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Republicans Need to Remember Hoover
Reporters use "corporate layoffs" as shorthand for job cuts in the banking and auto industries, and by companies such as Home Depot, Sprint Nextel and Starbucks. The term, however, doesn't come close to capturing the extent to which pink slips devastate households with mouths to feed.
Behind those huge, sterile unemployment numbers are children, shaken by the despair in the faces of laid-off moms and dads.
Grandchildren are hearing whispered dinner table conversations about grandparents whose losses in 401(k) savings will force them to postpone retirement.
And young adults aren't blind. They see the closed stores in the mall. They have classmates who are losing their homes because the mortgages can't be paid. They hear the stories of neighbors looking for work and not finding any.
Nearly 5 million people are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. "These are not just numbers on a page," Obama said the other day. They are working people with families "whose lives have been disrupted."
The pain of this recession was apparently lost on Boehner and his House Republicans.
Their public fretting over the future impact of deficits on today's children and grandchildren is disingenuous.
In truth, what really gets them hot and bothered is the thought of government taking on more responsibility to fight this deepening recession, and the huge amount of public spending it will take to pull the economy out of the doldrums.
It so happened that the Republican standard-bearer in the 1920s, Herbert Hoover, felt that way, too.
Hoover's distaste for government, and his belief that business was the answer to the country's economic tailspin, got Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected president in 1932.
In their slavish devotion to Hooverism, today's Republicans are repeating the mistakes that banished their party to the political wilderness in the '30s.
Boehner and his colleagues should worry less about what today's children and grandchildren will inherit from an Obama administration and spend more time trying to undo the present-day lessons taught by business chieftains, to wit, that: