Most Americans realize conservatism is a philosophy that promotes retaining traditional economic institutions and is resistant to change, and if there is one thing Republicans will never change is saying Democratic presidents’ economic policies will fail. For the past five years the GOP worked tirelessly to obstruct economic recovery to prove the democratic President was toxic for the nation’s economy to deny him a second term, and it certainly drove their inaction and obstruction as well as their low approval numbers. The past couple of months have not been good for Republicans, and besides being crowned the least productive Congress in American history due to their inaction and record-setting obstruction, they are likely aware of economic reports that President Obama has been anything but a failure.
First, it should not surprise anyone Republicans are responsible for the least productive Congress because they publicly promised that was their intent because a Democrat is in the White House. They, along with their teabag compatriots, ran on anti-government platforms in the 2010 and 2012 elections, and prior to their 5-week hiatus in August announced they would whip their constituency into frenzy with the promise of “fighting against Washington for all Americans.” Their campaign bore fruit in October when they shut down the government adding $24 billion to the deficit they claim is why they stopped legislating, and killed a few hundred-thousand jobs and cut a quarter-of-a-percent off fourth quarter GDP in the process. Their major accomplishment in 2013 was keeping their precious sequester in place to kill off a million more jobs within a year and shave another point off GDP.
Despite Republicans’ best efforts to sabotage the economy, there were three or four suspiciously unreported pieces of good economic news over the past three days the conservative media likely squelched to conceal the fact that this Democratic President, like all others, is presiding over an economy on the upswing. However, there was good news on the economy today that Republicans cannot deny, and it belies their assertions that President Obama has been bad for the economy. It is too bad Republicans cannot put aside their racial prejudice and antipathy towards this President, because if they were willing to work for all Americans, the economy would be thriving for everyone and not just the rich.
It was announced today that the U.S. economy grew at a 3.6% annual rate for the third quarter and it is the fastest growth since early 2012. There was also a good news that jobless claims fell in a sign companies are laying off fewer workers. The third quarter reports are the result of other news the media failed to mention, and crush Republican assertions a Democrat in the White House is an economic disaster.
One reason for the economic growth was reported by the The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), and according to its index, national factory activity rose to 57.3 in November, up from 56.4 the previous month and its best showing since April 2011. The index increase means that the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in 2½ years last month, and along with expanded manufacturing came an accelerated hiring pace in the manufacturing sector. Unsurprisingly, main stream media did not report the manufacturing increase.
In another bit of good economic news that went unreported, U.S. small business employment increased in November, and besides more hiring, compensation and the number of hours worked by hourly employees increased as well. According to the Small Business Employment and Revenue Indexes’ author, the increased hiring figures also indicate that the “Hours worked and average compensation for hourly employees increase means that the growth is solid, and not a temporary boost due to small businesses gearing up for the holidays.”
With more people working, consumer confidence is up and according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark and e-commerce research company, Custora Pulse, Cyber Monday online sales were up by a staggering 20% leading online sales experts to note that “this year, Cyber Monday is well on its way to being the biggest online shopping day in history.” For example, Amazon reported that before the sales period was even over (as of 6 p.m. EST), sales were up 44.3% over last year, and Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson said many of the most popular items “weren’t even discounted” and that “there’s no way that it won’t finish as our biggest Cyber Monday ever.”
Now, add in record earnings on Wall Street and corporate profits soaring, as well as record oil production and industry profits due to sales on the foreign export market keeping fuel prices high in America, and it is impossible for Republicans to claim this Democratic President is not good for the economy. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the Affordable Care Act is going to cost “hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars” less than expected due to lower healthcare spending while the private insurance industry is expecting profits exceeding $220 billion due to more Americans buying healthcare insurance. So if the business sector is thriving; why are so many Americans struggling and why are they complaining President Obama is not focusing on the economy driving his approval numbers down? Are Americans so stupid that they think the President passes legislation to create jobs, end tax breaks for the rich to invest in infrastructure, and raise the minimum wage on his own? Obviously that is the case, so he addressed where the problem lies and why the economic growth is going to the top income earners in an excellent speech on the economy yesterday.
The President warned Americans that the economy had become “profoundly unequal” and that economic mobility was “the challenge of our time.” During his speech he talked about raising the minimum wage, investing in infrastructure, and ending tax breaks for the wealthy; three things he stressed nearly a year ago in his Inaugural Address and State of the Union speech. The President warned again that “the combined trends of increasing inequality and decreasing mobility posed a fundamental threat to the American way of life.” The President also channeled FDR and said “that those who work hard should make a decent living; it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office.”
The President then pointed the finger of blame at Congress arguing its inaction on several issues exacerbated the problem of inequality telling them “you owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against.” He also railed on Republicans for focusing simply on deficits and called on them to invest in technology and infrastructure. He said, “A growing deficit of opportunity is more of a threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit” to punctuate precisely what the problem is; Republican inaction and job-killing debt-madness.
Republicans will not change and they will continue complaining that taxes kill economic growth, but there has been profound economic growth for the rich in spite of the meager tax increase levied on them last January. This President has succeeded in growing the economy, and he is again addressing the inequality that has driven all the growth directly to the richest Americans. Republicans have not been productive for two reasons; first, they will protect their rich masters at all costs, and second, to portray the Democratic President as a failure to the people. Republicans know the economy is growing, and they know the all growth is going to the top. However, being conservatives, they will not change because if this President’s economic policies are successful for all Americans, their libertarian conservatism will fail and that simple fact informs their lack of productivity.