During the lead up to the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, their senior senator, Chuck Grassley, made an appearance and took the opportunity to rail on about Obama not taking responsibility for his policies and apparently was very unhappy with Republicans being blamed for any of our economic problems. He also lied and repeated the same tired old line we've heard out of them time after time:
GRASSLEY: By any measure of the economy or the fiscal policy, you [President Obama] have made every statistic worse.
I hate to break it to the good senator, but no, he hasn't as the article linked from Media Matters documents. He went on to say we need new leadership and a president who will take responsibility for their actions. What followed was a lot of cheerleading for American “exceptionalism” and more repetition promoting what we know are the failed fiscal policies of conservatism that we've seen slowly destroy what's left of our middle class over the last thirty or forty years.
President Obama is not far enough to the left to suit me. And I've been extremely irritated to see his administration adopting way too much of the same language from the right on anything from deficit reduction to tax cuts, to the confidence fairy to you name it. That said, a member of what has been a part of one of the most obstructionist Senates in the United States in history that continually blocked the hundreds of bills that were passed by the House of Representatives that could have improved our economy when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress has absolutely no credibility whatsoever railing on about how President Obama hasn't done more to get Americans back to work and our economy back on track.
Our own Jon Perr wrote about that in March of last year here -- GOP Wins Filibuster Gold Medal.
And one of the biggest welfare queens with his farm subsidies has no business railing on about the evils of big government. Grassley loves that big government just fine as long as it's lining his pockets and those of his family. Not so much when it comes to reducing poverty or taking care of the elderly or the least among us. When Chuck Grassley wants to take some responsibility for his own actions and how he's governed, then he's got a leg to stand on to complain about what President Obama has done or not done.
He and his party and President Bush were pushing this country into the abyss when Bush left office and now he's got the nerve to rail on about how their mess wasn't fixed in the last two and a half years when they've done everything in their power to make sure that our economy does not get better, all for political gain in the hopes that the president doesn't get reelected.
This is the same Congress where it was a legitimate question to ask as Steve Benen did, if this debt ceiling hostage taking is The worst thing the GOP has ever done? when it comes to just pure fiscal recklessness.
Grassley wants to blame President Obama for our fiscal problems, but as the New York Times reported, this chart clearly illustrates just who is to blame for the problems with our deficit.
And this is the same Congress that is refusing to do any more stimulus and that's causing job losses at the state and local levels as Steve Benen explained in his post this week -- The easy-to-save jobs we're losing anyway:
Every month, when the new job numbers come out, we tend to see the same thing: the private sector is faring relatively well, adding jobs, while the public sector is shedding jobs quickly. The former number is generally much larger than the latter, which means the economy is still adding jobs, but the public-sector losses are a significant drag on a weak employment market.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Nicholas Johnson explained the other day, “Since August 2008, state and local governments have slashed 611,000 positions, and the cuts have been getting worse — 340,000 of those jobs were lost in the last 12 months. July was the ninth consecutive month, and the 29th out of the last 35, in which total state and local employment shrank.”
This chart, via Ezra, helps drive the point home:
I know I talk about this a lot, but given the jobs crisis and the public demand that policymakers address unemployment, it’s important to realize one of the key factors dragging down the economy.
Layoffs at the state and local level were mitigated in 2009 by the Recovery Act, which saved thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been eliminated. Those funds have since been exhausted, and the public sector is back to making severe layoffs. It’s why that column on the right is the most severe.
This is what David Leonhardt recently described as “an unforced economic error” — with all of the problems we can’t control, this is one problem we know exactly how to prevent. We just choose not to, because the Republicans’ ideology dictates that these job losses are actually good for us.
No, really, the GOP looks at the above chart and sees this as a positive development. Under the Republican economic model, the public sector is supposed to lose jobs, and as part of the party’s austerity agenda, this is a problem that must get worse on purpose.
Earlier this year, for example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked about his spending-cut plans and the fact that the cuts would force thousands of public-sector workers from their jobs. “So be it,” the Republican said.
In other words, deliberately making unemployment worse wasn’t seen as a problem. This is a feature of the GOP model, not a bug.
And on a final note on whether President Obama has made the economy worse since he took office, here's Steve Benen's latest jobs chart from this month -- Private sector jobs also improving.
If Sen. Grassley thinks those red lines when George Bush was in office are something we should be returning to with the new "strong leader" he was touting the need for here, I'd like to know what he's been smoking.
Chuck Grassley wants President Obama to take responsibility for his fiscal policies and what they've done to our nation's economy. In response I would ask, just when is he and his party going to do the same? I suspect the answer is never since apparently admitting reality and what got us to this point, much taking responsibility for that reality is something they're completely incapable of.