The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Mitch McConnell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitch McConnell. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The US Deficit Via McConnell Vs The Balance Dot Com




US Deficit spending is rising. The economic reality is a serious matter but fails to receive daily reminders via Cable and network news. Trump's carnival (strategically developed and nourished to coincide with major news events) consumes all major segments of television news, while dragging ratings hungry news managers and producers into a cesspool of facilitating the distraction. 

The producers and managers are becoming a modern day example of the carnival barker or the circus ringmasters: 

Image result for carnival barker
"Get you full dose of trumpism! 
The dose of Trump which will make you feel involved and informed while emblazoning pure ignorance in your brain to a point of acquiescence or simply ignoring him. Yes! Don't miss out, we have never in US History witnessed a president who so resembles your clown in chief." 
Come into the tent and watch as a president bullies a dead Viet Nam War POW and long term US Senator. Watch as he snuggles with international dictators while growing up and scowling at long standing allies. Watch him remind of the "best" US economy ever: while the Deficit is growing out of control. View him as the epitome of a metastasized president with a prototype born of Ronald Reagan. Your GOP Leader and the Worst President, I mean the least popular, I mean a president who is supported by 90 % of the nation's conservatives.

A real spectacle.
Alas, cable news...considering coverage of events which are truly newsworthy such as the floods in the Midwest, military style weapons murders, an eroding climate and higher than necessary Pharmaceutical prices. How about in depth coverage of why we pay exponentially more for medical care in the US then other industrialized nations?

Cable news managers do we really need 24/7 coverage of Donald Trump? Some of us recall going almost a full week with broadcast images of past presidents. The nation's top office was;t a cash-cow reality tv show. 

Oh we digress. How about an in-depth analysis of how the GOP devolved from a false purveyor of fiscal conservatism to the point of big sending fatcats? Fatcats who, once elected, totally ignore the wishes of their constituents.  Fiscal conservatism regarding the GO is like look back on a 1938 Ford motor vehicle and wonder if the parts are original. 

Watch and listen to Bloomberg's piece of Mitch McConnell attributing the Increasing US deficit to Medicare, Medicaid and Socials Security.  He does so without any honest regard for Trump policies. Bloomberg.

Now, counter that McConnell garbage with facts from The Balance: Current US Budget Deficit.
Three Reasons for the Current Budget Deficit
Many people blame the deficits on entitlement programs. But that's not supported by the budget. These enormous deficits are the result of three factors.
First, the attacks on 9/11 led to the War on Terror.  
Second is the impact of tax cuts.  
Lastly is unfunded elements of mandatory spending. (Must read)
Granted Mandatory Spending has a great impact on the Deficit, but McConnell and his party placing the Deficit rise sole on "entitlement " spending, is typical GOP and living the lie.

Image result for carnival barker
"Come into the tent an hear the US Senate majority leader explain the US Deficit while paving towards cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security! A once in a lifetime visit. Don't miss it!"
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Monday, January 15, 2018

"Shithole Countries" Part IV: Mia Love Admits Trump's Remarks Were Racist





It took a few days, but the Utah Representative finally succumbed to the reality Trump's Africa, El Salvador and Haiti comments were racist (and from the mouth of a racist).

Have you heard anything for Mitch McConnell? 

Watch and listen to Paul Ryan, House Speaker and third in ascendancy to the US Presidency, fold up like a guilty child a, lower his head away from the cameras and struggle through comments about Trump's racist remarks. Ryan is a full grown man, elected officials paid over $225,000 via tax dollars and he has children.  

The GOP is a shameful embarrassment to the United States.

Crooks & Liars

Rep. Mia Love Hesitantly Admits Trump's Africa 'Sh*thole' Slur Is 'Racist'

Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah on Sunday accused Donald Trump of making "racist" remarks about Haiti and African countries. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Love sidestepped the fact that Republican lawmakers had yet to forcefully condemn Trump for reportedly saying that African countries were a "shithole" and immigrants from Haiti did not deserve…
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Senate Tax Plan Before Repeal Of ACA Mandate



The following piece was developed before the US Senate inserted repeal of the Obamacare Mandate in the tax proposal


Before we get to the Center for American Progress piece, take two minutes to listen to Trump's cabinet member, Cohn, work to convince us the Estate Tax (AKA Death Tax) benefits many Americans. Cohn, in the interview, looks very much like the Greek Troy Trojan Horse.



