February 29, 2016
Over the last twenty five years, prominent Republicans have gotten into the habit of making predictions that turn out to be wildly erroneous and well off the mark. If the Oval Office is occupied by a Democrat, the GOP predicts that President’s policies will ruin the country. On the other hand, if a Republican is President, everything will turn out to be sunshine and roses without any costs to anybody, ever.
I wrote a piece on June 25, 2013 titled: “The GOP And Their Cracked Crystal Ball” which covered the Republicans’ erroneous predictions during the Clinton and Bush43 Administrations. There were a lot of them. You can find it here: https://nebraskademocrats.org/GOPsCrackedCrystalBall.
I’m writing this piece to update that previous piece and to let our readers know that the habit of the GOP of making ludicrous doom and gloom predictions about a Democratic Presidents’ policies has carried over to the Obama Administration.
At the time he was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, President Obama inherited the worst economic situation since Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933. The economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month, GDP had shrunk nearly 9% in the last quarter of 2008, and the Dow Jones had slumped to around 6,500. The U.S. domestic automobile industry was also on the verge of collapse when George W. Bush left office.
President Obama made the rescue of the U.S. economy his top priority when he took office. He proposed and passed the 2009 Recovery Act which created or saved 1 to 3 million jobs. It is the consensus of U.S. economists that the Recovery Act ended the deepest recession since the 1930s and ignited the current recovery which continues to this day.
The Obama Administration’s rescue of the U.S. automobile industry was every bit as important as the Recovery Act. At the time President Obama proposed to save the auto industry, every Republican predicted it would be a failure. Then House GOP leader John Boehner prognosticated: “Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multi-national corporation to economic viability?” Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) contended that: “When government gets involved in a company, the disaster that follows is predictable.” Not to be outdone in the ridiculous prediction department, Mitt Romney said we should: “Let Detroit go bankrupt” and we could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye if the administration’s policy was implemented.”
Once again, the Republican predictions of doom and gloom proved to be wrong. President Obama’s rescue of the auto industry has been a huge success. The U.S. auto industry has been returned to profitability and experienced record breaking sales of cars by 2015. If President Obama and the American people had listened to the likes of Boehner and Romney in 2009, we wouldn’t have an auto industry and there would be Depression levels of unemployment in states like Michigan and Ohio.
In 2009, the Republicans weren’t only wrong about the auto industry, they were equally wrong about the stock market. In a now infamous editorial in the Washington Post on March 6, 2009, former George W. Bush economic adviser Michael Boskin argued that Obama’s alleged “radicalism” was “killing the Dow” and that Obama’s policies would cause a further stock market decline. Only three days later, the Dow hit bottom and began to rise again. By May 2015, the Dow reached an all time high of around 18,300. Currently, the Dow is at 16,640. It has been one of the greatest stock market rallies in U.S. history.
The Republican pattern of apocalyptic predictions during Obama’s first term probably reached it’s peak during the Obama Care debate. As we’ve discussed here before, John Boehner predicted that the health care law would cause “Armageddon” and “ruin the country.” Then candidate Ben Sasse fearlessly predicted in 2013 that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would cause America to “cease to exist.”
As we should all know by now, those predictions of disaster for the ACA made by the Republicans couldn’t have been more wrong. Since the implementation of the ACA, 17 million Americans have been insured for the first time. The uninsured rate has dropped from 18% to an all time low of 9%. The economy has created jobs every month since the passage of the ACA in March 2010.
During the 2012 election cycle, the Republicans once again made the mistake of getting into the prediction business. Former House Speaker Newt Ginrich predicted that if President Obama were re-elected, gas prices would rise all the way to $10 per gallon. GOP nominee Mitt Romney prognosticated that unemployment would remain stuck above 8%. Current GOP Presidential front runner Donald Trump maintained that there would be a stock market crash and right wing entertainer Rush Limbaugh promised a general economic collapse if there was an Obama second term.
The voters ignored those ridiculous GOP predictions about an Obama second term and the President was re-elected by a comfortable margin. Shortly after his re-election, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were scheduled to expire. Once again, just as in 1993, there was a raging debate about whether raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt the economy.
As usual, the GOP made their usual ridiculous predictions that raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt the economy. For example, then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor predicted that the repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would result in the loss of over 700,000 jobs. Closer to home, Creighton University economist Ernie Goss prognosticated that the elimination of these tax breaks for the wealthy would “adversely affect small-business owners, who, as a result, might hire fewer workers or lay off current employees.” Goss further contended that the wealthy would “respond by investing less in their enterprises. That means fewer jobs and spreads the misery to everyone.”
As we’ve seen going back to 1993, these Republican predictions of doom and gloom about the consequences of Obama’s re-election and raising taxes on the wealthy couldn’t have been more silly. Gasoline is now less than $2 per gallon over the U.S., unemployment has been cut in half to 4.9%, the Dow is now above 16,000 and the economy has creating over 200,000 jobs per month over the last three years. It is the best economic performance since Bill Clinton’s second term.
It never ceases to amaze me that the press has never called the Republicans out on all of these ridiculous predictions of doom and gloom. As Democrats, we need to remind the press and the voters that the GOP is invariably wrong. The GOP is wrong because their policies simply don’t work and the Republicans’ belief in their policies is based entirely upon ideology. Recent, historical experience clearly proves that trickle down economics and pre-emptive ground wars in the Middle East inevitably fail.
In 2016, the GOP is running on these same tired and failed policies. They must be defeated or otherwise the country will be in serious trouble. Let’s hope the Republicans predict a landslide for their candidate this fall! In any event, as Democrats we can’t take anything for granted. We must work hard to inform the voters and elect more Democrats. I’m confident we will have a successful election cycle in 2016. Now let’s get it done!