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Mitch McConnell says Senate Republicans traveled back in time to fix the economy

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to kick off the Senate's work this morning by giving everyone something to laugh about. In his floor statement he observed that "after so many years of sluggish growth, we're finally starting to see some economic data that provides a glimmer of hope." True enough. And then "the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration's long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress."

In other words, thank Mitch McConnell for the good news.

Which is fine, except that while it's true that we got some great economic news on December 23, what the news actually said was that the economy grew really quickly back in the second and third quarters of 2014. That is, growth in April-June was good and growth in July-September was even better.

The truth is we are usually much too quick to attribute short-term economic trends to the occupant of the White House. Obama didn't deserve anywhere near all the blame that Republicans heaped on him when growth was weak, and he certainly doesn't deserve all the credit for the rebound. But the new GOP Senate majority deserves no credit whatsoever for events that occurred months before their election win.