Image result for senate tax plan details

Center For American Progress

“This material [article] was published by the Center for American Progress.”

4 Losers and 1 Big Winner in the House GOP Tax Plan






Copies of the proposed Republican tax package are carried by a House Ways and Means Committee staffer before the start of the markup session on the bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, November 6, 2017.
On November 2, House Republicans released a tax plan that would provide an enormous windfall for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. In fact, of the more than $1.4 trillion in tax cuts included in the bill over the next decade, $1 trillion would go to businesses and corporations, and nearly $200 billion would go towards reducing, and eventually eliminating, the estate tax. Millionaires would enjoy the biggest tax cuts of all thanks to the corporate tax cuts, the elimination of the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, reduced tax rates on higher incomes, and the creation of a special new loophole on so-called pass through business income.
Despite their plan’s payouts for the wealthy, House Republicans continue to claim that their plan is targeted toward benefiting the middle class. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) even promised, “At the end of the day, nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase.”
However, as this analysis shows, many middle-class and working families will see tax increases because the plan eliminates tax deductions and credits on which these families rely. Millionaires, on the other hand, would get huge tax cuts under this new plan. CAP compared the congressional tax plan’s effects on four hypothetical taxpayers who would see increased taxes from the plan, and one wealthy family who would see enormous tax cuts.
One of the harshest ways that the House plan hurts middle-class families is by eliminating the medical expense deduction, which is used by millions of families each year. This means that in years when families face high medical bills that are not covered by health insurance, many will face dramatic increases in their federal tax bill compared to current law. Table 1 shows how this change would affect one illustrative family earning $95,000 annually whose child is diagnosed with brain cancer. Their child receives surgery costing the family $46,000 from an out-of-network surgeon. Under current law, the family can deduct this cost from their income. But under the House plan, the family would not be able to claim the medical expense deduction and would also lose the ability to deduct $16,600 in personal exemptions that reduce filers’ taxable income. As a result, even after the House plan’s larger child tax credit and temporary family credit are applied, the family would owe $2,839 more if this proposed plan became law.






The House plan also cuts many higher education benefits from the tax code. While the bill’s proponents refer to these cuts as “simplification” and “reform,” in reality their plan cuts education benefits by about $65 billion over 10 years. Under the House proposal, taxpayers could no longer deduct student loan interest from their taxable income. Tuition reductions from institutions, such as those received by graduate students in return for teaching courses, would be treated as taxable income. Furthermore, the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides up to $2000 a year at tax time to individuals in a broad range of education programs, including graduate school, part-time programs, and job training programs, would be eliminated. The bill does add an additional year of eligibility to the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which can currently be claimed for up to four years to assist in paying for post-secondary degree or certificate programs. However, not all students qualify for the AOTC, including students who are enrolled less than half-time; the new fifth year expansion, moreover, only provides one-half of the value of the current AOTC.
Table 2 shows how these changes could affect a current graduate student’s tax return. This filer is pursuing a master’s degree in education while continuing to work full-time. Under current law, she can deduct her $1,000 in student loan interest payments from her taxable income, a benefit she would lose under the GOP plan. Importantly, under current law, her $1,826 tax liability before credits would be completely eliminated by the Lifetime Learning Credit. Under the House GOP plan, this student would be unable to deduct her student loan interest or receive the Lifetime Learning Credit. Even after the House GOP’s temporary family credit is applied, she would owe $1,476 more if the GOP plan was enacted.






