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5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth

Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery.
 
 
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New numbers  released on July 6 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added a mere 80,000 jobs in June. That’s down from an average of 150,000 jobs a month for the first part of the year, and far too little to keep up with population growth.

Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery. As early as 2009, Republican fear-mongering over spending and their readiness to filibuster in the Senate  helped convince the White House economic team that an $800 billion stimulus was the most they could hope to get through Congress. Reporting has since revealed that the team thought the country actually needed a stimulus on the order of $1.2 to $1.8 trillion. The economy’s path over the next three years  proved them right. Here are the top five ways the Republicans have sabotaged the economic recovery since:

1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans  killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts  predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and  hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also  scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public  supported the bill.

2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve  can doenormousgood for a depressed economy through  more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by  tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s  anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry  threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have  browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly  held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout  it needed to help the economy.

3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican  threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and  do real damage to the economy.

4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal.  The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It  included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal  will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.

5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while  sparing defense almost entirely.

There have also been a few near-misses, in which the GOP almost prevented help from coming to the economy. The Republicans in the House  delayed a transportation bill that  saved as many as 1.9 million jobs. House Committees run by the GOP  have passedproposals aimed at cutting billions from food stamps, and the party has  repeatedly threatened to kill  extensions of unemployment insurance and cuts to the payroll tax.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, those policies — the payroll tax cut, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and discretionary spending for low-income Americans —  have the highest multipliers, meaning more job boosting potential per dollar.

 
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