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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009 and conservatives suddenly remembered that deficits do “matter,” the Republicans in Congress have been offering a simple formula for healing our battered economy: cuts.

At first they said that if we didn’t make huge cuts, we’d have rampant inflation. Inflation has generally been lower than normal since 2009. Then they said people would stop buying America’s debt, which is as popular ever. Meanwhile corporate profits have climbed to an all-time high and wages as a share of GDP are at an all-time low.

The GOP, of course, did win some cuts.

On the state and local level, the cuts to public workers, especially teachers, have been particularly savage, with more than 680,000 put out of work. And in 2011, when the House GOP took the unprecedented step of threatening to default on America’s debt without cuts, they won cuts on a federal level with the promise that more cuts would either come from a deal worked out by the so-called “Super Committee” or from a sequestration designed to be so harmful to the military that no one would ever let them happen. This was the ransom they extracted for their hostage — a plan the president came up with to avert another financial crisis that would have been nearly as bad as the one he inherited on January 20, 2009. President Obama proposed it and a vast majority of Republicans in Congress voted for it.

Of course, the “Super Committee” failed. In 2012 (if you believe the liberal media), President Obama was re-elected by a margin of nearly five million votes on the premise that deficit reduction must include sacrifices from the rich, who are paying taxes as low as they’ve been in half a century, while sucking up most of the benefits of the recovery.

This lead us to the so-called fiscal cliff, when all of the Bush tax breaks expired. The president compromised and kept the cuts on all income up to $400,000. And for the first time, taxes were part of an attempt to shrink the deficit Obama inherited. But the GOP was furious because they didn’t get enough — guess! — cuts.

To make up for this slight, Republicans are now vowing to let the sequestration go through. But since they know it’s a terrible policy, they’ve decided to blame it on the president. They even started using the Twitter hashtag #Obamaquester to make that point.

This begs the question: If Republicans really think that severe cuts are good for the economy, why would they be giving Obama credit for them?

Because everyone — including even Mitt Romney  — knows that cuts hurt the economy. And the sequestration’s cuts will be particularly “brutal,” according to the president. Here’s why the GOP wants the sequester to happen, but doesn’t want any credit for it.

Photo credit: Republican Conference via Flickr.com

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