This graph comes via Kevin Drum, Here’s Why the Recovery Has Been So Weak. As he points out, it isn’t new. I have written about this many times myself. But it is really really annoying.
Part of this is Obama’s fault. I remember in 2010, he was spouting the same conservative nonsense as the Republicans, “Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same.” No! No! No! That’s not how macroeconomics works. The entire economy is not like a household. In the entire economy, one person’s reduced spending is another person’s reduced revenue. It was not the right time to tighten the federal budget when the unemployment rate was 9.8% and the inflation rate was 2.6% and heading down.
But the bigger issue is that Republicans always decide that we just can’t spend any money when a Democrat is in the White House. They have been determined to harm the country until a Republican is elected president. And you can count on them racking up huge deficits the moment that happens. And then the economy will quickly improve and everyone will say, “The Republicans saved the economy!” This is all so predictable that it makes me want to do physical harm to myself — like bang my head against a stone wall.
What the graph above shows is that even since World War II, we have all agreed that the government must spend more money during a recession. That’s certainly what we did under George W Bush during the 2001 recession. But we don’t do it now. And it makes me angry. I don’t really blame the Republicans. They are traitors, but I understand that they are just looking out for themselves and they’ve never claimed to be anything else. They are really awful — but honest.
What makes me angry is that the American people keep voting for them. How low does the Republican Party have to sink before the American people will say, “Enough!” Sadly, I think the answer is that there is no level. If the Republicans created a debt crisis by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, it would throw the global economy into recession. But as long as it was done more than six months before an election, the American people would not punish them.
In fact, we’ve already seen this. The world economy is still struggling because of the economic policies forced on us by the Republicans over the last six years. Of course, there are two sides to this. First, there is the ignorant, hateful conservative base that comes out to vote because the only thing that they have to stop them is the fact that they might miss one of their favorite Fox News shows. Second, there are the liberals like Carey Wedler who can’t manage to show up to vote when it isn’t a presidential election.
I wonder if the American people realize just how close we are to fascism? Or even if they care? The Nazis didn’t come to power in Germany because a majority of the people wanted them. If the people of a country can’t be bothered to care for their democracy, they will see it go away very quickly. And if you don’t have a job right now or if you haven’t received a raise in 8 years, all you need to know is in that graph above. And it is mostly thanks to a political party that cares only about getting power and doesn’t care if it has to destroy the nation and its people to get it.
Vote, damn it!