House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) claims of the House bill: “It is for the families who are out there living paycheck to paycheck.” This is certainly not the case. House majority leaders proudly tout that their plan increases the Child Tax Credit (CTC). But some of the families who are struggling the most would fail to see any benefit from the plan.
Take a single parent working at just above the federal minimum wage, earning $16,000 annually while raising two children. Under current law, such a family lives below the federal poverty line and would not owe positive federal income taxes; the family would receive what is termed a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and a partially refundable Child Tax Credit. The House tax plan increases the CTC and makes higher-income families newly eligible for it—but it leaves out many poor families. Our illustrative family would see no increase in the CTC. And, in fact, they would see a slight decrease in their EITC of $12 because the Republican plan adjusts the EITC’s parameters using a different, and slower-adjusting measure of inflation, known as the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI).






Other working families would see modest tax cuts next year under the House bill—but those tax cuts would fade over time and turn into tax increases. For example, Table 4 shows how the plan would affect the tax bill of a married couple earning $110,000 annually and raising three children.
Under current law, this family itemizes their deductions: deducting $14,000 for their mortgage interest, $10,000 for state and local taxes, and $5,000 for their charitable donations. Under the House plan, this family would not itemize, as the House plan’s $24,400 standard deduction would be larger than their itemized deductions. The family would also lose personal exemptions worth $20,750 in 2018, due to their elimination under the House majority plan. As a result of the temporary family flexibility tax credit, this family would see a $213 tax cut in 2018. However, the family flexibility credit expires after 2022 under the bill. Reduced tax rates and an increased CTC are not enough to make up the bill’s other changes. When also taking into account the tax-raising impact of moving to chained CPI inflation adjustments, this family would see their taxes rise by $627 in 2023, with the increases growing in subsequent years.






While some lower- and middle-income families would see tax increases, the House majority plan would result in a tax windfall for rich households. Take for example a married couple earning $1,300,000 annually, $1 million of which is earned as passive, pass through business income, which is taxed at a lower rate of 25 percent under the House tax plan. This means that despite the fact that the House tax plan includes a 39.6 percent tax rate on income higher than $1 million, these millionaires would completely avoid paying that rate. In fact, their top marginal tax rate would be 25 percent. Furthermore, under the House bill, this millionaire family would still be able to deduct the state and local income taxes they pay on their passbthrough income while regular workers are denied the ability to deduct the state and local income taxes they pay on their wages. As a result, this millionaire family would see their tax liability drop by $135,488.






In sum, the House majority’s tax plan primarily cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans, not the middle class. The House majority’s plan also includes massive tax cuts for corporations, which primarily accrue to the wealthiest Americans that own corporate stock. House Republican leaders and President Donald Trump have claimed throughout this process that their plans are targeted towards helping middle-class Americans. As the examples in this column show, the House majority tax plan fails at this goal.
Alex Rowell is a research associate for Economic Policy at American Progress. Seth Hanlon is a senior fellow for Economic Policy at American Progress.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Senate Gift To The Wealthy/Lower Income Death Panel Bill Part 2








There isn't another nation on Earth with reputable medical systems, quality healthcare, and competent medical professionals wich fails to provide healthcare for its citizens. Why is the United States traveling down a path which will place 15 million in a state of no medical coverage within one year?  

Paul Ryan literally has parsed on his lips: "We promised to repeal and replace Obamacare."  I asset Ryan and his GOP have a far greater mission than fulfilling campaign promises.  

When it comes to Senate or House votes regarding healthcare or Big Pharma, I always check out Open Secrets. Herewith, is an Open Secrets review of contributions to Senator's who will eventually cast votes on repealing the ACA.

Let's also consider a perspective from a healthcare subject matter expert.

Twitter

Click on either Twitter post for a better read.

Andy SlavittVerified account@ASlavittRan Medicare, Medicaid & ACA for President Obama. , Senior Advisor. , Opinion Columnist.

As we move along the path of the GOP's growing death panels a couple of considerations are important. Fifty-one percent of a survey group indicated no interest in repealing Obamacare.  One, we pass that reality there are the horrible stories of Americans who will suffer while Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell's moneyed supporters enjoy their significant tax savings.



If you have forgotten the level to which the GOP's major constituent seeks a repeal of he ACA, you might find this Yahoo (AP) link informative. 
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Elizabeth Warren Censored From Speaking On The Senate Floor; Male Democrats Pickup Her Message

I am certain you know Donald Trump has nominated Alabama Senator Jeff B. Sessions to head the Department of Justice.  Sessions has a legislative and legal background which without debate should disqualifying any consideration for leading the nation's law enforcement from the federal level.  

