Top Republicans are claiming credit for a variety of metrics showing that the economy is improving. Expect this meme to snowball, particularly as Democrats have done little, so far, to stop it. On Fox News today, House Rules Committee Chair David Dreier (R-CA) contended the GOP deserves all the credit for recent economic growth.
“[W]e can get our economy growing. And we’ve gotten some positive numbers. I think it’s in large part because we won our majority and we’re pursuing pro-growth policies,” he said.
In December, the Department of Labor announced that unemployment had fallen from 9.7 percent to 9.4 percent. Its data suggests private sector job growth has been increasing since the fall. The GOP has controlled the House for just over two weeks, but has yet to enact any major economic legislation — and economists agree that even enacted fiscal policy will not be immediately reflected in economic growth.
Dreier’s not the first to attempt this leap. Earlier this month, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) attributed soaring corporate profits in 2010 to the passage of the GOP-friendly tax cut compromise at the very end of last year.
“Some of the results… I suspect, are coming from the fact that we extended tax rates that the president did not want to extend, but was willing to do so at the end of the year last year,” he told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.
It’s a theory of economic growth that requires assuming the existence of a time machine. But it doesn’t have to be true to become the conventional wisdom.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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