Submitted by Dennis Crawford on 7 September 2012 - 9:42am
Earlier today, the Labor Department announced that 96,000 jobs were created in August. Obviously, the report is a bit of a disappointment and the Republicans were quick to criticize President Obama's economic policies. Are the Republicans correct that President Obama is solely responsible for the slow pace of the economic recovery? Can the Republicans' economic policies actually improve the economy's performance? Or as Vince Powers recently said, does history begin when the Republicans take the podium?
As a starting point, let's take a look at President Obama's record. Approximately 4.6 million private sector jobs have been created in the last 2.5 years. Moreover, the pace of job growth has accelerated in 2012 - the economy has created around 143,000 new jobs every month. While there is still more work to do, it is a significant improvement over what President Obama inherited. When President Obama took office, the economy was losing 700,000 jobs per month.
As I posted here recently, the Republicans bear a large share of the blame for the current slow pace of the recovery. The Republicans in the Congress haven't allowed an up or down vote on President Obama's American Jobs Act. Independent economists have said that President Obama's jobs bill would create 2 million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to 7%. Moreover, since 2009, there have been around 600,000 layoffs in the public sector and most of those layoffs have occurred in states controlled by the GOP. During the economic recoveries during the Reagan and Bush 43 Administrations, the public sector actually added jobs.
What about the Republicans' economic plans? Can they create the kind of robust recovery that our country needs? The first place to look is to examine the economic history from the last Republican President. According to the January 9, 2009, Wall Street Journal, Bush had the worst jobs creation record since Herbert Hoover. Only 3 million jobs were created during the Bush Presidency or around 31,000 jobs per month. Even if you give Bush every possible benefit of the doubt, the economy only created 86,000 jobs per month between 2002 and 2007. (Looking at Bush's record this way would be like evaluating Bill Callahan's record without taking into account the 2004 and 2007 seasons.)
The Republicans would tell you that it is unfair to look at Bush's record and that it should be off limits. But is Bush's record relevant? It is very relevant because Romney's economic platform is identical to that of George Bush. In 2004, Bush called for cutting spending, cutting taxes, deregulation and international free trade. Fast forward to 2012 and what does Romney think will improve the economy? The very same policies that Bush advocated in 2004. There isn't a dime's worth a difference between the two platforms.
What this tells us is that the Republicans want to bring back Bush's policies that resulted in the worst jobs creation record since the 1930s and an economic collapse in 2008. President Obama is like a football coach that took over a team that went 0-12 and was completely lacking in talent. By his fourth season, the team is 7-5 and playing in the Ticket City Bowl. It's progress but there is still room for improvement. On the other hand, the Republicans are like the coaching staff who went 0-12. Now these coaches are complaining that Team U.S.A. isn't in the Rose Bowl and they want their old jobs back.
What we need to do as Democrats is to re-elect President Obama and elect Bob Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan to the Congress. We need to end the job killing gridlock created by the Congressional Republicans. The Congressional Republicans have emphasized party over country for four years now and have done everything they can to stifle the economic recovery. It's time to elect our candidates to the Congress who will put the American people and the country first.
Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.