A government shutdown, and the prospect of a default on the national debt, is pretty much the definition of economic uncertainty. Contracts are put in limbo. Future interest rates are unknown. A new healthcare system lies in the balance. And meanwhile, a whole host of issues that businesses need resolved in order to plan several years in advance -- environmental regulation, immigration policy, the tax code -- go almost entirely unaddressed.
These are the conditions brought upon us by a small core of Republicans who can't let go of their opposition to a law their colleagues passed three years ago. And yet, not long ago, many of those same Republicans were declaring that uncertainty is the economy's biggest threat. Let's go to the tape:
- "I believe our mission as legislators is to liberate our economy from the things that impede growth...to provide clear policies, so that innovators and entrepreneurs have the green light to move forward and create jobs, without having to worry about second-guessing from Washington." - Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), May 2011
- "The biggest problem I have, Hugh, is we don’t need a temporary economy, which means we don’t need a temporary tax rate. A permanent extension of our current tax rates would allow businesses to plan five and ten years in advance, and that’s how you build an economy.” - Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C), December 2010
- "What I hear businesses saying clear as day is that when they are uncertain about the action of government in areas of regulation and tax reform, it creates a barrier to job creation. The uncertainty lies in areas of cost projections; it slows operations and stifles growth." - Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), February 2011
- "Businesses need certainty and employees deserve to know their jobs aren’t at risk because of ill-conceived federal regulations." - Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), March 2012
- "The current pervasive lack of certainty across this country is having a remarkably negative impact on our economy and on the general trust the American people have in Washington. - Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), February 2012
- "When I'm out and about in Ohio, the job creators want real certainty, they want the lay of the land. We just had a hearing on this today, and our panel of experts said if you keep increasing regulation, and you keep having temporary fixes, you're never going to fix the underlying problem, which is the uncertainty that exists in our market today." - Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), September 2011
- "Job creators across this country have made clear that resolving policy uncertainty in Washington and reducing the costs of government rules, regulations, statutes, and barriers to trade are some of the most effective things that a Republican controlled House can do to lay the groundwork for economic recovery and job creation." - Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), November 2010
- "We must do everything possible to get government to reduce both taxes and stifling regulation so that small business owners have the confidence and certainty they need to invest in their businesses, expand operations and create real jobs." - Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), October 2010
They had the right idea, then. The sentiment would bear remembering.