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Thursday, February 28, 2013

So Much for 'Economic Uncertainty'

I was thinking along the same lines:
So much for 'economic uncertainty', by Steve Benen: In 2009 and 2010, the single most common Republican talking point on economic policy included the word "uncertainty." I did a search of House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) site for the phrase "economic uncertainty" and found over 500 results, which shows, at a minimum, real message discipline.
The argument was never especially compelling from a substantive perspective. For Boehner and his party, President Obama was causing excessive "uncertainty" -- through regulations, through the threat of tax increases, etc. -- that held the recovery back. Investors were reluctant to invest, businesses were reluctant to hire, traders were reluctant to trade, all because the White House was creating conditions that made it hard for the private sector to plan ahead.
It was a dumb talking point borne of necessity -- Republicans struggled to think of a way to blame Obama for a crisis that began long before the president took office -- but the GOP stuck to it.
That is, Republican used to stick to it. Mysteriously, early in 2011, the "economic uncertainty" pitch slowly faded away without explanation. I have a hunch we know why: Republicans decided to govern through a series of self-imposed crises that have created more deliberate economic uncertainty than any conditions seen in the United States in recent memory. ...

It's hard to count all of the really bad predictions Republicans have made about interest rates, inflation, uncertainty, and so on in their attempt to use the recession to make ideological and political gains. But people still seem to listen.

It's not the uncertainty about what might happen as much as it's policy, what actually has happened -- austerity during a recession -- that's problematic. Now we are about to get more austerity that is ill-timed -- as Ben Bernanke said this week it's far too front-loaded -- and very poorly designed. It was constructed after all to motivate parties to action, so it is intentionally loathsome.

The Fed can be frustrating. Congress, the modern Republican contingent in particular, is ridiculous. It's hurting our ability to recover from the recession and provide jobs for millions of unemployed workers struggling to make ends meet each month.

    Posted by on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM in Economics, Fiscal Policy, Politics | Permalink  Comments (68)


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