On his Friday “Real Time” program during the online “Overtime” portion, Bill Maher offered a theory as to why the economy isn’t growing overall, even though certain metrics show improvement.
Maher cited data from the International Institute for Labour Studies, which reported last week that U.S. corporate profits have returned to pre-recession levels of about 15 percent of GDP, while wages and investment remain stagnant in comparison. According to Maher, these statistics reveal a deliberate effort by conservatives to pin a sluggish economy on President Barack Obama.
Maher’s guest, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, had blamed Obama’s policies, along with the 81-year-old Davis-Bacon Act — which sets prevailing wages for public works projects — for problems plaguing the economy.
“In the big picture, Grover — like, I just read this week that corporate profits are back to their pre-recession levels, 15 percent of GDP,” Maher said. “And, yet, they have given no money to raising wages, nothing to reinvesting. It looks like maybe they, along with the Republican Congress, want to keep a sluggish economy so that ‘blackie’ [doesn’t get reelected]. Isn’t that a bigger issue to you than Davis-Bacon? I am all over Davis-Bacon from now on.”
Norquist argued that the president’s policies had helped create an atmosphere toxic to economic growth.
“Free-market advocates pointed out that if you threaten the economy with taxes and regulation, as has been done, people will not invest in the economy,” Norquist said. “People are investing outside of the United States more. We ought to have a better atmosphere here for investment and job creation, and then both companies that have money here and foreigners should be investing in our country. You talk about immigrants that won’t come to this country. They’re not sending their money here, either.”