The Question: Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?

If there is one line that Republicans would like to see permeate beyond last week’s Republican National Convention and into this week’s Democratic National Convention and beyond, it would be the question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? This of course is the famous Ronald Reagan question during his closing remarks at the close of a 1980 presidential debate. It defined that election and Republicans would like it to define this election.

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Eric Fehrnstrom and Republicans want Bad News on Jobs

Mitt Romney can say he wished Obama had succeeded and Republicans can say they wish the economy was better for Americans, but the reality is that they not-so-silently want the economy to be weak going into election day. Republicans not only will do nothing to improve the economy once they are in office, they want a bad economy now if it will improve their chances of getting into office. On CNN’s State of the Union, Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said:

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The Republican Solution To Everything: Spending Cuts, Tax Cuts, or Both

The United States of America is the wealthiest nation on the planet, but somehow we can’t find a way to fund important government programs that help lift people out of poverty and build a stronger foundation for our future. We have an entire political coalition that wants to cut taxes even further while attempting to make government so small it can fit in our bedrooms — right before they drown it in the bathtub (to paraphrase both The West Wing and tax pledge prophet Grover Norquist).

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RNC – More Republican Duality from Governors Scott Walker, Bob McDonnell

Between Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) and Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) the Republican duality posits that President Obama is bad for jobs on a national scale at the same time that they [Republican governors] are good for jobs in their respective states. Pay no attention to the federal stimulus spending in their states. They [Republican governors] are solely responsible for their job growth and unemployment rates and President Obama’s policies and the stimulus had nothing to do with it. In other words: The good news? “Yeah, that’s us” — The bad news? “That’s all Obama” — Oh, and “Republicans Rule!”

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If government was willing, the unemployment rate could be as low as 5%

Another month end, another jobs report. On Friday we received the numbers for August and it was both good news and bad news for President Obama. The good news is that the economy added 163,000 jobs in July which was well above analyst expectations. The bad news is that the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2% to 8.3%. That small of a change in the unemployment rate (in either direction) isn’t really significant, but the unemployment rate could be several whole points lower by now if government did what it always does in a bad economy: spend money.

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