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Cartoons November 4, 2010 //  by  // 9 Comments

Landslide GOP victories bring surprise

The results of the midterm elections Tuesday are almost completely in and the outcome was an enormous surprise.

The results tell us that the country as a whole voted more conservatively. How on Earth could this happen? Don’t Americans realize that our current president has already accomplished so much that he should be regarded as the best president in history?

If you take the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into consideration, conservative voting makes sense. This government stimulus bill saved our country’s economy from collapsing. Sure, the current unemployment rate is still at 9.6 percent — but everyone knows that’s President Barack Obama and his party’s fault.

Many Tea Party and Republican candidates touted issues like jobs during the midterm races that would decide this election. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was the one to refrain, “Where are the jobs?” shortly after the stimulus was passed.

Everyone should be glad that Boehner will soon become the Speaker of the House, because he has a plan to fix the economy.

“And for all those families asking ‘where are the jobs?,’ it means ending the uncertainty in our economy and helping small businesses get people back to work,” Boehner said last night during his GOP victory speech.

Boehner has been carefully listening to the American people, unlike his president. Boehner has a plan for those worried American families — even more uncertainty.

Boehner has aggressively campaigned for extending the Bush tax cuts — tax cuts that will add $4 trillion to the deficit over ten years and $830 billion of that will go to the richest 2 percent of Americans.

This is nothing to worry about, though, and the American people know it. It doesn’t matter that Boehner or any Republican or Tea Party candidate can’t explain how they’ll make up for this loss in government revenue — what matters is that future generations won’t be buried by mountains of debt.

It also doesn’t matter that tax cuts are extremely unpredictable. When the economy is recovering or struggling to recover, Boehner and many other supporters are positive that the Bush tax cuts will instantly create jobs. That neighbor you have who has been out of work won’t be unemployed for much longer — just wait until Boehner and his republican-controlled house roll up their sleeves.

Simple logic — the kind your instincts provide for you — is what Boehner and the GOP capitalized off of. That same logic, though, is also what should have you worried. When unemployment is high because of a weak economy and there’s a weak demand for American products, instincts tell us to save all the extra cash we can get our hands on.

This good logic also has a downside, though, because businesses use it too. The companies that employ us know that business cycles and the economy can be volatile. Unexpected things happen. When they do, it behooves companies to have extra cash on hand.

Given our economic climate, our instincts should tell us that tax cuts would be wise to hold on to. Very few businesses or people don’t enjoy the ability to daydream about how they would spend a tax cut.

Boehner was savvy, though — he bypassed his instincts and logic and sold many Americans on conservative rhetoric that was based upon something completely illogical.

Boehner, along with many Republicans and Tea Party candidates used a tactic that you’re likely familiar with. Car salespeople are notorious for hounding you on the benefits and avoiding the costs. If you were considering another car from a different maker, forget about it — those cars are poor quality and less American.

Great ideas and movements sell themselves, which is why it is so surprising that the GOP and Tea Party supporters spent the most for the midterm elections. According to a story published on NPR.org, FEC data tallied by the Sunlight Foundation reported $119.2 million in spending for Republicans compared to $74 million for Democrats. Outside political groups, the US Chamber of Commerce spent $30 million alone on ads for Republicans in congressional races, according to opensecrets.org.

The re-election of Texas Gov. Rick Perry was also a huge surprise. Perry employed the same tactics that his own party used in the congressional races. It was even less surprising of Perry to use the car salesman approach.

It was no surprise that Perry started campaigning on the strong economy of Texas. The facts behind the economic strength of Texas have much to do with industries that were not affected by the recession and have little to do with anything Perry implemented.

Education is becoming the fastest growing problem for our state and Perry has no solution. Texas ranks 49th in verbal SAT scores according to the Texas Comptrollers website. Texas also ranks 36th in high school graduation rates and 33rd in teacher salaries. In 2005, Texas was the only state to cut per-pupil spending, resulting in a ranking of 40th nationally.

It won’t be a surprise when things get worse, because Texas ranks 6th in public school growth. When it comes to higher education, tuition and fees for public universities increased by 61.4 percent and 51.3 percent for community colleges during the 2002-2006 fiscal years. The spending per student in real dollars was cut by 20 percent for universities and 35 percent for community colleges in the 2002-2007 fiscal years.

