I see what you’re doing here. We all do.
I think all of us are, like Amy described in her righteous rant yesterday, sick and tired of being held hostage by extremist right wing ideologues who behave like petulant children when they don’t get absolutely everything they want. What’s most infuriating about it is that these very same ideologues have actually achieved much of what they say they want out of the government they so despise and want floating strangled and dead in a tub of water.
Let’s just take a quick look at three major accomplishments by Barack Obama since he took office, all of which was done against a stiff head wind of purely partisan pushback, accomplishments that even the most rabid Tea Partarian should cheer about.
If there is one thing President Obama has done, it’s lower taxes, particularly on middle class Americans and small businesses. He lowered taxes for 98% of Americans through the Stimulus and signed the “Making Work Pay Credit” into effect. There were other credits, as well, along with 18 different tax cuts for businesses. Unfortunately, the Republicans did away with many of these tax credits to save the tax breaks for their wealthy benefactors. Here’s a stroll through recent history:
The 2009 stimulus bill included a tax cut called the Making Work Pay tax credit. Bruce Bartlett writes about what happened last year, when it was set to expire:
At the end of 2010, all of the tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush administration were scheduled to expire, as well as the Making Work Pay credit. Although President Obama wanted the tax cuts for the rich to expire on schedule, Republicans insisted on an all-or-nothing strategy. Republicans also asked that the Making Work Pay credit be replaced by a temporary two-percentage-point cut in the employees’ share of the payroll tax.
…In short, the payroll tax cut was a Republican initiative. So why did they turn against it? The answer is unclear.
Unclear? Let’s roll the tape:
- 2009: Obama favored the Making Work Pay tax credit. Republicans were opposed.
- 2010: Obama wanted to keep the MWP and initially opposed the payroll tax cut. Republicans supported it.
- 2011: Obama is in favor of extending the payroll tax cut. Republicans are now opposed.
Do you see the trend? Sure you do.
Despite this “oppose Obama on EVERYTHING, even the stuff we like” Republican approach, Americans are still enjoying the lowest level of taxation in nearly six decades.
To hear Republicans talk about it, the entire GOP Shutdown debacle is all about deficit reduction. Well, if it’s deficit reduction you want, you oughta LOVE Barack Obama’s record on that. According to the Congressional Budget Office, he has literally reduced the deficit as a percentage of GDP IN HALF since he took office:
If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to
$642 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year—at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP.
Less. Than. Half. Let’s all say that together: “Obama has cut the budget deficit in half.”
Not only that, the deficit is falling at its fastest rate in SIXTY YEARS!!!
Size of government
One of the relatively unknown facts about Barack Obama is how much he has shrunk the size of the federal government. Under George W. Bush, the number of federal employees increased an astronomical 1,748,000 jobs. Under Barack Obama in just his first term, there’s been a reduction of 718,000. Check out this graph from the most-excellent Calculated Risk blog:
Tells quite the tale about the growth of government under Barack Obama, doesn’t it?
These three things — lower taxes, reduced spending, and shrinking the government — are the top priorities for the Republicans, including the the Tea Partarians. And, when you look at the facts, any fair assessment shows that they are getting exactly what they want. And, as I’ve pointed out in the past, the so-called “Clean Continuing Resolution” or “Clean CR” that the Senate passed and sent back to the House to die, strangled in a bath tub, locks in place the draconian spending cuts of the sequester which has the effect of putting the Paul Ryan Austerity Budget in place, despite the fact that he and his running mate lost the election last year. In other words, if it weren’t for all of the Republican drama, Democrats might well be picking up the torches and pitchforks to stop this hideous budget that is killing our economy and preventing further growth.
So, when Republicans like John Boehner trot out to the microphones and cameras to complain that “this is not some damn game” and to complain that Democrats want “unconditional surrender” and to “annihilate” the Republicans, it’s worth remembering that it’s all a hyperbolic smokescreen to hide the fact that they are getting most of what they want already and that all they are out to do, as John Boehner hypocritically said yesterday, is “put some points on the board”.
In other words, it’s complete bullshit.
[Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]