The End of Republican Obstruction

Leaders of America's Republican Party have switched from blaming President Barack Obama for a bad economy to demanding that they get credit for a good one. In a sense, they have a point: A year in which they stopped actively impeding economic recovery turned out to be a year in which growth in output and employment picked up.

CAMBRIDGE – What a difference two months make. When the Republican Party scored strong gains in last November’s US congressional elections, the universally accepted explanation was that voters were expressing their frustration with disappointing economic performance. Indeed, when Americans went to the polls, a substantial share thought that economic conditions were deteriorating; many held President Barack Obama responsible and voted against his Democratic Party.

Now, suddenly, everyone has discovered that the US economy is doing well – so well that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has switched from blaming Obama for a bad economy to demanding credit for a good one. Recent favorable economic data were, he claimed, the result of “the expectation of a Republican Congress.”

But the improvement in US economic performance began well before the November election. Indeed, it began well before September, when polls started to indicate that the Republicans were likely to do exceptionally well, taking control of the Senate and enlarging their majority in the House of Representatives.

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