May 7, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Hey Mitt, It Was A Republican Who Was President When The ‘Great Recession’ Began
I would like to remind Republicans, particularly presidential candidate Mitt Romney, that it was a Republican who was in the White House when the ‘great recession’ began. Romney can try to spin it as Obama’s economy or Obama’s recession, pretending that Obama was responsible for the worst recession since the great depression, but it was George W. Bush who was president at the time.
Obama has had to clean up the mess that Republicans made and do so with a less than cooperative congress. Even when Democrats controlled the Senate and the House that didn’t mean there was a clear and easy path to get things passed. In hindsight (well, not to some people like economist Paul Krugman) the stimulus was not big enough, but it was probably as large as it could be politically. Republicans like to frame that time period as the time when Obama had a liberal congress that would fall in line, but that simply wasn’t the case. Many Democrats are not liberals. Hell, even Obama isn’t all that liberal, particularly when it comes to the economy. If we had tried some truly liberal ideas three years ago we might be further along in the recovery.
But even if the pace of recovery is not where we would like it to be, any glance at job creation by month will show you that shortly after Obama took office the job losses began to reverse until finally turning into net-positive job growth month-after-month. That was two years ago. Since then 4 million private sector jobs have been created. Mitt Romney can say the recovery is slow and job creation is not happening fast enough, but what exactly would he and other Republicans do that would result in a faster recovery? They don’t have an answer. Their solution is not a solution at all. Their solution is to ‘get government out of the way’, or put another way, ‘do nothing.’ This is what you do when you don’t have any concrete ideas to fix a problem. It would be nice if the world was so simple that you can do nothing and all your problems would be solved. Here in reality, it requires intelligence and hard work just to beat back the nonsense before you can even get to the policies that will actually make a difference.
We have yet to attempt any true liberal policies to get us out of this economic mess – whether it be more stimulus, a works program including infrastructure jobs, or federal aid to states to keep public workers on the job – and Obama isn’t liberal enough to try. But taking us back to the Republican ‘do nothing’ approach (well, other than tax cuts for the rich) would be a disaster.