How GOP austerity helped create Trump
The conservative media can’t stop complaining that we’re in the midst of the worst recovery since World War II — despite the fact that it’s likely that more private sector jobs will be created in President Obama’s second term than have ever been created in four years under any Republican.
But conservatives aren’t complaining, they’re bragging.
A little-noticed report from the Economic Policy Institute earlier this month should have been national news, but was drowned out the sturm und drang of the campaigns and low-grade trauma generated by Donald Trump’s constant toxic mix of abuse and gaslighting.
Here’s the conclusion EPI came up with as it examined the role government investment has played in the last four recoveries:
The recovery since 2009 has been historically slow, and the disappointing pace can be explained entirely by the fiscal austerity imposed by Republicans in Congress.
Here’s what that looks like in graph form — and you’ll notice that the Reagan recovery that Republicans rest the entire credibility of their party upon was largely driven by government investment.
“Had government spending during Obama’s tenure behaved the same way it did during Reagan’s, government spending would currently be roughly one trillion dollars higher than it is,” The Week‘s Jeff Spross explained.
And there’s a direct connection to Trump in this story.
You probably heard about the recent Gallup study that found that Trump’s supporters aren’t any poorer than average Americans, but they tend to not be college graduates. In other words, their kids are exactly the people who have been brutalized by Republican austerity.
The way the recovery has worked is the more education you have, the better you’ve done. And those raised without degrees are far less likely to be encouraged to go to college.
Since the Stimulus ended, the kind of good jobs that come from construction or public investment and are readily available to Americans who don’t have college degrees have dried up — purposely.
Republicans have shifted hard to austerity following the worst financial crisis in 70 years to deny President Obama the sort of economic boost most presidents take for granted. They’ve done it to increase economic anxiety, which they know will increase resentment of all sorts, including the racial resentment that has driven much of the resistance to Obama.
This is the perfect formula for creating a monster willing to exploit the racial resentments that have long been stirred up by conservatism.
This is how the GOP Congress helped bring us Trump.