Mark Thoma: How Republicans Stoked Economic Uncertainty

Mark Thoma tells how “economic uncertainty” has been the main Republican talking point since last summer:

How Republicans Stoked Economic Uncertainty, by Mark Thoma, Column, The Fiscal Times: Prior to the midterm elections, Republicans made a big issue out of the economic uncertainty supposedly created by Democrats in areas such as health care reform, financial reform, future tax rates, the deficit, environmental regulation, and the long-run viability of our social insurance programs.

Even though there was little to suggest that uncertainty rather than lack of demand was the fundamental economic problem, Republicans were able to persuade many voters that this uncertainty was holding back the economic recovery and lowering long-run economic growth.

So, this week, Senate Republican John Cornyn repeats the same groundless nonsense, no doubt expecting it to work now as it did last November. House Speaker John Boehner, in August, struck the now familiar theme:

“Right now, America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by ‘stimulus’ spending and hamstrung by uncertainty. The prospect of higher taxes, stricter rules, and more regulations has employers sitting on their hands.”

And — no surprise — Boehner blamed health care reform too for the so-called uncertainty: “The president’s government takeover of health care is already wreaking havoc on employers and entrepreneurs.”

It hurts to think of how many voters believed these political fables last year and still believe them now. How have we managed to educate ourselves so poorly about matters so essential to our well-being?


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