Sessions's record in his home state of Alabama is so socially deplorable and overtly biased against African-Americans, he was previously denied a seat on the Federal bench.  None other than the widower of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Coretta Scott King, crafted a letter to then Senator Strum Thurmond. The letter is posted below via a friend of The Progressive Influence, Jon S. Randal.

The letter is front and center in the news based on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's virtual censorship of Fellow Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren attempted to read the letter.  

I offered a bit of background via NPR (2016).

A perspective on warren's Censorship from speaking on the Senate floor.


Jon S. Randal


Here is some background on the Coretta Scott King letter that is in the news today.
As you may have heard, Senator Elizabeth Warren was censured by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans last night for daring to read a letter written 30 years ago by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr.
The letter was opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship. Sessions, now an Alabama senator, has been nominated for attorney general. The attorney general is responsible for leading the United States Department of Justice regarding legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government.
This letter by Coretta Scott King, questioning Session's ability to be fair when he had a record of intimidating elderly, black voters, was sent to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Strom Thurmond. King asked that the letter be part of the hearing record.
It never happened. The letter never made it into the congressional record three decades ago. Thurmond, who has been accused of racism himself, never made the letter public. It just simply disappeared in 1986, and it only surfaced again when an unidentified person leaked the letter to the Washington Post before Sessions’ January confirmation hearings.
According to the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, “We should remember that this letter was somehow never made part of the official Senate Judiciary Committee record in 1986, was reportedly kept from public release by the chair of the Committee in 2017, and now has been blocked from being read aloud in prime time by the Senate Majority Leader."
"The deliberate silencing of Mrs. King’s voice for 30 years is a story of astonishing magnitude.”

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McConnell and his Republican colleagues used a parliamentary procedure to censor Senator Warren, but it is worth noting other Democrats used the same letter as a prop for their podium opposition to the Session's confirmation. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-OR, tweeted his concern with McConnell's censorship of "the woman" while allowing letter derivative reading from men in the US Senate.
.@SenatorTomUdall @SenSherrodBrown @SenSanders and I read  w/o censure. Why silence only the woman @SenWarren https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/829333470044360704 

Think Progress reports.

If there is a rational person in America who feel women get the same treatment and consideration from Republicans and Democrats, the person isn't current events nor news savvy. 

Kellyanne Conway, left, Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, Stephen K. Bannon, Reince Priebus and Stephen Miller, all members of President Trump’s senior staff, last month at the White House. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

"...all members of President Trump’s senior staff." Yes of course!


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Friday, September 30, 2016

I Hate To Blame Everything On Him And I Don't", Mitch McConnell

For the first time since President Obama took office in January 2009, the US Congress (with GOP majorities in both Houses), vote to override a presidential veto. On September 28, 2016 Congress voted to override the so-called 9/11 Bill. The bill paves a path for the families of 9/11 victims to file lawsuits against the government of Saudi Arabia. The override was both historic and overwhelming. 

The US Senate vote 97-1 to override and the House voted 348 -77 to override. The bill and its overall aura during and so near the fall elections seem to have drawn-out the height of self-preservation from the US Congress. Well, as the average adult should have realized even with a modicum of contemplation, such a bill would lead to reciprocal acts from legislators and courts in other nations. And, you and I both know the US manages to flub-up via leveling death on innocents in foreign lands.

Yes, the GOP once again led in opposition and obstruction against the nation's 43rd President.  And, the obstruction was as stupid as deciding to jump from a 50 story building and deciding half-way to the concrete pavement below.

Obama's Press Secretary stated the Administration case with classic civility and poignancy:

The Washington Post
Traveling aboard Air Force One Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the vote “the single most embarrassing thing the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983,” when Congress overwhelmingly voted to override President Reagan’s veto of an Oregon land transfer bill.
Why are Congressional leaders within 48 hours of the override speaking about the level and scope of their legislative ignorance and leadership incompetence? All the while blaming legislative malfeasance on our president.

