When a nation receives good or at least encouraging news, particular good economic news, it is normal to expect politicians to rejoice, unless they are Republican politicians. One can hardly blame Republicans for not celebrating anything good about America since they have spent the past five-and-a-half years doing everything in their power to impose devastation on the country, especially the economy. Despite their Herculean efforts to bankrupt America though, another report this week revealed the economy is on the mend despite the GOP plot to obstruct the new President’s attempt to turn around the economic disaster eight years of Republicans’ drunken spending spree on the nation’s credit card.
Americans will not hear many Republicans campaigning on what they were calling a nation-ending budget deficit just a couple of years ago, because for the fifth consecutive year the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP as a result of the President’s economic policies. It is noteworthy that the deficit is now at its lowest point under President Obama’s Administration, and that it has been falling well before Republicans swept into control of the House in 2010.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the deficit “plunged to $486 billion in fiscal year 2014;” that is $195 billion less than the record shortfall recorded during fiscal year 2013 and is the smallest recorded deficit since 2008. In fact, at just 2.8% of GDP, the deficit under President Obama is well below the average of the past 40 years; that is back to 1974 and destroys the Republicans’ absurd contention that they are fiscal conservatives. It is also noteworthy that one of the factors contributing to the deficit falling is that revenue has increased due to a tiny change in the tax rates for the richest one-percent who still take advantage of Bush-era tax cuts on their income.
What should be a great campaign message for Democrats leading up to the midterms is that the deficit has continued to fall sharply over the past few years while teabagger-Republicans were trying desperately to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. In fact, the deficit was, and had been, falling before the Republicans’ precious sequester including last year when House Republicans decided to shut down the government before they considered paying the debts they racked up during eight years of Bush-Republicans’ economic disaster. It is likely why, nationally at least, there is a dearth of hand-wringing and fear-mongering about “this Obama spending spree driving runaway debts and deficits,” and why Republicans are focusing their fear-mongering on other threats they created by enabling the rise of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and prevented a quick end to West Africa’s Ebola virus with their sequestration cuts.
Fright over debts and deficits has not completely ended on the campaign trail for Republicans in congressional districts with predominately stupid Republican voters, but it is not the defining theme it was during the 2010 and 2012 elections. There are some teabaggers who, lacking cogent anything, are stuck in 2010 and claim the budget deficit is still rising at alarming proportions, but it is more to defend their votes to shut down the government and, believe it or not, “cause a credit default to prevent America from ever borrowing again.” It is a mindset that appeals to many Republican voters who want nothing more than to see government bankrupted and “drowned in a bathtub” because Republicans convince them their economic woes are due to the federal government.
The CBOs report noted that one of the reasons the deficit is falling is due to increased revenue as a result a slight increase in tax rates for the richest one percent. It puts a dagger into the heart of the Republican argument that only austerity and brutal spending cuts will rein in the debt and that any tax hike automatically decimates economic growth and kills jobs. Although the debt has been falling for the past few years, the greatest decline has been since revenue increased after the 2012 budget fight ended.
Speaking of jobs, it is true that some Republicans still claim that without deeper tax cuts for their wealthy and corporate masters jobs will continue to vanish, but their lies do not, and cannot, change the reality that there has been steady job growth under President Obama. In fact, just last week economic experts reported that weekly “tallies of how many Americans are applying for new unemployment benefits have reached the end of its usefulness to investors and consumers.” Why? Because hiring has been steadily improving, layoffs are declining rapidly, and jobless claims are at their lowest point in 14 years. A mark economic experts say cannot possibly go any lower, and they noted it is the 12th lowest since 1980 and lower than 85% of the records over the past 35 years. All with a small tax hike on the very richest Americans and without a rash of regulatory cuts Republicans claim is necessary for job creation and economic growth; something they are secretly telling their Koch and corporate donors will happen if they control both houses of Congress.
President Obama has provided Democrats with plenty of good economic news to campaign on successfully, and although wages are still declining for most Americans, that too is something Republicans own and are not talking about. In fact, with the stock market at record highs, unemployment falling, corporate profits through the roof, and America as the world’s leading oil exporter, the only Americans suffering are 98% of the population due to Republicans’ job-killing, pension-robbing, and penchant for slave wages.
Democrats also have several precious gifts from Republican-led states that are suffering credit downgrades, poor job creation, severe revenue shortfalls, and citizens earning slave wages and lacking basic necessities that Republicans pledge to enact in Washington if the control Congress. It is really unclear what else the President can possibly do on his own to make the good news for the economy a winning issue for Democrats, and if they are waiting for Republicans to bring up the good news on the economic front they will be waiting forever.
If nothing else, Republicans are so besotted with pleasing their racist, religious, secession-minded, and monumentally ignorant supporters, it is certain they will not talk about, or take even a smidgen of credit for, the economic good news because…Obama. Democrats cannot possibly be as ridiculously stupid as Republicans or their supporters and they have absolutely no excuse for not riding the economy to victory in November by both touting the President’s success and reminding sane Americans who is fighting to help all of them share in the economic good news. Because except for the racist, most religious, self-hating, and frankly stupidest Americans, most voters know who is fighting for and against them.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.