Onomastic, annieli, kerflooey, Bluefin, slowbutsure, judiadg, sostos, IllanoyGal, thomask, BarackStarObama, peregrine kate, organicus, MinistryOfTruth, jolux, zenox, Mentatmark, vexed weasel, BoulderStevo, Auriandra, DEMonrat ankle biter, boredwitnuts, quill, ridemybike, HamptonRoadsProgressive, angry marmot, Siri, efraker, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, David54, AnnieR, a2nite, Deep Texan, rukidingme, Farkletoo, Trotskyrepublican, FreeSpeaker, Horace Boothroyd III, Lorinda Pike, DollyMadison, belinda ridgewood, beefydaddy18, MartyM, pittie70, lunachickie, wxorknot, tytalus, arizonablue, Glen The Plumber, wasatch, Marjmar, databob, Melanie in IA, Hammerhand, Candide08, Dumas EagerSeton, corpsechorus, Captain Chaos, Blue Dream, Prospect Park, blueoldlady, Lily O Lady, desert rain, argomd, BroadBlogs, Panama Pete, Markoff Chaney, weck, parsonsbeach, paccoli, LaraJones, Icicle68, Mannie, OjaiValleyCali, Avilyn

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site