Are Republicans Sabotaging the Economy Just to Hurt President Obama?

Last year, the Republicans nearly destroyed the economy with their manufactured crisis over raising the nation’s debt ceiling. And then the spending cuts they demanded in return for avoiding a first-ever default on our obligations have slowed down the recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Unsurprisingly, polls taken at the time of this debacle found that half of all Americans agreed that Republicans were sabotaging the economy just to hurt the president. That so many people hold such a view is not shocking given both Republicans’ actions and the fact that leading Republicans have stated that their top priority was not fixing the economy, but was instead defeating President Obama. For example, here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

It appears that 2011, which of course also featured another possible economy-sabotaging blowup over the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, was just the beginning for Republicans.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced last week that Republicans plan to take the entire economy hostage once again when it comes time to raise the nation’s borrowing limit again.  It didn’t take long for Democrats to blast the move:

It already can be damaging, just the fact that it’s brought up.
-Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA)

The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy. I hope that the speaker is not doing this because he doesn’t want to see the economy improve, because what he said will certainly rattle the markets.
-Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Even the Associated Press wondered aloud whether Republicans were trying to sabotage the economy and pointed to evidence that if that was indeed their plan, it appears to be working:

Regardless of whether Schumer’s suspicions are right, there’s evidence that unceasing partisan gridlock and the prospect of big tax increases and spending cuts in January are causing some companies to postpone expansions.[…]

The Washington Post this past week compiled a list of military contractors, hospitals and universities that are delaying hires and bracing for cuts, partly because of fears that Washington’s partisan divisions will not abate.

And, just as a reminder, two noted scholars of Congress recently pointed out that “partisan gridlock” is really just code for Republican extremism and intransigence. “Republicans are the problem,” they wrote.

IN ONE SENTENCE: Instead of playing dangerous games with our economy just for political gain, it’s time for Republicans to support measures that will grow our economy and make sure that it’s an economy that works for everyone — not just the wealthy few.

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Advocacy Team