“Europe,” The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent warns, “is about to become central to the 2012 campaign. Only this time, it will be Democrats who are using ‘European’ as an epithet against Republicans.” Sargent then links to a New York Times item reporting:
In a new line of attack, top Democrats are arguing that Mitt Romney and the Republicans, with their focus on spending cuts, are following Europe’s austerity-first example, to dismal effect so far: Greece over the edge; Italy, Spain, Portugal on the edge; Britain in recession; and the United States suffering through a needlessly weak recovery because of government cuts.
Former President Bill Clinton offered the clearest version of the case on Monday night, when, introducing Mr. Obama at a fund-raiser in New York, he listed the steps that Mr. Obama had taken to spur the economy, and then asked: “Why aren’t things roaring along now? Because Europe is in trouble and because the Republican Congress has adopted the European economic policy.”
But, as The Washington Examiner editorial pointed out Thursday, Clinton and the Democrats have their facts wrong. Spending cuts have not been the main drivers of Europe’s austerity policies. Tax hikes have. And there is only one party advocating higher taxes going into this falls election: the Democrats.
Just look at Greece (unemployment rate 21.7 percent) which hiked its value-added tax by 77 percent. Spain (unemployment 24.3 percent) raised its investment tax by 44 percent, and Portugal (unemployment 15.2 percent) raised income taxes on the rich and the value-added tax on everybody.
And now Obama, in his latest ad, is urging Congress to approve his plan “to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more.”
There is only one country in Europe that attempted to cut their debt with spending cuts only, like Republicans want to do: Sweden. Their economy is now growing much faster than the United States (5.6 percent) and their unemployment rate is lower too (7.4 percent). “We have a laboratory experiment going on for what the Republicans want to do here, and that’s Europe,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told the NYT. He’s right. Do Americans want to be deeper in debt and unemployed like the Greeks? Or in the black and working like the Swedish? This is a question Romney should embrace.
Money: Romney and the Republican National Committee out raised President Obama and the Democratic National Committee for the first time last month, according to figures released by all involved. Romney and the RNC raised a combined $76.8 million in May, which is nearly as much as the presumed nominee brought in during the GOP primary season. Obama and the DNC amassed $60 million in what was their best month so far.
Polls: A new Purple Strategies poll of 12 swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin) finds Obama up by 2 points overall, but Romney winning in Florida and Ohio. And a new EPIC/MRA poll out today shows Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in a statistical tie in Michigan, with Romney edging the president 46-45 percent.
Obama: Former President Bill Clinton apologized to President Obama for appearing to suggest that now was not the best time for European-style austerity tax hikes on the rich. The Washington Examiner‘s Charlie Spiering reports that Obama has hosted 28 celebrity fundraisers since he announced his reelection. And Nevada’s largest and most powerful union, the Culinary Union, is threatening to sit the November election out unless Democrats help with their current contract negotiations.
Romney: Campaigning in Missouri, Romney called the Obama economy “a moral failure of tragic proportions.” And Romney launched a new ad today touting the fact that he reduced unemployment in Massachusetts to 4.7 percent.
Texas Senate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry was booed and shouted down at the Republican state convention after he told the audience to support Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst over Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, No Hint From the Fed of Taking New Steps: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cited significant risks to the U.S. economic recovery but stopped short of signaling Fed action to combat them, during testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday.
The Washington Post, Spain, E.U. appear closer to working out aid agreement: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Thursday that he was in talks with fellow European leaders about shoring up this nation’s troubled financial system, with a deal possibly taking shape behind the scenes that could see Madrid ultimately receive what some have dubbed a “bailout lite.”
The New York Times, Approval Rating for Justices Hits Just 44% in New Poll: Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News.
U.S. News, Most Americans Have Never Heard of Bain Capital: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last month found that 9 percent felt positively toward Bain, 19 percent negatively, and 19 percent were neutral. That left more than 50 percent of people who either had no idea who Bain was, or weren’t sure.
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis finds evidence supporting Romney’s claim that Obama was distracted from the economy by health care.
At RedState, Ned Ryun urges conservatives to take Wisconsin-style reforms nationwide so they can “bleed the taxpayer-funded unions dry.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay looks at Obama’s record and advises conservatives to call his bluff on Taxmageddon.
New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait accuses Romney of lying about Obama’s choice to focus on health care and not the economy.
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein claims that Obamacare was a focus on the economy since Democrats believed it would reduce long-term deficits.
The New Republic‘s Rich Yeselson examines “The Long, Slow Death Spiral of America’s Labor Movement.”