But to those who follow politics closely, the midterm elections were no surprise. Many who study politics know about the pendulum effect — after the sweeping democratic victories of 2008, the pendulum was due to swing conservative.

It doesn’t matter if the policies of the current administration have worked or had positive effects, what matters is that it isn’t easily seen and — in this case — poorly communicated.

The only thing that is truly surprising is that both Republicans and Democrats have failed at solving our nation’s real problems together. The only thing either party has managed to do is re-elect themselves — and the most surprising thing of all is how Americans seem content with this.

Andrew Taylor is an economics senior and can be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com.


  • cougar MAN

    Well Mr Taylor, if you quit smoking pot every now and then, and took time to look at what's going outside of your world, you would have seen that this victory was foreseen months ago

    • Zed

      Agreed. I'd given Taylor the benefit of the doubt that he had some sanity and actually had some smarts (seriously, if you tuned into ANY news program you would've heard them mentioning/predicting that it was very likely that the conservatives would be making major gains anytime the election was brought up. You'd think any journalist worth their salt would've actually been more up to date with such information.) but I guess I was wrong now wasn't I? Oh well, now we know he really is that daft and its not just some act he puts on for the Daily Cougar.

  • Gary Packwood

    Sadly,the first comment and reply here are argumentum ad hominem (personal attacks).

    A classic logical fallacy used by bullies.

    But the author did bring out the dark-side by placing his premise at the end rather than at the beginning of the article where it belongs.
    ::
    "It doesn't matter if the policies of the current administration have worked or had positive effects, what matters is that it isn't easily seen and — in this case — poorly communicated."
    ::
    Not easily seen and poorly communicated is an effective way to describe the thoughts of many voters and the response to voters from the Obama administration.

    For example, when voters were screaming at the President for more jobs, it became apparent that many voters do not understand the role of the federal government with respect to jobs creation in the private sector.

    Since our federal government does not own or manage business organizations as happens in China, 'fiddling' with monetary policy is just about all the federal government can do.

    Or as an article in Fortune Magazine headlined this last week.

    Who can magically fix the economy? No one.
    http://yhoo.it/bKcYsh

    Lax regulations created the economic meltdown and the federal government has very few tools available to fix 'it' after 'it' is broken.

    So this week the Fed. pumped money into the system to encourage banks to move cash out into the private business community.

    I see that as a very good thing if at the same time the federal government is reminding banks they are writing their own history. A history that could and probably should be written by the U.S. Attorney General if banks are not more responsive to the need of business organizations for cash.

    The U.S. Attorney General has spent this entire last year 'smoking-out' fraud in the health care sector. Banks could be next.
    http://www.justice.gov/ag/

    Let Fox News and the tea partiers howl and the Republicans bluster and cower; the President needs to get out and talk hard-ball with CEOs about job creation and keep Treasury and the Fed at pedal-to-the-metal on taxation and monetary policy.

    And we might encourage more young people to sign-up for coursework in economics which is after all part of the CORE curriculum at… The University of Houston
    ::
    GP | Go Coogs!

    • Zed

      It's not really ad hominem attacks when its the truth. Like I said, if he had tuned into any news program, liberally or conservatively biased, it would've been mentioned that odds were the conservatives were going to win a great deal whenever the election was brought up. If he's really going to make such exaggerations then I'm going to call him out on acting like he's been living under a rock this past year.

