Senator John Thune’s recent op-ed on CNN was an exemplary study in intellectual dishonesty. No stranger to the realm of the unreal, Thune has previously claimed Social Security “is headed for bankruptcy.” Social Security is fully solvent for over 25 years, rendering Thune’s claim analogous to the assertion that a precocious pre-schooler is headed for his or her doctorate. He’s also stated that the ACA would cause 800,000 job losses, rated ‘mostly false’ by Politifact.
Senator Thune (R-SD), member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committee, did take full advantage of the opportunity to lambaste President Obama on his economic stewardship. He remarks that Obama promised unemployment below 6% by April 2012, and remains above 8%. He bemoans Joe Biden’s claim that 250,000 to 500,000 jobs would be created per month.
In the interest of full disclosure, the private sector has created approximately 160, 000 jobs per month since the recovery began. Republican intransigence stifled the American Jobs Act and continues to hinder the economy. Paul Krugman suggests that if the public workforce grew at the same rate under Obama as Bush, unemployment would be near or under 7%.
Thune makes no mention of these mitigating circumstances. Undoubtedly, the recovery would be much more robust and in line with Biden’s projection if the Republicans did not embrace contractionary economic policy at the federal and state levels.
The senator has no problem laying the meager economy, in its entirety, at the feet of Barack Obama to demonstrate the focus-tested talking point: the President is an incompetent, ineffectual leader unable to keep his promises.
Thune confidently asserts that “It doesn't take an economist to realize the president's economic policies have spectacularly failed to make things better.” This claim is evidently an appeal to emotion – not reason. The need for stimulus deemed essential to growth in recessionary periods is derided by Thune as an explosion in debt. Absent from Thune’s op-ed is George W. Bush, who inherited a $236 billion surplus and left office with a deficit over $1 trillion.
Thune further alleges that regulations have crippled business confidence. Notwithstanding the easy answer – deregulation facilitated the most recent recession – here are my feelings on regulations:
The Left has a significant messaging shortfall when addressing this topic. Regulations ought be viewed as the inherent responsibility of capitalists to ensure the humane treatment of workers in regards to their health, safety, and economic needs. Product standards should reflect their responsibility towards the health, safety, and economic well-being of not only employees, but all current and future citizens. Thus, regulations are framed more effectively as a built-in code of decency and morality in the economy.
Thune bravely suggests that it is time for Americans to try something new – presumably referring to the GOP. Unfortunately, Alexandra Franceschi, Specialty Media Press Secretary of the Republican National Committee recognized that the Republican platform are the Bush policies, merely updated. Mitt Romney’s proposed tax reform disproportionately benefits business owners, and the wealthy reduces the tax burden for business owners Try something new, indeed.
Shame on CNN – a pillar of the MSM – which should know better than to serve as a launching pad for the proliferation of opinions which lack a factual foundation. But besides that, Thune’s was an excellent piece, if one-sided arguments with little supporting evidence are your kind of thing.