The GOP mantra: Blame Obama. Always.

http://on.msnbc.com/2d2wF39 


What you saw and heard via the Chris Hayes, ALL IN, segment is utter ridiculous.  It is also an advertisement for congressional term limits as well as another example of GOP legislative leadership at its worse.

If you need more to bring home the reality of lsing an ally in the middle east (and one with the oil wherewithal to fund any level of terror), check out this piece from the New York Times.



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Monday, March 21, 2016

The Daily GOP Ignominious: No SCOTUS Vote If the NRA Doesn't Approve

Republican leadership is not only performing full-court obstruction against the 44th President of the United States of America, they are performing in-your-face political money-grabs against the full scope of the nation.

See if you depict any mention of the American public, as you watch and listen to 51 seconds of Mitch McConnell working on behalf of moneyed constituents and within the realm of protection regarding Citizens United contributions. According to a recent Gallup poll a majority of polled Americans favor a Garland confirmation.

McConnell's Sickening Obstruction



Of course, you didn;t find mention of the voting pulbic.  

Las December Reverb Press posted a piece that sums up the reason for GOP leadership unconstitutional obstruction against President Obama's SCOTUS nominee to replace Scalia.

The image just below is without a legend to facilitate easy discernment of the message.  If you visit the Reverb Press post below, you will find all information you need to get a bulls-eye shot of American Republicanism.





The NRA Gave These 9 Senators Over $22 Million To Vote Down Gun Laws (CHART)


The NRA and their bought-and-paid-for Senators have blood on their hands. How can not one, but three gun bills fail to pass after two horrific mass shootings in just one week? How can our GOP-run congress remain so cruelly indifferent to our grief and outrage? Since Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first graders, six teachers, and…
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

GOP Obstruction Again Moves To Full Bloom: Scalia Leaves The Court (VIDEO)

Scalia's unexpectedly leaves the Court....




What does it mean for the nation? A key question once the rational American moves beyond common GOP obstructionism, as stated by some GOP 2016 presidential candidates and Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell.

The rational person would look towards the US Constitution and very relevant SCOTUS case load and realize, the seat must be filled (yesterday).  Yet, we live in a world where a political party adopted an all-out obstruction campaign against the nation's 44th President as he was literally being inaugurated in 2009. We live with a party that went total obstruction within one year of President Obama's 2008 General Election win. Before the declaration of obstruction, planning seeds were sown at a seditious meeting in early 2009.

GOP Operative Newt Gingrich joined a group of noted obstructionist on the evening of Obama's first day in office. As the meeting closed Gingrich offered the following comment.
"You will remember this day," Draper reports Newt Gingrich as saying on the way out. "You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown."
Within two years of Obama (44), McConnell spoken openly and unabashed to the Heritage foundation (A Koch cesspool) about obstructing Obama, which aligns with obstructing the nation.



A true set of moments in US History, both perpetrated by the GOP.

As Senate Leader with Constitutional responsibility regarding the composition of the Court, Mitch McConnell again adorned his obstructionist hat and spoke.

Within hours of the announcement of Scalia's death, McConnell spoke:
"The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," the conservative leader said in a statement following the news of Scalia's death. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."
The GOP will push from leave the Court absent a Justice for to facilitate political obstruction.

We offer a couple of perspectives on Scalia's departure. Friend of the TPI, Brenda Kay Richards, offered a perspective via a Facebook post (follows next). Later in the evening, MSNBC's Ari Melber facilitated an interview that delineated the prospect of leaving the Court with an empty seat until after the fall elections 

