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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 10:52 AM ET, 10/07/2011

The ever-rising `uncertainty’ bar

The economy added 103,000 jobs in September — some 137,000 added jobs in the private sector were offset by more shrinkage in the public sector, which shed 34,000 local government jobs. Matthew Yglesias observes:

The conservative story about the Obama economy seems to be that an overweening state is holding the private sector back. But the reality is that the public sector is shrinking. This shrinkage is exactly what conservatives claim to believe will spark growth once they bring the era of Kenyan Anticolonialism to an end. But it’s already happening in a modest way, and has been happening for a year and a half, and it keeps not delivering any private sector magic.

Yglesis asks: What’s the conservative explanation for this? And Steve Benen has more along these lines.

I’d only add that the question can be broadened. It isn’t just that state governments are shedding jobs. Spending from that “job-killing” stimulus is winding down across the board. Dems agreed to the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which conservatives claimed would help the economy. Dems agreed to deep cuts in spending, which conservatives claimed would send a signal that would restore business confidence. Dems have prioritized deficit reduction over jobs creation, agreeing to the creation of a deficit supercommittee that will likely cut entitlements, and have specifically done so while embracing the conservative argument that signaling this set of priorities would restore the confidence and certainty necessary to create jobs. And we’re still where we are.

No, conservatives haven’t gotten everything they want. The hated “job-killing” Obamacare is still in effect. The EPA has not been closed down for good. Obama and Dems have not agreed to make the Bush tax cuts permanent until the end of the new millenium. Obama and Dems are still talking about tax hikes on corporations and the rich. That continuing talk, conservatives insist, along with “Obamacare” and remaining government regulations, continue to strangle the recovery by creating lingering uncertainty.

And herein lies the beauty of the “uncertainty” argument. Even if conservatives are getting their way on a number of prescriptions they themselves say will restore certainty, there’s always something else that Obama and Dems are responsible for that is continuing to hold back the economy with still more uncertainty. The Dems’ hold on power itself — their very existence — continues to cause it! In other words, you can keep raising the “uncertainty” bar indefinitely.

By  |  10:52 AM ET, 10/07/2011

 
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