A look at a GOP campaign promise from 2012

This story ran in The Hill on May 23, 2012:

Mitt Romney says his administration would lower the unemployment rate to 6 percent by the end of his first term.

“I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower,” Romney says in a Time magazine interview.

The 6 percent prediction is a bold claim that Romney will surely be held to by Democrats if he’s elected.

What a bold and exciting promise! The Republican presidential candidate vowed to the American people that when his first term was over, he would cut dreaded employment to 6  percent by 2016! That’s really living on the edge!

To show how bold a prediction that was, look at what appeared in the news today:

Hiring in America slowed down in January, with government data released Friday showing the economy added 151,000 jobs — less than the blockbuster growth of recent months but enough to keep the recovery on solid ground.

The data also showed a 2.5 percent spike in wages over the past year, an encouraging sign that the strength in the labor market might finally be translating into bigger paychecks. The unemployment rate also dipped to 4.9 percent, inching closer to what many economists believe is its lowest sustainable level.

If you’re listening to Republicans say that the economy is awful and promising that under a Republican administration there will be jobs for all who want them, just remember this. Mitt Romney promised that he would make the unemployment rate higher than is now. That’s exactly what I believe he would have done.

And policies enacted by Democratic President Barack Obama have put the unemployment rate below 5 percent.

When you elect Democrats, you get what you deserve. When you elect Republicans, you deserve what you get.

 

George Bailey and the Commies

Seems like everyone loves this Christmas movie:

But according to billmoyers.com, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was the target of FBI and congressional investigations into the communist infiltration of Hollywood.

Michael Winship writes that:

[W]hen the movie first came out, it fell under suspicion from the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as Communist propaganda, part of the Red Scare that soon would lead to the blacklist and witch hunt that destroyed the careers of many talented screen and television writers, directors and actors.

And why was it un-American? This from a 1947 FBI memo:

“With regard to the picture ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, [REDACTED] stated in substance that the film represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.

“In addition, [REDACTED] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [REDACTED] related that if he had made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiners in connection with making loans. Further, [REDACTED] stated that the scene wouldn’t have ‘suffered at all’ in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [REDACTED] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and ‘I would never have done it that way.’”

So today, when we talk about the one percent and income inequality, just remember, someone out there thinks it’s all part of a commie plot.

 

Remember the freakout over China holding U.S. debt?

Turns out it was another scam by the GOP to blast Obama (from Paul Krugman):

Many prominent politicians made warnings about the dangers posed by U.S. debt, especially debt owned by China, a central part of their political image. Paul Ryan, when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee, portrayed himself as a heroic crusader against deficits. Mitt Romney made denunciations of borrowing from China a centerpiece of his campaign for president. And by and large, commentators treated this posturing as if it were serious. But it wasn’t.

I don’t mean that it was bad economics, although it was. Remember all the dire warnings about what would happen if China stopped buying our debt, or worse yet, started selling it? Remember how interest rates would soar and America would find itself in crisis?

Well, don’t tell anyone, but the much feared event has happened: China is no longer buying our debt, and is in fact selling tens of billions of dollars in U.S. debt every month as it tries to support its troubled currency. And what has happened is what serious economic analysis always told us would happen: nothing. It was always a false alarm.

Beyond that, however, it was a fake alarm. …

Debt, it seems, only matters when there’s a Democrat in the White House. Or more accurately, all the talk about debt wasn’t about fiscal prudence; it was about trying to inflict political damage on President Obama, and it stopped when the tactic lost effectiveness.

The GOP breakup

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This pretty much captures the conflict Republicans are now going through. Look at it from an economic standpoint (via the Washington Post):

We have now seen tax plans from the GOP candidates, and despite their “populist” packaging, it turns out, as Ramesh Ponnuru puts it, that “all of them would also ensure that the top one percent comes out way ahead.” The Rubio and Bush plans contain middle class tax relief, but when viewed in the larger context of who would benefit most from them, it has the feel of political window dressing, as Ponnuru concludes: “Republicans would probably be better off in the general election next year if their plans weren’t quite so favorable to the rich.”

The GOP candidates apparently think they can cite their plans’ middle class tax relief — combined with soothing supply-side sweet-nothings — to make the cuts for the rich more palatable in a general election. Bush’s campaign has road-tested the argument that his plan would result in top earners paying a larger share of the overall tax burden, which is a diversion. Rubio has gamely suggested that his plan’s elimination of taxes on capital gains and dividends would help create jobs for bartenders like his father.

But Trump’s suggestion that his rivals will “let” Wall Streeters get away with paying too little in taxes threatens to let Republican voters in on the joke. Ross Douthat has suggested that as a billionaire, Trump could actually be more credible in this regard, since he is letting you in on the secret, from the inside, that “high finance can afford higher taxes.” And guess what, Trump seems to be saying, it won’t destroy the economy or cost your bartender father his job. Trump has been in on the joke for a long time, and the joke’s on you. But the joke is over.

We’ll see how this pans out in the coming months. But one thing’s for sure. Trump is not going away.