There's a conspiracy theory floating around some of the fever swamps on the right that goes something like this: President Obama's economic policies aren't merely misguided; his policies are designed to hurt the economy in order to bring about a more socialist state and consolidate power. "This is a well thought out plan to collapse the economy," as Glenn Beck has said.

Now a similar charge is being made against Republicans--not by a left-wing radio talk show host, mind you, but by the Senate's Democratic leadership. Here's Chuck Schumer theorizing today at a press conference on why Republicans are opposed to short-term payroll tax cuts:

John Boehner called it a gimmick, Paul Ryan called it sugar high. Lamar Alexander and Jeb Hensarling both criticized it as short-term stimulus -- apparently that's a bad thing. Would Republicans really oppose a tax cut for business that created jobs? This is sort of beyond the pale. So if they'd oppose even something so suited to their tastes ideologically, it shows that they're just opposing anything that would help create jobs. It almost makes you wonder if they aren't trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain.

At least Beck has the courage to be straightforward about his conspiracy theory, while Schumer couches his with a craven "it almost makes you wonder..."

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