Three Years After Bush, the GOP is Still Wrong About Everything

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.

Take a look at government spending over the last few years.

Look at how it compares to the Bush years.

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.

Just look at how they spent in the Reagan years.

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]
  • Robert Roddis

    As an Austrian School scholar for almost 40 years, it’s astonishing that anyone still believes in the Keynesian Hoax.  You have apparently forgotten that Greenspan is a Keynesian and Bernanke is a Keynesian.  Bernanke was reappointed by Obama.  It was Keynesian policy of expansionary funny money that blew up the unsustainable housing bubble in the first place and which inevitably deflated.
     
    Look at the full long-term chart of “Real Government Consumption Expenditures & Gross Investment, 3 Decimal”:
     
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GCEC96/
     
    Government spending was and remains out of control.  A lack of government spending did not cause the economic collapse and a few measly cuts in the US overseas empire of rape and pillage is not the reason the economy stays flat lined.  The fact that the Republicans preach cuts but never enact them is not an argument against big spending cuts.  Prosperity does not depend upon or required government spending.
     
    Contrary to Keynesian mythology, “austerity” has not failed because it has not been tried.
     
    British Policy Has Been Keynesian, Not Anti-Keynesian. The spin by Paul Krugman and other Keynesians on the British double dip recession is, not surprisingly, that we should blame it on the most recent modest spending restraints from the British government. But that ignores the facts laid out by the Guardian’s economics editor:
     
    ” Since the recession began, the Treasury has borrowed £500bn, the pound has depreciated by 20%, interest rates have been pegged at 0.5% for more than three years, and the Bank of England has plonked £325bn of newly created money into the banking system. The result has been the weakest recovery of the past 100 years”
     
    Given that British GDP is only about £1,500 billion per year, these numbers make Britain  one of the most radical countries in terms of both government borrowing (aka “stimulus”) and central bank “quantitative easing”.
     
    http://stefanmikarlsson.blogspot.com/2012/04/british-policy-has-been-keynesian-not.html
      

    • http://www.facebook.com/Mathmn Jim Ginch

      You’ve not been reading. What has happened since Europe embraced your non Keynesian austerity??????? Every time we’ve seen economic slumps, a heavy dose of Keynesian spending has brought us out. Roosevelt chickened out against the Republican opposition or the Depression would have ended sooner. Obama should have infused 2 trillion, The jobs that would have been created would have generated billions in revenue, helping to reduce the deficit. However the extremist tea baggers short circuited Obama’s efforts to satisy their primary goal: to take power back for power’s sake. They are an abomination and should be sent home at the next election.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marylynne1 Mary Foster

    Really?  You”
     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.”?  I’d say the answer is pretty clear! ;)

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  • CB_Demented

    They believe in power. Just like the democrats in office. Almost all of them believe in little else, no matter what they pay lip service to.

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