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Republicans For Recession

I looked up a compilation of recessions in American history. We can debate the definition of recession, it is generally understood as a contraction in the economy, involving higher unemployment, lost jobs, layoffs. Obviously, some recessions are worse than others. I used wikipedia for these statistics, which is not ideal ,but probably accurate enough for a gloss on the issue.

Here are the listed recessions in America from 1950 until today, with the reminder that by far the worst economic period in the last 100 years, was the Great Depression of 1929, essentially the result of the laissez-faire policies of the three Republican Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. I will also list the President in office at the time the recessions began.

1953, Eisenhower. 1958, Eisenhower. 1960, Eisenhower. 1969, Nixon. 1973, Nixon. 1980, Carter. 1981, Reagan. 1990, GHW Bush. 2007, “The Great Recession,” GW Bush.

That is the list. We are not in a recession now, that is ordinarily something determined by The National Bureau of Economic Research, using specific criteria. Actually, of the six key indicators, NBER lists four of the six indicate growth. Those are Real Personal Income, Jobs, Real Wholesale Retail Sales, and Industrial Production. People can argue about this, but we are not currently in a recession, though we might be in one next year. There are some short recessions, some longer ones, and then the awful one in 2007 which lasted for years.

Back to the list, we will note that every single one of them but one, started under a Republican president. That is not coincidence. Republicans do not believe in stimulating the economy by increasing the buying power of the middle class. That is not the only factor causing a recession, but the historical data is overwhelming.

Now the Republicans are excitedly claiming that the estimated GDP decline of .9%, following a decline of 1.6% three months ago, means RECESSION! Admittedly, the word is powerful, and connotes all sorts of bad things, particularly to unsophisticated voters. With all the bad things the Republicans are doing, and the positive news on Democratic bills, they are going to hammer away at the R word.

Today, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said that he was absolutely sure that the U.S. economy was not in recession, though the outlook was “cloudy.’ It was also suggested by some economists a few weeks ago that we are “talking ourselves into a recession,” meaning that if enough people shout “recession!,” some consumers will cut back on spending so that there is a slowdown, which would lead to more cutting back, and a greater slowdown. Of course, the Republicans want the recession, or talk of it, because they don’t care about anything but winning elections right now.

I remember most of those recessions, some were worse than others, most of them were not reasons for panic. They are to be avoided, but there are natural economic cycles: inflation, then the Fed raises interest rates, and if they shoot too far, they could cause a recession. Nine recessions from 1953-2007, eight of them under Republican Presidents.

None under Clinton, whose policies Republicans swore would destroy the economy. None under Obama. None under JFK or LBJ. If there is one coming up, it certainly would not be Biden’s fault, it would be due to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Now, someone could blame Biden for the inflation, even though the pandemic, the pent-up demand, the supply chain problems, the Ukraine war, were the major causes. and so the inflation is worldwide.

But we know that none of this matters, because with the 24-hour news stations, there will be about 23 hours and forty minutes of “Recession!” and twenty minutes of explanation. Very few people understand economics; and I don’t understand all the nuances, either, but it’s all overpowered by the headlines. We could have really used a slightly better GDP number, so as not to trigger the “two negative GDPs mean a recession,” which is not the case, but fits the easy narrative that the media likes.

This is where the media really fails us. The President does not control the actions of the Federal Reserve Board, although Trump kept trying to force Powell to drop interest rates, to juice the economy to enhance his election chances. Remember that Trump said he wanted negative interest rates, and wanted a stimulus package of $3 trillion. All stupid, short-term measures designed for the only things that Trump cares about, money and winning. But the media never mentions any of that. Biden is blamed for the stimulus of 2021, and Republicans, who do not want government to spend anything on average citizens, say that this is what caused inflation, and then they blame Biden for the inflation and the recession.

All they want is to win, and advance their dreadful agendas. They just look for an entry point. Inflation. Recession. Fears of Recession. Migrant caravans. Social unrest. Wokeness. Anything. Trying to argue about economic realities and causes is frowned upon by the media, it does not get them ratings, not the way that running chyrons about “Democrats fear destruction in midterms,” or “Prices soar,” do. So they go for what sells for them. It is very frustrating, because there is a good deal in the way of good news coming from Democrats, while we hear more stories of treasonous purging of phone and computer logs by those who were planning and carrying out the coup against democracy. but it gets pushed out of the headlines and news cycle.

I would bet that half of every cable news show hour, and 90% on Fox, will be about inflation, or recession, or both. I would hope that the Democrats somehow try to focus on abortion, climate, guns, and the Republicans voting against aid to veterans out of spite. No matter what the news hosts say, just keep switching the subject.

Republicans are the Party of Recessions. They specialize in causing them. It is very rare that they can use the term as a weapon against Democrats, but they are eager to do so, to push the cultural issues off the election coverage, only to return when they have tricked enough people into putting them in power.