reported by the Washington Post last week, the economy continues to be a problem.After awhile, bad news about the economy hardly seems like news. Twenty-somethings like myself expect bad news and why should we not? As
Last month, only 18,000 jobs were created. Given that our unemployment rate is well over fourteen million, that is nowhere near enough help to those who cannot provide for themselves. Given what few positions have opened up will go to those who have decades of experience and advanced degrees, bachelors degree holding children of the mid to late 1980s continue to be left to rot.
Of course, politics would not be politics unless some blame went around. Enter Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader who has been outspoken as to who deserves blame for the bad economic status quo. On several occasions, Senator Reid has blamed the previous administration. To be fair, some of these criticisms happened during the Bush Administration, albeit in the latter months when Democrats had taken control of Congress.
“The Bush-McCain economy has now shed jobs every month of 2008; it is well past time for this Administration to work with us to extend unemployment insurance, and Bush-McCain Republicans must do more than offer the same failed economic strategy that got us into this mess in the first place,” said Reid in June of 2008.
“As we celebrate the victory of President-elect Obama, this news that the unemployment rate has reached a 14-year high of 6.5 percent is the latest reminder of the many challenges confronting our nation,” said Reid not long after Barack Obama was elected.
We know from his remarks that Senator Reid of Nevada ascribes blame for the bad economy on President George W. Bush and considered the 6.5 percent unemployment rate to be the product of “failed politics of the Bush administration.” However, after Obama was sworn in the economy did not improve; in fact, right about now that 6.5 percent looks pretty desirable.
Now that the economy is even worse off than it was under Bush, now that stimulus packages and bailouts have come and gone and we are still looking into a bleak fiscal future, who does Reid blame now? Based on statements made in 2010, one can see who he does not blame:
“We know who’s responsible. The reckless Wall Street banks that gambled with our jobs, and lost’ the ruthless insurance companies that denied health care to the sick; the irresponsible oil companies that pollute our planet and then resist the clean-energy economy we’re trying not just to build – but that Nevada will lead.”
Just to clarify, when President Bush was in office all the economic woes of our society were the product of his “failed policies.” Yet now that Bush is out and Obama is president, all of a sudden its not the president’s fault after all. Rather, it’s a more complex series of villains who deserve our contempt.
It’s a classic double-standard for pundits who play the culpability game. How much credit or blame an administration gets for good or bad business days depends on the political affiliation of the figure head. Another dimension for Reid’s usage of this double-standard is the state he represents in Congress. Under the Bush Administration, Nevada had an economic decline yet it still remained better off than some states. Because of this decline, Reid blamed Bush. During the Obama Administration, Nevada’s economy only got worse, and now they have according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the worst economy of all 50 states.
Does Reid blame Obama for this record downturn? Of course not, why should he? More to the point, this entire downward economic trend occurred during Reid’s tenure as Senator. So does Reid blame himself for this record downturn? Once again, the answer is obvious.
(Minor aside: Pro-gambling activists and many libertarians love to talk about legalizing various vices because they claim it will improve the economy. If so, then how come Nevada, the one state that has both legalized gambling and prostitution, also has the highest unemployment rate?)
Apparently whenever the economy was bad under Bush it was his fault, but when the economy is even worse under Obama, its not his fault. And when the economy is really bad in Nevada under Reid, its not Reid’s fault either. Outrage loses it potency when people realize its selectivity.
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