Brenda Kay Richards
A quick thought about Antonin Scalia before calling it a night. 
It is rather fascinating for the lack of a better word, to read and observe the myriad of reactions to the death of Scalia. 
As he was in life, Scalia remains a divisive figure in death, and not surprisingly there are those who are offended and outraged by the celebratory reactions to Scalia's sudden death. Additionally, there are efforts underway to diminish, downplay and rewrite portions of Scalia's personal and professional history. The unvarnished truth is, Scalia himself helped to create the bitter, unsympathetic, harsh, unkind, uncaring, callous and hard-hearted reactions to his sudden demise. 
We are all familiar with the principles of karma: cause and effect; reap what you sow;   if you do good, you do good to yourselves likewise, if you do evil, you do evil to yourselves; tit for tat; consequences, etc.. But what we don't appreciate about these fundamental truths is - when they manifest themselves in all their unpleasant glory.It could be successfully argued that Scalia, like many individuals in positions of authority, grossly misused the power which had been given to him. Scalia was well known for his insensitive and deeply hurtful comments, statements and judicial opinions which bordered and often crossed right over into racism, bigotry, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance. 
Now I'm not going to argue about Scalia's legal mind, I will leave that discussion for individuals much more qualified and knowledgeable on that subject than myself. 
But it important to remember, Scalia seemed to enjoy and even relished being the person who was deeply disliked, even hated. He stood strong in his beliefs in the righteousness of his actions as a Supreme Court Justice, so why should any of that change now that he is dead?
End Brenda Lay Richards

MSNBC, SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein....

http://on.msnbc.com/1XqDkW2


Let's watch an obstructionist GOP enact one of its last cases of Obama Obstruction as the next few weeks unfold.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

McConnell Opens As Senate Majority Leader With A Major Case Of Chronic Veracity Deficieincy




If you take a look at the following "Big Charts" graphic, it looks like the Dow (DIJA) certainly hasn't shown an uptick. If McConnell's rhetoric had any value he should have stated the Dow looks more like a roller-coaster. Of course, such a remark would not feed those who listen to GOP rhetoric with questioning its veracity. 





Mitch McConnell set the stage for his Senate Majority leader (leadership) role with typical GOP fare. The inimitable Kentucky Senator stepped to the Senate chamber podium and delivered the most asinine and disingenuous comment. 


McConnell exclaimed the November victory in both houses of Congress induced an "uptick" in the US economy.

His claims were pure B/S, but take a look at the Dow (DIJA) since the November midterm elections. Big Charts offers an irrefutable look.




On January 9th, I posted this piece to the TPI. The reason for my posting was to pose a direct affront to McConnell's political massaging (no messaging) his supporters. A posting that provided a great deal of personal satisfaction, and posted with full knowledge a major fact-checker would deal with McConnell's B/S statement.


The Tampa Bay Times Politifact piece follows.




McConnell
A recent economic uptick appears to "coincide" with "the expectation of a new Republican Congress."
 Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 in a Senate floor speech

False

Mitch McConnell says economic uptick coincides with expectation of GOP Senate takeover

Newly installed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that good economic news coincided with the "expectation" of a GOP takeover of the Senate. Is that correct?


In remarks from the Senate floor, newly elevated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that his party’s takeover of Senate control "appears to coincide" with recent good economic news.

"After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope," McConnell said. "The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress."
McConnell stopped short of saying the Republican Senate takeover actually caused an economic improvement, though many media observers assumed that was what he was trying to imply. In the liberal New Republic, Brian Beutler joked, "It absolutely does coincide with the expectation of a new Republican Congress. Relatedly, things that coincide are called ‘coincidences.’ "


But is McConnell even right that the economic data and the political expectations coincided? We focused on two questions.


First, when did "the expectation of a new Republican Congress" actually solidify? And second, was there an uptick in economic data that actually coincided with that time frame? We’ll also briefly address the question of causation, even though McConnell didn’t explicitly claim that.

The data we found suggest McConnell is engaging in some wishful thinking.

When did "the expectation of a new Republican Congress" actually emerge?
To answer this question, we checked with political analysts who handicapped the 2014 battle for the Senate and also looked at poll-based forecasting models. McConnell said "expectation," a stronger word than "possibility" and one that requires a reasonable degree of consensus.

Going into the 2014 Senate elections, most observers expected the GOP to gain seats, due primarily to a favorable map for the GOP (far more Democrats were up for re-election, especially in conservative states) combined with the longstanding history of "six-year-itch" midterm elections bedeviling second-term presidents, in this case Democrat Barack Obama.


