Epic Fail

Governor Bob McDonnell Removes All Doubt…

...that he is an idiot.

During his appearance on CNN's State of the Union this weekend, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell made the hilarious claim that Republican governors such as himself deserve the credit for economic recovery, not the policies of the Obama Administration.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), a Mitt Romney surrogate, said Sunday that the improving economic situation is thanks to Republican governors, not President Obama.

"Look, I'm glad the economy is starting to recover but I think it's because of what Republican governors are doing in their states. Not because of the president," McDonnell said on CNN's State of the Union.

"It's been a complete failure of leadership," he said of Obama.

McDonnell added that Romney is "on a roll" and that the electoral "math is lining up very well for" him after his resounding victory in Saturday's Nevada GOP contest.

Aside from the obvious, there's just a few problems with McDonnell's assertion. Mainly, the fact that the economy would be in much better shape if Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country weren't choosing to balance their budgets by firing massive amounts of public employees while also passing new tax cuts for corporations.

Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities elaborates.

Here’s one reason we’re stuck in slow growth mode: the budget crunch among state and local governments.

The figure shows the yearly percentage point contribution to or subtraction from real GDP growth from the state and local sectors since the late 1980s. The trend bounces around but the recent cliff dive is evident. It’s also why we keep losing jobs in these sectors month after month.

Unlike the feds, states have to balance their budgets every year, which means they either raise taxes or cut services. They haven’t done much on the tax side, so they’ve been laying off teachers, cops, maintenance workers; practically every month over the past few years we’ve been adding private sector jobs and shedding public sector jobs.

In a very real sense, what you have here is a microcosm of austerity measures at work in cities and towns across the country. Moreover, this drag on growth is avoidable. One of the most successful parts of the Recovery Act was state fiscal relief, as those dollars went directly to preserving state and local jobs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) buoyed state governments for a time and prevented the layoff of millions of public employees, but now that the stimulus has faded the states are balancing their budgets by firing those who the stimulus previously spared a pink slip.

McDonnell may be able to get away with making such a claim in Virginia where the economy is doing fairly well thanks, in large part, to the particular industries that call Virginia home, such as the defense industry, but I doubt the citizens living under the buffoonery of Governors Rick Scott, Scott Walker, and Rick Snyder would agree.

Republican Governors Rick Scott and Scott Walker, and elements of the Snyder Administration, have flatout rejected federal aid that would boost local employment. And Wisconsin, Scott Walker's domain, is the only state in the union to post job losses 6 months in a row.

The gross failure of Republican governors elected during the Tea Party surge of 2010 are going to personally hand the 2012 election to the president. And it's not because they've presided over some great recovery.