Good news, America. The federal deficit is shrinking faster than it has since the end of World War II, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Oddly enough, however, this good news for the country — this sure sign that the United States is finally recovering from the economic crash at the end of the Bush administration — is actually horrible news for the Republican Party, which for the past five years has pinned its hopes on defeating Pres. Obama and the Democrats by deliberately hobbling the recovery with the hope that a weak economy would benefit them politically.
Their primary strategy for stalling the recovery has been unwavering opposition to stimulative spending based on a rationale that new spending would increase the deficit. Their insistence on European-style austerity has been politically successful in that it has forced the lay-offs of millions of teachers, first responders, social-service providers and other government workers as well as the defunding of projects to build or repair highways, bridge, ports and other economically vital infrastructure project. By keeping these public sector workers and construction crews out of work, Republicans have managed to keep the unemployment rate a point or three higher than it might have been otherwise.
It does not matter to the GOP that Republicans like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower and even George W. Bush relied on government spending to spur recoveries in past recessions. It also does not matter that their austerity strategy hurts their own constituents, millions of whom have been experienced layoffs, loss of healthcare, bankruptcies and foreclosures as a result.
In earlier, simpler days, politicians might not dare risk deliberately pursuing a strategy they knew would harm their own constituents, their own voters. But Republicans today know they can can rely on Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing media apparatus to keep Republican voters misinformed — and to provide a platform for disseminating Big Lies, as GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor did in an interview on Fox last Sunday, captured below in this segment of the Rachel Maddow Show.
Rough transcript follows on the next page.