Economic Stagnation “Explained”

Economic Stagnation Explained, at 30,000 Feet

Prof Carter’s little essay, which in my opinion is strikingly similar to Tom Friedman’s “knowledgeable cab driver” pontifications, doesn’t really provide a valid reason for economic stagnation. BUTT – if it were to be true and valid, it could certainly be seen as an indictment of Republican obstructionism and not of the Administration’s economic policies and goals. Which may have been the purpose of the piece but I started this post thinking he was trying to place blame on the Obama Administration so go and read Carter’s op ed bit and then come back and tell me what you think.

Tsk. Tsk.

What you perceive in your little world is but a mere shadow of what is happening to the nation owing to the obstinate obstructionism in Congress since Inauguration Day 2009

McConnell, Nov 2010: “Our (the GOP) #1 priority is to ensure that Obama is a one-term President”

McConnell, May 2011:

“To get my vote, for me, it’s going to take short-term [cuts, via spending caps]… Both medium and long-term, entitlements.,” McConnell said. “Medicare will be part of the solution.”

To clarify, I asked, (I)f [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won’t get your vote?”

“Correct,” McConnell said.

Senate Republicans in 2005 on Bush court nominees: “They must get an up or down vote, filibustering is unprecedented” also “the nuclear option”

former Senator Frist press release on Democratic obstructionism

…the sad fact is: we didn’t do our job in the last Congress. The minority’s judicial obstruction has saddled President Bush with the lowest confirmation rate for appeals court nominees of any modern president. This is disgraceful. We owe it to the people we serve and to the Senate as an institution to do our job. We should vote up-or-down on judicial nominees.

Second, the judicial branch also has a job to do. And it needs judges to do it. Right now, there are 46 vacancies on the federal bench. That includes seventeen vacancies on appeals courts. But it’s not just the vacancies themselves. Qualified nominees who can fill those seats can’t get up-or-down votes to be confirmed in the Senate.

those “46 vacancies on the federal bench” were seen as quite the scandal at the time, so much so, the Republicans in the Senate threatened to throw out years of precedent to get Bush’s nominees seated.

Today’s world

GOP Obstructionism Has Made President Least Successful at Filling Judicial Vacancies in 40 Years

(AP) A determined Republican stall campaign in the Senate has sidetracked so many of the men and women nominated by President Barack Obama for judgeships that he has put fewer people on the bench than any U.S. president since Richard Nixon at a similar point in his first term 40 years ago.

The delaying tactics have proved so successful, despite the Democrats’ substantial Senate majority, that fewer than half of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed and 102 out of 854 judgeships are vacant.

Forty-seven of those vacancies have been labeled emergencies by the judiciary because of heavy caseloads.

bar graph showing drop in judicial confirmations
image from American Progress

Republican obstructionism may also be seen in the changes in the Affordable Healthcare Act, forced reductions in planned stimulus spending, delays enforcing Dodd-Frank provisions, the on-going blockade of Elizabeth Warren’s nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board and related attempts to gut enforcement provisions of the CFPB legislation – all of which have affected the economy.

The Republican leadership and the various ‘think tanks’ funded by Galtian billionaires have shown time and time again that they really don’t care about fixing America’s problems. Their efforts all seem to be aimed at protecting the oligarchy that has grown in this nation over the past 40 years. Obstructing social justice and any attempt to level the playing field so more may actually have a chance at the “American Dream” are seen as attacks on their status. If such actions cause the US and much of the world to slip into a “Third Depression” (google it) – eh, big deal – as long as they can maintain their control of the economy and their incomes – oops, increase their incomes.

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