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Republicans Take Credit For Improved Economy After Three Weeks In Office

Via Dave Weigel comes this amusing press release from Eric Cantor’s office:

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. Dow Jones

Former Reagan Administration adviser Bruce Bartlett would tend to disagree with the GOP’s effort to take credit for this one:

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.

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

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    It’s amusing as a claim, although there’s more to it than Bartlett would have us believe. Surely, there’s some value in knowing what the hell tax rates are going to be. And Dems can’t have it both ways on this: Either these are new cuts — on the theory that they were otherwise set to expired — or they themselves were planning to raise taxes.

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  2. Steven Plunk says:

    Expectations mean a lot in the business community. Having the Republicans control the house is likely to improve the economy with out even passing legislation.

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  3. EJ says:

    politicans are always too quick to take credit/ lay blame on their opponents for short term changes in economic conditions. The reality is that they have very little control over the short run – andthe power they do have is only effecting outcomes on the margin. Government policy with re: to the economy is more important when it comes to long term growth potential.

    But everyone does this – voters need to stop being retarded thinking that somehow the president has this magic wand that controls the economy on command and continuing to reward politicians who use such rhetoric.

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  4. john personna says:

    There is always what we do, and what we say about what we do.

    Brain studies have shown that the two aren’t linked. Split-brain studies especially show that you can get someone to do something, and then the other side of the brain is happy to make up a reason why. In those cases we know the “reason” is completely false, but it gives the brain a comfortable narrative. This is striking enough in fact that people question much of our subjective reality. Do we ever know why we do what we do? Are all of our motivations made up?

    We can see clearly that this would be the case among business partisans.

    They are doing whatever, but the story they can tell about it just changed.

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  5. tom p says:

    “Surely, there’s some value in knowing what the hell tax rates are going to be”

    By that yardstick, raising taxes to eisenhower levels would give a boost to the economy too.

    I always wonder why so many conservatives hang their hat on the “uncertainty” argument.

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  6. sam says:

    Too bad the health care reform is gonna kill all those jobs the tax cuts are creating.

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  7. @James,

    You have a point vis a vis the tax cut extension but I tend to agree with Bartlett that it takes longer than a month for the impact of decisions in Washington to felt in the economy as a whole and that there are other factors at play. Also, I tend to think that politicians of either party tend to get more credit (or blame) for the state of the economy than the facts would justify

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  8. BJ says:

    Sam, you are either being ignorant or you’re lying. Most likely both. And you can’t prove that the health care bill will kill jobs other than what Republican rhetoric is saying to you.

    “I always wonder why so many conservatives hang their hat on the “uncertainty” argument.”
    — I always wonder the same thing. It’s as if they think they can predict the future so whatever half-arsed arguments they make look irrefutable.

    In other news, More Small Businesses Are Offering Health Care To Employees Thanks To Obamacare

    http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/01/06/more-small-businesses-offering-health-care-to-employees-thanks-to-obamacare/

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  9. sam says:

    “Sam, you are either being ignorant or you’re lying. Most likely both. And you can’t prove that the health care bill will kill jobs other than what Republican rhetoric is saying to you.”

    BJ, get your sarcastometer recalibrated.

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  10. JKB says:

    Well, it isn’t actually to the Republican’s credit but more to the voters. Back in November, they gave the country hope. Now that hope is in place and the bleeding of the lame duck has halted. The Republicans in the House can mess this up but for now, with the failed Congress out of session, there is hope, so their is improvement.

    Sentiment drives the economy more than Washington. Washington generally can only damage or support the sentiment with their most often foolish policies. If the spending cuts really are pursued, then the hope will continue.

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  11. Jay Tea says:

    Well, hell, the Democrats kept referring to the “Bush deficits” and “Bush budgets” after they took back both Houses of Congress in 2007, so I guess it’s only fair…

    J.

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  12. James Joyner says:

    @tom p: Yes, there would be a certainly value there, too. Lower rates are generally better at inspiring people to work but there’s a diminishing returns on that front and they have to be balanced against the real need for revenue.

    @Doug: Agreed on the absurdity that the economy boomed that quickly as a result. I’m just responding to Bartlett’s uncharacteristically stupid argument.

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  13. Steve says:

    As mentioned above, this is behavior that no politician can really take credit for. The sad part is that we have to listen to posturing by politicians interested in enriching themselves (on both sides, mind you) instead of having them figure out ways that America will retain it’s place in the world in 5, 10, 20 years.

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  14. Tlaloc says:

    Joyner:
    “or they themselves were planning to raise taxes.”

    If something was set to expire and you don’t take special action to renew it it becomes your fault it expired? I don’t really agree. Letting a tax expire is not the same as raising taxes. Mathematically it may be the same but in terms of assigning blame/reading intention it’s pretty different.

    “Well, hell, the Democrats kept referring to the “Bush deficits” and “Bush budgets” after they took back both Houses of Congress in 2007, so I guess it’s only fair…”

    It is fair since Bush basically got everything he wanted in terms of budget. The bush deficits were caused by the “war” on terror, Medicare D, and the Bush tax cuts. Those were all Bush supported items.

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  15. tom p says:

    >>>”Yes, there would be a certainly value there, too. Lower rates are generally better at inspiring people to work but there’s a diminishing returns on that front and they have to be balanced against the real need for revenue.”<<<

    Not saying otherwise James, but when you consider the realistic alternative (Clinton era tax levels) the whole argument becomes ludicrous… Not to mention that there is no more "certainty" now than there ever was. Tax rates can go up, or they can go down, and it is a gaurantee that they will.

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  16. mantis says:

    Well, hell, the Democrats kept referring to the “Bush deficits” and “Bush budgets” after they took back both Houses of Congress in 2007, so I guess it’s only fair…

    You just keep getting dumber, don’t you Jay?

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  17. Robert Dobalina says:

    If a retailer hosts a weekend sale in which all merchandise is 30% off, is it right to say that they raised the price on their merchandise after the sale ends? The prices just returned to their pre-sale levels. So, how is it right to say that democrats OR republicans would be “raising taxes” by allowing the tax breaks to expire?

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  18. Tlaloc says:

    sorry should point out the second quote in my post above was from “Jay Tea” not Joyner. Meant to put in something to that effect.

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