Rationalizing ridiculous reasoning

RATIONALIZING RIDICULOUS REASONING…. For all the heat the Obama administration takes on its business practices, it’s hard to understand what detractors are complaining about, exactly.

Over the last two years, the financial industry has seen bluer skies than most — massive bonuses have returned to bailed out banks, corporate profits have soared, the private sector is where nearly all of the new jobs are being created, and all of the major investment indexes are way up. The administration even managed to rescue the American automotive industry.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was asked the other day to reconcile real-world developments with Republican rhetoric. Kyl’s creative answer is one we’re likely to hear again.

Here’s the exchange between the conservative senator and Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt.

HUNT: Let me talk about the Obama administration and business. Corporate profits are soaring. Goldman Sachs named 110 new partners. Bonuses are flowing. S&P has risen more than in any three-year period since the tech bubble. General Motors is — the IPO. This isn’t an anti-business administration, is it?

KYL: I would contend that, for the last two years, it’s been highly anti-business. Some of the results that you just talked about, I suspect, are coming from the fact that we extended tax rates that the president did not want to extend, but was willing to do so at the end of the year last year.

HUNT: But, of course, all these things happened before that.

KYL: No, all these things are, I think, partially a — a result of the knowledge now that taxes are not going to be raised in the next two years.

I have to wonder if even Jon Kyl believes his own rhetoric on this. For two years, the senator has argued that the Obama administration’s policies were bad for businesses. While those policies were being implemented, businesses fared pretty well, and profits soared.

Asked to explain how this is possible, Kyl believes a tax policy that wasn’t crafted until December can explain private-sector growth for the previous 11 months.

In other words, business leaders in, say, March 2010 could see into the future, accurately predict a tax policy that would be drawn up in December 2010, and then shape their practices accordingly — in the process making Republicans responsible for private-sector growth, even while they were complaining that government policies were preventing such growth.

When Kyl wonders why some find it hard to take him seriously in policy debates, he should refer back to this argument.