Rep. Cantor Can't Decide Which Party Is Responsible For The Economy

June 03, 2011 9:40 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

After adding more private-sector jobs in April than any other month in the last five years, the economy stalled in May, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Predictably, Republican leaders are pouncing on the disappointing gain of 54,000 jobs as evidence that President Obama should embrace their budget-gutting approach to the economy. In a press release, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says:

Today's disappointing jobs report shows that our economy needs an injection of growth oriented policies to ensure that businesses can innovate, expand and begin hiring again. Under President Obama's watch, Washington has tied the hands of small business owners with regulations that have made it harder to grow, and has spent money that it doesn't have, leading to sustained unemployment over 8% and a national debt of more than $14 trillion. It is astounding that despite the warning signs and economic indicators, President Obama and Congressional Democrats still have failed to offer any concrete plan to create jobs, reduce our debt, or grow our economy. [...]

It's time to move away from the government stimulus spending spree and transition into growth-mode, creating an environment for America's businessmen and women to succeed and creating jobs for people who need them.

Cantor's eagerness to blame the president isn't new; it took less than six months for Cantor to fault Obama for the recession he inherited, saying, "This is clearly President Obama's economy." But more recently, Cantor has claimed that Republicans were responsible for positive economic news. In January, Cantor's office emailed reporters the following:

THERE ARE THE JOBS: Republicans Prevent Massive Tax Increase, Economy Begins to Improve: U.S. companies plan to hire more workers in the coming months amid growing optimism over the economy, a quarterly survey released Monday showed, providing further evidence that the jobs market is turning around. In the fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42% of companies interviewed, ranging from manufacturing to finance, expect to boost jobs in the six months ahead. That's up from 29% in the first three months of 2010. Only 7% in the latest survey predict they will shed jobs in the coming six months, down from 23% at the start of last year.

  And in April, Cantor tweeted:

Cantor jobs tweet

Now that the news isn't so good, however, it's conveniently all President Obama's fault again. In 2010, Republicans pinned most of the blame for the slow recovery on alleged "uncertainty" brought on by the pending expiration of the Bush tax cuts. They were mistaken, but to the extent that "uncertainty" is an issue, it's important to point out that Republicans are currently terrifying the business world by playing chicken with the debt ceiling and risking national default in order to advance their ideological agenda.