Let's be blunt. Leaders of the Republican Party -- including their presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- have moved from "rooting against" our economy to actively attempting to sabotage the economy of the United States.
They believe that their chances of defeating President Obama, taking control of the Senate and maintaining control of the House of Representatives materially improve if the economic recovery stalls. And they aren't just standing around hoping that a European financial collapse or higher oil prices will send the economy into a second recession -- they are actively trying to make it happen.
It is astonishing, but today the surest way to make certain that a piece of legislation is deep-sixed by the Republicans in Congress is to demonstrate that it will help create jobs in the American economy.
The first concrete example involves actual concrete -- the reauthorization of the Transportation Bill that provides funding for roads, bridges and mass transit projects across the country.
No one questions the critical necessity of these projects. They are extraordinarily popular with the voters. Transportation bills have been routinely reauthorized with bipartisan support for as long as anyone can remember.
The current bill expires June 30 -- after which there will be no funding for transportation projects during the construction season this summer. But Republicans in the House are refusing to act -- holding up action -- unless Democrats agree to fast-track the Keystone Pipeline and limit the EPA's ability to regulate coal ash.
If the bill is not reauthorized, 1.9 million construction workers would -- temporarily at least -- lose their jobs. That would be just fine with the Republicans. They'd love to use their leverage to win ideological points, but they would be even happier if almost two million Americans were added to the unemployment rolls this summer before the election.
Of course, Republicans in Congress would never dream of passing President Obama's American Jobs Act that independent economists claim would create 1.3 million new jobs. It would put people to work building needed infrastructure and provide funds to pay to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public service workers that have been laid off in droves by cash-starved states.
And there's more. Yesterday's Washington Post reports that Republicans have made it clear that the Federal Reserve would face fierce Republican criticism if it takes further actions to stimulate the economy before the election. The Post writes that,
Republicans... have expressed deep concern about measures taken by the Fed to support the economy -- and could be doubly upset if new efforts goose the stock market and are perceived to work in favor of President Obama's re-election.
And there is great concern that the Fed would respond to Republican pressure. Vincent Reinhart, a longtime Fed economist, now chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, noted that "the headline they most worry about is 'The Fed acts to help the incumbent.'"
Finally, the Republicans will stand like a great united wall to block President Obama's bill to discourage the outsourcing of American jobs, which is due to come to the Senate floor around the fourth of July.
Mitt Romney's new slogan is "Put Jobs First." Nothing could be more hypocritical -- or wrong.
The last time the Republicans had control of the White House, they gave us 25 months of massive job losses. Over George Bush's terms as President there was actually zero private sector job growth.
In contrast, President Obama's policies have given us 27 consecutive months of private sector job growth. And it would have produce millions more jobs if the Republican Congress had passed his Jobs Bill.
But, with a straight face, Romney is now trying to convince American voters to return to policies that failed to create any jobs at all. He wants to give more tax breaks to the rich, let Wall Street run wild, and hand over all income growth to the top 1%. What does he take us for?
These policies resulted in the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression just three years ago, all the while generating gigantic Wall Street bonuses and sinking middle class wages. We've been there and done that -- recently.
Romney adds to his narrative the thesis that he knows how to "create" jobs because of his years at Bain Capital -- a buyout firm that bought and sold companies for a profit. Romney was very good at making money for himself and his investors, but jobs were entirely incidental. He was perfectly happy to buy companies, load them with debt and then bleed them dry and let them go out of business -- so long as he still made lots of money. In fact, he threw thousands of people out of work while he himself always walked away a winner.
Romney made all of the same promises about job creation that he's making now back in 2002 when he ran for governor of Massachusetts. But then, when he was governor, the state dropped to 47th in the nation in job creation and manufacturing tanked.
Mitt's policies didn't work then, and they won't work now.
Let's face it, turning the keys to the economy over to a Republican that completely shares the economic policies of the Bush Administration is like handing over the keys of a tanker to the captain of the Exxon Valdez.
What was it George Bush tried to say? Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
So, with no record of creating jobs in the public sector at all -- and supporting policies that demonstrably failed to create jobs just three short years ago -- Mitt Romney has brazenly joined with his fellow Republicans to actively sabotage American job growth in order to win the election.
If he can't demonstrate that he has a record of creating jobs, I guess Romney figures the next best thing is to destroy the jobs that have been created by his opponent.
Romney's is betting that he voters won't notice that they guy who claims he's racing in with the fire hose is the same one that set the fire. We can't let that happen.