One year ago, President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act, a bill featuring a mixture of tax cuts and spending increases designed to boost employment, particularly at the state and local government levels. It was a good plan, according to New York Times Op-Ed columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who said it was “just what the doctor ordered.”

The problem, however, is that it never passed Congress; like many initiatives Obama’s tried to get Congress to approve, the jobs bill was blocked. Republicans, of course, say they do not want to increase spending. They’re all about cuts, cuts and more cuts. And now that the GOP has prevented Obama’s plan from coming to fruition, Republicans are attacking the president’s policies for the disappointing jobs numbers released Friday.

It’s all part of a Republican strategy that Krugman has dubbed “obstruct and exploit.” Evidently, it also includes the tenet, “do one thing but say another.”

Paul Krugman via The New York Times:

Think of it as a two-part strategy. First, obstruct any and all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness for political gain. If this strategy sounds cynical, that’s because it is. Yet it’s the G.O.P.’s best chance for victory in November.

…Right now Mitt Romney has an advertising blitz under way in which he attacks Mr. Obama for possible cuts in defense spending — cuts, by the way, that were mandated by an agreement forced on the president by House Republicans last year. And why is Mr. Romney denouncing these cuts? Because, he says, they would cost jobs!

This is classic “weaponized Keynesianism” — the claim that government spending can’t create jobs unless the money goes to defense contractors, in which case it’s the lifeblood of the economy. And no, it doesn’t make any sense.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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