  • cougar MAN

    Personally Gary, I think you're an ad hoc fallacy, but that's just me.
    I agree with Zed, on Andrews part it was an exaggeration and nothing but exaggeration, if he had been concerned with being "fair and non-biased" he would have placed his last paragraphs at the beginning as opposed to at the end. I suspect somebody told him at the Daily Cougar, to add those last few paragraphs, instead of having an article written by a child where all he does is whine that republicans and conservatives have a super-majority.
    oh and FYI, government especially this administration, does have a big share in business, aren't you forgetting Government Motors, oh excuse me, i mean General Motor.
    Then there's Freedie and Fannie Mae (banks just in case you don't know)
    You Must have not been paying much attention in Economics, if you're talking about the federal government dumping all this excess money in to the system, and calling that a good thing. Because any person in the business college can tell you, when you have a weak dollar and all the government is doing is printing cash, you end up with high inflation, just look at Pre-Hitler Germany, here you have the German economy in shambles their currency worth nothing and what does the government do, they print money, money and oh more money, to pay of debts, balances, etc and guess what Happens everybody in Germany becomes Millionaires!! but they still couldn't afford to buy bread or basic necessities because of all the inflation that resulted from the mass printing of currency.
    This president creating Jobs! HAHA that's rich. The same man, that promised unemployment wouldn't rise above 8% and now it's almost 11% and that's not including the people who have quit looking for jobs or people working part time jobs, because companies can't afford to hire full time and have to settle for less than what they need. The same Man, who put a moratorium on deep sea fishing for months and put every single rig worker out in the Gulf out of a job. Oh and my Personal Favorite NASA, you know i love the space program, i think it's grand, but you know he shut it down and all those jobs, that were filled with highly qualified individuals, that were doing a great job, oh their gone too, it's a real shame.
    Yeah that's the man whose going to "create jobs" he's going to have them Shovel ready for the Chinese, once he's done crippling the middle class through high taxes and job exportation.
    So yeah Gary you can call this an argumentum ad hominem all you want, because i know I'm right, and I'm not treating this subject like a college paper, that i have to turn in for my Philosophy class.
    What I think you should do, is with Mr. Taylor get together and write an article ranting about how, people are bullies, when they speak to the truth. I can already see the headline. "People should refrain from speaking truth"

    • Marisa

      well, let's see what this super majority can accomplish in the next 2 years; Jim Demint & Rand Paul have already backtracked (surpise, NOT) on lowering the deficit (the tea party's major reason for existance).

      you have made so many accusations against PrezO that i just don't have the time or inclination to respond. but here's a couple:
      1. you wanted no bail out for GM. so, putting those thousands of employees on the unemployment lines would have somehow decreased the unemployment rate, not to mention all the related/associated large & small businesses which would have gone under, more unemployment… BTW, GM has made its loan payment early & with interest (money for US); it's also about to become a public company again (price set at about $26-28/share), more money for us. It will be very soon that GM will repay its entire loan to the government (that's more money for us). so, this bail out was a success in several ways.

      • Marisa

        2. you critisized PresO for exporting jobs? sorry, im missing something here. u want government out of business, but u want government to create jobs (that's a tough one). In case u missed it, it's big business/corporations which have & still are exporting jobs. It's up to these companies to bring them back. It is, however, up to Congress to provide tax incentives to these corporations to export American jobs (which it has done). A few weeks ago a bill was introduced (by Senate Dems) to tax corporations which export jobs, and provide tax brakes for those which create jobs HERE. NOT ONE REPUB voted for this bill, NOT ONE REPUB voted for American jobs, for the Middle Class American worker! NOT ONE!!!! the bill was defeated by 53 (Y)-46 (N), b/c now we have a new minority with 59 votes (60 is the new majority). Voting for this bill was Economic Patriotism, guess the Repubs aren't patriotic when it comes to the Middle Class American worker!

  • Jed

    The Obama administration didn't effectively communicate a positive affect, because there hasn't been any to actually communicate. The idea that Obama, "The Great Orator" just didn't get his message out there, is asinine. People wouldn't need to be convinced of Obama's success, if he actually had any – other than "Obamacare", which has a large majority of Americans feeling ardently and pessimistically all too aware of.

    As far as Perry and education go, we wouldn't have a huge budget shortfalls and poor results if proof of citizenship were required before enrolling in the first place. Illegal aliens are bankrupting our school distircts and enrolling into grade levels in which they are not ready for. Federal money encourages enrollment, rather than high standards (it should be the other way around). Education as a whole as been turned into another powerful lobby, with no interest in finding real solutions, but rather insists that money will somehow fix the problem. Perry can no more be responsible for the problems of education, than he can for the resiliency of the Texas economy.

    As mentioned above, it's no surprise the GOP won big, given the historical lose the ruling party gets during midterm election. It is however surprising that the GOP gained 65 seats, nobody saw that coming, not even talking heads on Fox News.

  • Jed

    The notion that government creates jobs is a fallacy. The more government gets involved in manipulating our job market, the more we will see jobs moving over seas. The stimulus bill was one big corrupt slush fund that spent on average $300,000 per job 'saved'. The private sector could have created thousands of jobs, if we had 800 billion dollars worth of tax cuts instead. This is all common sense, and this is why the GOP victory was no surprise.

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