Monday marked the fifth anniversary of President Obama’s stimulus package that helped pull the nation out of the worst recession seen since the Great Depression. While the facts are clearly on the side of the President here, in that the stimulus bill did help turn the tide on unemployment and helped to grow the economy, Republicans used today to try to make it out that it was an overwhelming failure. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took this opportunity to release a video where he stated that the stimulus ‘failed.’
Rubio had this to say in his address:
“If you recall five years ago, the notion was that if the government spent all this money – that, by the way, was borrowed- that somehow the economy would begin to grow and create jobs. Well, of course, it clearly failed. Five years later, underemployment is still too high, the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn’t growing fast enough – proof that massive government spending, particularly debt spending, is not the solution to our economic growth problems.”
Rubio then went to the GOP’s well-worn, tired standbys when offering ‘solutions’: more freedom for business, less regulations, more reliance on the free-market for solutions and just plain old personal freedom. Essentially, no real plan. Just some vague platitudes that really just amount to Republicans wanting lower taxes for corporations and rich people and sticking with the tired mantra of trickle-down economics.
Love it or hate it, there is no denying that since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the economy has improved. The unemployment rate, after peaking at 10% in late 2009, is now down to 6.6%. We have seen consistent economic growth since the passage. There is a lot to disagree with in regards to the stimulus, as it benefited business far more than individuals, but the fact remains that the country is better off having had the stimulus money injected into the economy.
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman decided to counter with facts in a blog post released on Monday. While breaking down all of the facts and pointing out that the economy is better off due to the stimulus, he made sure to credit the President for putting a policy in place that would address the extreme need at that time.
Five years later, the U.S. economy is undoubtedly in a stronger position, thanks to the grit and determination of our nation’s workers and businesses. The economy has now grown for 11 straight quarters, and businesses have added 8.5 million jobs since early 2010. While far more work remains to ensure that the economy provides opportunity for every American, there can be no question that President Obama’s actions to date have laid the groundwork for stronger, more sustainable economic growth in the years ahead.
Here’s what I’d like to ask Republicans. What would you have had the President do at that time? Beg large corporations to hire more people? The large financial organizations were the ones that wrecked the economy in the first place and needed government bailouts prior to Obama getting into office. The auto industry was on the verge of collapse. The country was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. It was obvious that the government had to intervene or we could have been looking at a large scale depression that might have made the Great Depression look puny in comparison.
The fact is, the Tea Party came along and won in the 2010 mid-terms because they took advantage of peoples’ fears of too much government intervention and large corporations getting bailouts at the cost of the average American. Of course, it turned out that the Tea Party is fronted and supported by none other than rich corporatists who have no problem holding their hands out for federal money. That irony has of course been lost on many voters over the past few years.
Yet, after having gotten elected in the great Tea Party Takeover of 2010, Rubio is still blathering nothing but nonsense. He, along with the rest of the Tea Party, offers nothing of substance. The only thing they know how to do is complain about the President. They know they hate Obamacare. They know they hated the stimulus. They know they hated the auto bailout. They know they hate how big the federal government is. They know they hate federal spending. But that is all they know. They just know what they hate. They can’t figure out anything else.