Learning is not fundamentalist.
What did the GOP learn from eight disastrous years of George W. Bush and the worst financial crisis in a half-century? Nothing good.
If we’d followed their advice to shrink government spending dramatically, the US line in the chart below would be flat—much like Europe’s and the UK’s. It might even be nosediving as Italy’s is.
But this chart proves the obvious: The President was right. As Joe Weisenthal from the Business Insider said, “This Chart Vindicates The Obama Economic Recovery“. (It was created by Reuters’ Scotty Barber.)
The government’s role in a crisis is to step in and spend when others cannot. The result of the actions the President and Congress took in 2009 is that our recovery that has outperformed the world’s industrial democracies. And the one reason it hasn’t done better is that the GOP has managed to limit the federal government while shredding jobs on the state and local level.
The one thing George W. did wrong, the GOP will tell you, is that he didn’t cut government spending. Like conservatives across Europe, they say a jobs crisis is the perfect time to gut government programs and let people fend for themselves.
Of course, you have to wonder if they really believe in Austerity or if this is just their attempt to sabotage the recovery that this President has put together despite their opposition.
You know if the GOP had been in the White House they never would never have embraced the fallacy of austerity. They would have kept kept spending levels high (or increased them) and cut taxes even more for the rich and corporations, creating even more of a need for drastic cuts to the social safety net in the future.
The “Reagan Recovery” was actually a victory of Keynesian economics. Government grew and unemployment declined. A simple formula. Also notice that the only time spending is ever cut is when we have a Democratic president. This, of course, is the only time deficits matter.
Luckily, this President passed a significant, yet too small, stimulus immediately. Luckily this President intervened to restore the American auto industry. Luckily this President resisted cuts to spending that would have had zero impact on the long-term deficit.
At the end of the Bush Administration, there was a discussion on reddit asking what if anything George W. Bush had done right. The one success redditors could agree on was increasing our funding to fight AIDS in Africa.
On national defense, on the economy, on controlling the growth of government and lecherous government contractors, on torture, on Pakistan, on Karzai, Katrina and Iraq, on everything else, he was verifiably and embarrassingly wrong. And the only reason he could hide that for a while was his massive bursts of tax breaks and Keynesian spending.
And this GOP now led by Mitt Romney is worse. They want to double down on tax breaks for the rich, start a new war in the Middle East while turning the safety net into an tin can half filled with sewer water for poor families displaced by conservative policies to dive into.
Of course, if this GOP gets into the White House, they’ll grow government spending through the military and private contractors and expand the deficit even more to reveal the core of their rotten philosophy—they should rule, no matter what.
And, of course, they are wrong about that, too.
[CC image by Cliff1066 | Flickr]