But whether the GOP would actually manage to win enough seats to seize control of the chamber -- six -- was less certain. Going into the election, the Democrats held a 55-45 edge (counting two Democratic-caucusing Independents as Democrats). With many individual races rated as highly competitive right through Election Day, winning a net six seats was no slam dunk.

Jennifer Duffy, who handicaps Senate races for the Cook Political Report, said different political experts settled on a Republican takeover at different times but added that she felt "pretty comfortable with a gain of six seats around Labor Day," which was on Sept. 1 last year.


Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, agreed that Labor Day was a turning point, though he added that "there were slivers of doubt right up until the end. We formally called the Senate for the Republicans the week before the election, but we also suggested that a GOP Senate was likely in the months prior to the election."

The forecasters at fivethirtyeight.com suggested the toss-up lasted past Labor Day. They calculated the likelihood of a GOP takeover at just over 50 percent as late as mid September, before rising again, ultimately to 76 percent on the eve of the election. The New York Times in-house forecast saw much the same pattern, narrowing to essentially a coin flip in mid September before climbing to a 75 percent chance of a GOP takeover by Election Day.
All told, this suggests that an "expectation" of a GOP takeover didn’t emerge until the beginning of September at the earliest, and possibly as late as the second half of September.

This leads to our next question.

Has there been an economic "uptick" that "appears to coincide" with this timeline?
McConnell’s office pointed us to the announcement that the economy grew at an annualized 5 percent rate in the third quarter of 2014, the biggest expansion in more than a decade. So we’ll start there.
The figure was indeed impressive. But there are two problems with citing this as evidence for McConnell’s point.

First, the third quarter covers July, August and September. So the bulk of this growth occurred before the expectation of a GOP Senate began to jell. Second, GDP growth for the second quarter -- covering April, May and June of 2014 -- was almost as impressive, 4.6 percent. And that was well before the "expectation" of a GOP takeover seemed to take hold. (In fact, for much of that quarter, the New York Times model showed the Democrats likelier to win control than the Republicans.)

Indeed, the longer-term trend for GDP growth shows that three of the past five quarters -- that is, since mid 2013 -- have exceeded 4 percent growth, and another quarter came close to that. Only one quarter, the first quarter of 2014, was a dud. So it’s not as if the impressive third-quarter growth of 2014 came totally out of the blue.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

We also looked at another major yardstick for the economy -- the monthly change in employment.

During 2014, total monthly employment gains averaged 241,000. In October -- the month after the "expectation" of a GOP takeover would have taken hold -- the gain was almost exactly that, 243,000. The November total was 321,000 -- the highest of the year, but not far out of line when compared with the general trend for job creation since early 2011 (see chart below). It’s too soon to tell whether November’s figure kicks off a new, higher threshold or whether the number settles back again into the 240,000 range.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The strongest evidence for McConnell’s point is consumer confidence. The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment did experience an uptick between November and December, but even with this measurement, confidence had been rising consistently since July.
And other evidence actually points in the opposite direction. Data for new orders of capital goods -- a good statistic for gauging how much confidence there is in future economic conditions -- actually fell every month between August and November.
The question of causation

Even if the statistical timeline fit perfectly, it’s worth remembering that correlation does not equal causation.

"I don't think that either party has that much power to affect short-run economic movements, except by royally screwing up, and I haven't seen any evidence that theexpectation of a regime change of this sort would affect economic outcomes," said Tara Sinclair, a George Washington University economist.


It’s even possible to draw up a theory that runs the opposite direction as McConnell’s linkage.

Gary Burtless, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said one reason GDP and employment have increased a bit faster in recent months "is that government investment, government consumption, and public employee payrolls have recently been rising instead of falling." Given this, McConnell’s comments linking the GOP and accelerated economic growth are ironic, Burtless said, since Republicans have been at the forefront of cutting government spending and payrolls.

Our ruling
McConnell said a recent economic uptick appears to "coincide" with "the expectation of a new Republican Congress." Even leaving aside the question of causation, key statistics show that the economic recovery was under way well before September, which is our best estimate for when the "expectation" of a GOP Senate solidified. We rate the statement False.
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