The only thing we have to fear is Republican fear itself.
Two straight years of the rich paying slightly more in taxes along with ten million Americans gaining health insurance has resulted in escalating economic gains AKA the exact opposite of what Republicans predicted, as usual. But there’s a unspoken element fueling the suddenly strong labor market that we should not forget.
After the government shutdown last year, Congress agreed to a two-year budget.
It wasn’t a good budget. Republicans insisted on austerity measures that punish the poor and long-term unemployed, even as the deficit has shrunk to less than half of what the president inherited. But it was a budget, some promise of stability that hadn’t existed for years.
Look at this chart:
It’s the University of Michigan’s tracking of Consumer Sentiment, arguably the best indicator of demand, which is what we need to improve our economy.
The biggest dips — summer of 2011, winter of 2012 and fall of 2013 — all coincide directly with Republicans in Congress manufacturing a budget crisis in order to increase the kind of austerity that has Europe mired in a Greater Depression — because Bush and Cheney leaving us with the worst economy in half a century wasn’t bad enough.
Gallup shows we finally recovered the Economic Confidence lost from last year’s shutdown on Monday — October 13.
The GOP rebranded itself from a party that accidentally blows up the world economy to one that purposely prevents any recovery.
Now they want to do it again at the end of this year, Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur reports.
Because the budget deficit has shrunk so rapidly — due to dumb cuts, ending tax breaks on the rich and economic growth — Republicans are fixated on an obscure part of the Affordable Care Act designed to encourage insurance companies to offer consumers reasonable prices.
Republicans have decided to call these temporary risk corridors in the law a “bailout” to insurers — even though a similar mechanism exists in the GOP-crafted Medicare Part D. The big difference between the ACA and Part D is Part D’s risk corridors are permanent.
And if Republicans take the Senate, Mitch McConnell has promised the Koch brothers and their network that he’ll use ever mechanism available to undo the president’s policies. This means standoff after standoff that will result in nothing but economic instability and another $24 billion dollar platform for Ted Cruz to launch his presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, there will be nothing done to restore GOP cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization — our best hopes in avoiding outbreaks of deadly diseases like Ebola. Our infrastructure will keep crumbling and instead of doing anything about Climate Change, McConnell would do everything in his power to block the modest regulations the president is putting in place to limit emissions. And — mostly likely — they’ll be demanding another American ground war in the Middle East, which is exactly what ISIS seems to want.
Any hope of a real recovery will fade faster than Terri Lynn Land’s campaign for Senate.
Republicans constantly run on fear — usually fear of foreign-sounding names like bin Laden, Hussein, Ebola and ISIS — but the only thing we have to fear is Republican fear itself.
[Image via Jbouie | Flickr]