Since Mitch McConnell became the de facto leading man in the Senate, he’s been touting a message about the strong economy. McConnell has been selling us the idea that the fairly strong economy of the second half of 2014 was in part due to expectations of a Republican controlled Congress. Said another way, the GOP takeover of Congress stimulated the economy. Is that really possible?
It depends on who you ask. Most economists would point out that economic growth takes a long time to show up. This is way the recovery has been so long. If a quick change in political leadership would have saved us from a recession, we could have avoided a lot of trouble. There are some economic indicators that jump around when there’s big news. And Republicans would argue most people assumed the Senate takeover months prior to the election. There are arguments to be made here. But, on the flip side, Republicans are no better for the economy than Democrats. They just have different views on how to make the economy strong.
But the truth is, everyone in Washington likes to think they can do more for the economy than is possible. If things are good, they’ll tout their own efforts. When bad, they’ll blame the other party. While Washington can impact the economy, our long recovery is perfect evidence that there’s not much they can do one way or the other.
Check out some soundbites from economists across the political spectrum about McConnell’s theory over at Politico.