Yesterday’s socialist initiative has become an act of economic genius … in the eyes of many political observers.
I am confused.
Barack Obama became president of the United States in 2009 and went to work immediately to look for ways to rescue an economy in free fall. We were shedding tens of thousands of jobs each month. Unemployment was climbing toward 10 percent. The new president had to act quickly.
He and Congress managed to cobble together a massive bailout program. It helped shore up banks, the auto industry, the airline industry. Congressional Republicans and their friends in conservative media called it the most dangerous lurch toward socialism in American history.
The world was ending. Earth was going to spin off its axis. The sky would fall on us. The world as we knew it would end.
None of that happened. President Obama acted decisively, as did Congress. The loans sent out were paid back with interest. Job growth mounted. Unemployment fell. We began to pay down the federal budget deficit. The economy recovered.
Barack Obama left office in 2017. Donald Trump took over. Trump inherited a robust economy. Job growth continued. Joblessness fell to historic lows.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic that hit early this year.
People started getting infected with a disease. Then citizens began to die. Businesses shut down. Workers got furloughed. Cities, counties and states issued stay at home orders. Our streets fell silent.
The government then had to cobble together another stimulus package. This one totaled $2.2 trillion. The checks are in the mail. Billions went to businesses.
Where, I have to ask, are the accusations of a socialist initiative? Where is the righteous indignation and anger among conservatives that the government is grabbing private industry by the throat?
Remember that this initiative came from a Republican president, was approved by a GOP-run Senate as well as by a Democrat-run House. Some Democrats yammered that the bailout was too friendly to big business and doesn’t do enough for working families. However, it sailed through Congress with a bipartisan approval.
Times have changed, yes? Actually, not as much as some would have us believe. The opposition party in 2009 comprised a lot of fear-mongering demagogues. Today’s opposition resists on vastly different grounds but in the end it signed on to do the right thing.