Jillian Bandes
The House Republican Leader's speech yesterday was a full-frontal attack on Obama's economic policies for the past eighteen months. Boehner stopped just short of calling Obama's policies a failure, seeking the resignation of Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, and other members of Obama's economic team. Boehner wants those men replaced with people who have "real world experience," and also advocated a continuation of Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in January.

Boehner's comments immediately provoked a response from Vice President Joe Biden, who claimed that Boehner was responsible for the crisis because he had been around duriong the Bush administration. It's true that the economy started to tumble under Bush. But it's also true that it's tumbled monumentally more since O took office, and more importantly, that the economy is a fickle beast that doesn't necessarily react to the whims of the party in power.

Regardless of what Bush did, we can look at the policies that Obama has implemented, and look at the state of the economy since then. Unemployment sucks. Government programs have been on the rise. Spending has increased, and all but the most naive optimistic economists have expressed dismay over that spending.

We aren't paying for that spending, yet -- Bush's tax cuts won't expire until January, and a host of other new taxes won't go into effect until next year. But the anticipation of those tax increases, combined with the negative effect of the policies that have been implemented, have probably contributed to a decline in the things like stock market mutual fund investment and small business growth. As national-debt to GDP ratios increase, interest rates rise, and investment is curtailed. Perhaps most convincing is the evidence coming from Germany, who is on the economic rebound after a tiny stimulus and severe austerity measures.

Then there's the psychological impact of American families cutting back while government spends more. No matter who is responsible for the current economic climate (anyone?) such policies haven't been able to provide comfort to the average workers without jobs, without savings, and without homes. That's the sentiment that Boehner tapped into during his speech, and that's why I think he won this round of economic infighting.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com


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