Republicans Take Credit for Improved Economy

Ben Smith broke this story:

It took less than three weeks for the new Republican Congressional leadership to claim credit for an apparent economic upturn.

An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Brian Patrick, emailed reporters this morning:

THERE ARE THE JOBS: Republicans Prevent Massive Tax Increase, Economy Begins to Improve: U.S. companies plan to hire more workers in the coming months amid growing optimism over the economy, a quarterly survey released Monday showed, providing further evidence that the jobs market is turning around. In the fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42% of companies interviewed, ranging from manufacturing to finance, expect to boost jobs in the six months ahead. That’s up from 29% in the first three months of 2010. Only 7% in the latest survey predict they will shed jobs in the coming six months, down from 23% at the start of last year.

The Dow Jones wire story Patrick linked makes no mention of the GOP.

Patrick emails, though, that he doesn’t think it’s too early to take credit: “Republicans have consistently called for providing certainty for the business community and worked to ensure no American saw a tax increase.”

Dave Weigel got on the phone:

I started contacting economists to see whether Republicans had, indeed, improved our economic outlook by getting the president to the table on a tax cut deal and making it clear that 2011 will be a year of cuts. Economist Bruce Bartlett responds:

As usual, they are full of shit. The “tax cut” enacted in December was not a tax cut at all, merely the extension of tax cuts enacted in the early 2000s that were in effect all during the time the economy was shedding jobs by the millions. And even if there were some miracle properties in just extending tax cuts already in effect, it is grossly implausible to claim that this would have any impact on jobs so quickly.

The fact is that the recession ended in June 2009 according to the NBER, which means that we have been in a recovery for one and a half years. For Republicans to suddenly notice this fact just because one of their pet proposals got enacted is just political grandstanding at its worst.

Doug Mataconis has a suggestion:

Guys, if you’re going to take credit for an economic turnaround, you might want to actually do something first.

Jon Perr provides an historical PERRspective.

Digby thinks Democrats set themselves up for this one:

Here’s the thing. Yes, it’s absurd and ridiculous considering the fact that they tried to obstruct every program that might have helped the economy over the past two years. And the fact that their sick economic policies helped create the disaster in the first place makes it especially galling. But let’s face facts. When the administration touted their lame duck Bipartisan “tax deal” as being a great boost to the economy they validated this line.

When you adopt the economic policies of your rivals for political gain, you have to accept that they’re going to reap the political gain as well. And this one was big. Tax cuts uber alles. Considering the 35 years the GOP spent hammering that point home, I’d expect that they will reap most of the reward. It will take a while before Americans fully understand that the Democratic party has adopted the GOP’s economic philosophy as well.

Author: KATHY KATTENBURG

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