Sunday, November 6, 2011

Are You Better Off Now?

Speaker Boehner recently previewed some of the Republican Party's strategies for the 2012 election when he posed the question above -- used prominently by Ronald Reagan in 1980 when he ran against President Jimmy Carter. Use of this mantra has been echoed by many during the current Republican opposition debates as well.

A poll taken by The Washington Post recently revealed that the economy and jobs was the primary focus for 56% of the electorate. Most other issues paled next to that. The President has been trying to get some jobs bills through Congress. The Senate has recently voted down three bills which would have provided employment for both public and private sector employees. Boehner claims that options he labeled "jobs bills" but which was Republican-directed House legislation actually focused toward regulatory and tax issues more than job creation, are languishing without consideration by the Senate. I am beginning to wonder just how much longer this charade and macabre dance can continue. The American public obviously wants real action, not shadows of legislation. The unemployed need real jobs, not straw figures masking real legislation. The unemployment figures did show a slight dip with growth in the private sector jobs market and now stands at 9%, which is still way too high.

On Sunday November 6, ABC's show This Week with Christiane Amanpour offered a roundtable discussion. The conservative columnist George Will applauded the loss of public sector jobs. His push for smaller government across the country is so short-sighted. Any loss of jobs hurts our economy. What he and other conservatives do not seem to appreciate is that the public sector is dropping employment because of what is happening on the national scene with an unstable economy. When people lose jobs they also lose their ability to pay their bills and their mortgages. The tax bases of cities then also decline as houses go into foreclosure and real estate values plummet. The city then has to decrease the numbers of employed persons it hires and further lowers real income in its area. The refusal of the Republicans to approve any real job creation legislation because it might help the President is mean and might well backfire, especially if the Democrats can hang this ball around their neck.

But if one looks outside the economy, some significant changes did occur since Barack Obama was elected. However, it has been increasingly difficult to mark any major legislation since the Republican House Tea Party majority was chosen. They spent recent weeks trying to limits rights for American women, even as we are fighting for them in other countries, and reaffirming our national motto. Why should they continue to be paid?

Some of these major changes already in place include:
  • The continued but gradual implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform – ACA).
  • Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed.
  • Troops are on their way home from Iraq for the holidays -- the war is ended!
  • Student Loan programs have been modified.
  • Lilly Ledbetter Law has passed with legislation for pay equity for women.
  • Two more women have been appointed to the Supreme Court.
  • Wall Street excesses have been modified; Dodd-Frank has been implemented.
  • A consumer protection agency (without Elizabeth Warren, sadly) has been put in place and is making a difference.
  • Credit card fees have been restrained (did you note that BOA backed off their debit card charges after consumer protests?)
  • Modest relief has been offered for those with homes under water -- now if the banks will only agree to refinance these loans...!
  • The American auto industry has been rescued, revitalized and restored, allowing millions of hourly wage workers to have employment.

So, in conclusion -- I would say emphatically -- the Democrats have been and are continuing to make a difference despite the efforts of the Republicans. Some do fail to remember their history lessons regarding the turmoil when FDR came into office and just how long it took to turn the economy around -- with a compliant Congress! Effecting economic change has been likened to turning a battleship around in a small channel -- something best done carefully and in incremental steps, that keep it from running aground.

Are we better off now than we were in 2009 when President Barack Obama was elected? Absolutely! Look at the Stock Market report for the date of his inauguration: Dow was at 7948 ... do you remember those days?

This past week, even with the pressures of continued concerns in Europe -- an issue America cannot control -- the very same DOW closed at 11,983 -- an increase of some 400+ points from that date three years ago when Obama took office. Certainly this is an objective measure even those opposed to the Democrats can appreciate -- in their wallets. So the fact remains -- some are better off -- and some are not. Those who have are trying their best to maintain and widen these divides. It is up to the rest of us to say NO. What is your opinion? Comment here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed prior to posting.