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GOP’s Austerity Chickens Come Home to Roost

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"GOP’s Austerity Chickens Come Home to Roost"

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Is This What Sabotage Looks Like?


Today’s dismal jobs report — just 69,000 net jobs created last month and the unemployment rate ticking up slightly to 8.2 percent — shows that the GOP’s success at manufacturing crises, blocking new job creation measures, and forcing deep spending  cuts is taking a severe toll on our economy and the lives of millions of unemployed Americans.

Why would Republicans want a weaker economy? Republicans have made clear that defeating the president, which would be made much easier by a weak economy, is their number one priority. For example, here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Here’s the rundown on how the GOP has helped sabotage the economic recovery.

State and Local Government Budget Cuts Led to Massive Layoffs

By refusing to extend sufficient aid to state and local governments, Republicans all but ensured that there would be massive layoffs at the state and local level.  And indeed there have been, with over 600,000 public sectors working losing their jobs since the president came into office, including another 13,000 just this month.

As the above chart shows, all of the private sector jobs lost since President Obama came into office have now been replaced. The president has now created 4.3 million private sector jobs — and at a much faster pace than did President Bush.  Under President Bush, however, the public sector expanded at a robust rate, while under President Obama it has contracted considerably.

As President Obama said this afternoon in Minnesota, “layoffs at the state and local level have been a chronic problem in our recovery.”

For his part, Mitt Romney has repeatedly said in recent weeks that not enough government workers lost their jobs during the recession.

Manufactured Crises and Austerity Spending Cuts

Last year, Republicans threw the economy into disarray with their manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling. In return for not crashing the entire economy, Republicans insisted on and won deep spending cuts — cuts which will only further reduce demand in an already weak economy.  In addition to leading to a first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, the manufactured crisis also shook consumer confidence and led to weaker job growth.

As the Republicans are signaling their intent to demand yet more draconian spending cuts and manufacture yet another debt ceiling crisis at the end of the year, two leading economists put out a piece this week proclaiming that “debt ceiling deja vu could sink the economy.”

Jobs Bills Blocked

Last year, the president proposed the American Jobs Act, a bill that would’ve staunched the flow of layoffs of teachers, firefighters, cops, and others, while putting hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools, airports, and other critical pieces of infrastructure. Independent economists found that it would’ve created 1.3 million jobs by the end of next year.

Senate Republicans, however, objected and voted the bill down on multiple occasions simply because it was paid for with a small surtax on millionaires.  House Republicans refused to even take it up. This just underscores that Republicans will do nearly anything, apparently including harming the economy, if that’s what it takes to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying another dime in taxes.

Republicans have also blocked or delayed several other bills vital to the economy, including an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, the surface transportation bill, and the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank.

IN ONE SENTENCE: It’s time for Republicans to stop sabotaging the recovery and start working with the president to put Americans back to work.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

If government jobs were growing at the Reagan-era rate, unemployment would be a full point lower.

Today’s jobs report points again to the need for economic stimulus.

A chronicle of Mitt Romney’s many lies and half-truths.

National Review editor Jonah Goldberg has a brilliant idea: “Beat” the progressivism out of young people.

CNN rescinds job offer to Fox News producer behind Fox and Friends’ anti-Obama ad.

The price of a do-nothing Congress. (Hint: It’s very high.)

Will the GOP stick with austerity despite faling job growth and government borrowing rates at all-time lows? Probably.

A scholar at a prominent conservative D.C. think tank condemned Norwegian murderer Anders Breivik’s anti-Muslim terror attacks…then wrapped one of his justifications into the thesis of her speech.

The Green Lantern is gay.