Reducing Republican plans to spur the economy to “tired slogans about cutting regulations and spending”, the New York Times editorial board on Wednesday accused Senate Republicans of engaging in “economic vandalism” for their “unanimous decision . . . on Tuesday to filibuster and thus kill President Obama’s jobs bill”. Citing conclusions reached by a group a selected group of economists, the Times editors ignore Republican concerns about the package’s cost and similarity to the Democrat’s stimulus, er, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
They also ignore economists, including the two who just won the Nobel Prize in economists, who have “separately produced empirical data that Keynesian stimulus theory is highly questionable.”
That Democrats’ costly stimulus, as we recall, worked wonders to restore our economy, keeping unemployment only a point or two above the rate forecast by the administration’s economic team had the package failed. (And even as these editors fault Republicans for their “lack of serious ideas” or offering up “an ash heap of used ideas,” they fail to note how the president’s current package is merely a scaled down version of the failed “stimulus.”)
Citing not a Republican legislator — or even a GOP political strategist — but instead a representative of the president’s reelection campaign, Times editors contend Republicans seem
content to run out the clock on Mr. Obama’s term while doing very little. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, accused Republicans of trying to “suffocate the economy” in hopes that the pain would work to their political advantage.
Problem with this talking point is that Republicans are willing to support items on the president’s economic agenda when they are consistent with conservative principles. Just this week, House and Senate Republicans overwhelmingly supported three free-trade agreements that the president also backed. According to an editorial today in the Wall Street Journal:
The House approved the deals with South Korea 278 to 151, Colombia 262 to 167 and Panama 300 to 129. Respectively, 86%, 94% and 95% of the nay votes came from Democrats. Republican opponents never exceeded 21, notwithstanding media and White House claims that the tea party freshmen would be protectionist. . . .
But the larger political reality is that these trade deals never would have passed if Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats still ran the House. That’s the main reason they didn’t pass in Mr. Obama’s first two years.
Most of the opposition from Democrats? The Democratic House failed to consider this agreements which the Democratic president believes would help the economy? Wonder if the Times editors ever accused Mrs. Pelosi and her caucus of economic vandalism?
The votes show that Republican legislators are willing to work with a Democratic President—when the policy deserves support. But, Times editors have convenient ignored Republican support for this legislation, which by decreasing the costs to trade with three countries, will increase economic growth and create jobs, as it conflicts with the narrative of the president’s reelection campaign.
NB: Tweaked title shortly after posting the piece.