Two economists, one conservative-leaning and one more liberal, told Newsmax TV
on Monday that even if Republicans win a majority in the Senate in Tuesday's midterm elections, it's a stretch to expect that they will dedicate themselves to boosting the economy and creating more jobs.
"The big problem here is, I don't believe that the Republicans, when they take the Senate tomorrow -- if they do -- are going to bring a whole lot of new thinking to this," Peter Morici, a conservative economist and University of Maryland business professor, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
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Steven Stoft, a liberal economist who writes for zFacts.com, agreed, telling Berliner that Senate Republicans should, in fact, listen to economists like Morici -- but probably won't.
Morici and Stoft appeared on "MidPoint" to discuss U.S. job creation over the decades under both Democratic and Republican presidencies. Stoft argued that Democratic administrations have outperformed Republican ones on that score in the past 85 years.
Morici countered that "in terms of who creates more jobs, circumstances matter," and compared job creation under presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama to make his point.
"When Ronald Reagan took over, he had a lot of room to cut taxes that frankly Obama didn't have," said Morici. "They both took over in very similar situations. For Mr. Reagan, his unemployment peaked early in his first term at 10.8 percent, and for Mr. Obama, at about 10 percent.
"For Mr. Reagan, the economy grew over the next 21 quarters at about 4.5 percent, for Mr. Obama at half that rate," said Morici. "It's not that the [Reagan] tax cut is so superior, but he [Reagan] focused a great deal on structural impediments in the economy over regulations and things of that nature, whereas Mr. Obama has been filling up on needless regulation."
As Stoft pointed out, Morici was an early defender of Obama's first-term stimulus package for an economy staggered by the financial collapse of 2008. But Morici said the circumstances then were different.
Morici said it is "foolish to think that stimulus again would make the difference, because now we're up against some of the structural problems that President Barack Obama promised to fix, but hasn't addressed, such as the trade deficit with China."
"We really ought to be energy-independent, build [the] Keystone [XL Pipeline]," he added. "But more important than that, we ought to be drilling for oil. If we did that, we could easily create another 5 million jobs."
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Morici was hardly less critical of congressional Republicans on economic issues such as energy independence and pushing for more oil drilling in U.S. coastal waters, and he singled out House Majority Leader John Boehner.
"It would take a lot of energy and effort to do something about offshore oil, and he's not a big one for exerting energy," Morici said of Boehner. "He's just not. He's an inbox guy: 'put something in my inbox and I put it back out.'"
Morici said that a real push on the economy will probably have to wait for the next president, whether Democrat or Republican.
"If we have to put up with Hillary, she'll do a better job than Obama," Morici said of economic policy under a Hillary Clinton administration. "Obama . . . reminds me of the humanities college where I teach: they're very jealous of anybody with money and not very good at making any of it, and only good at spending other people's money."
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