As the Democratic National Convention gears up to officially kick off on Tuesday night in Charlotte, N.C., the question being asked by the national audience is: Will they deliver? The Republicans had their chance to tell us why they should be given another turn at the helm after one of their own, George W. Bush, left inarguably one of the worst economic disasters since the 1930s Great Depression.
That was four years ago, and the GOP’s argument is the current president did not fix the massive problems Bush left in his wake. No, correct that: They have never admitted that Bush was responsible for the country’s deep economic woes, just that Obama hasn’t worked the miracle they expected him to perform. The irony is lost on them—that you cannot claim one without admitting the other existed.
The new Republican slogan is “Are You Better Off” now than four years ago. Apparently, they have moved on from the convention’s “We Built It.” The problem with this new chant, as well as the old one, is that they are downright disingenuous. The “we built it” beating of chest becomes hollow when they use the “we need to keep our cushy tax breaks because we are the job creators” line. I’m sure you can follow the reasoning behind why one cancels out the other.
“Are you better off?” also falls flat on its hypocritical face, for the question is trite, and here is why. Four years ago America was sitting on a seismic financial volcano of apocalyptic proportions, but we did not know the full extent of the eruption smoldering. Poor folks were feeling the effects of the shifting cauldron deep down below long before four years ago. The rest of America felt it too when the fissures started to appear at the juncture of Bush’s exit.
But the financial disaster was bigger and more debilitating than anyone anticipated, and I think the Obama administration made a crucial mistake: down-playing the extent of the damages. Maybe they didn’t want mass hysteria, but in keeping the American people and the global market from panicking, they created another set of problems: the expectation of quick fixes and miracles, which no one could have delivered regardless of who was at the helm.
The extensive partisan divide from day one exacerbated the growing volcano, and the financial fissures widened. The Republicans decided to block legislation at every turn, and one senator, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, openly vowed to make Obama a “one-term President.” This in the first year of his administration. Talk about singular dedication on the important issues.
Incidentally, GOP VP nomineehad this to say in 2002 when he was making an impassioned case for a third stimulus as a young congressman under Bush and explained what happens after a recession/recovery:
“What we're trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed. What we're trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they've passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work. We want to make it easier for employers to keep people employed. We want to make it easier for employers to invest in their businesses, to invest in their employee and hire people back to work.
“… and on top of it, for those people who have lost their jobs, we want to help them with their unemployment insurance and with health insurance. What we are trying to accomplish here is the recognition of the fact that in recessions, unemployment lags on even well after a recovery has taken place.”
This was the same reasoning given by President Obama for his stimulus package, which was vehemently opposed by Ryan and most Republicans in Congress. (Read more and view the video here: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-new
The Democrats have to make the case that four years ago we were unknowingly sitting on shifting quick sand with a volcano underneath. Now that the recovery is still in progress, the question is: Will you be better off four years from now under a Romney/Ryan administration?
Be honest but brutal with the facts. They need to show what the landscape would really look like if Romney implements his plan, or Ryan’s. Show how Romney would roll back regulations implemented on Wall Street and the rest of the financial sector—the same big banks and companies that caused the massive financial failure which plunged America in some of the darkest days seen in over seven decades. The dismal results of which Obama is now being accused of not cleaning up fast enough. Show how the Romney/Ryan plans would extend the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, on the books for more than 10 years—even make them permanent like the “GOP leader”wants him to.
Hammer home the fact that Romney will lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, and reduce all individual income tax by another 20 percent. Show how the fiscally responsible GOP administration is nothing but smoke and mirrors, for with all the tax reductions Romney wants to implement, this would certainly add trillions to the national deficit. Cuts like the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, the Medicare tax on the wealthy under the Affordable Care Act and promises to fight to repeal the entire health care reform which will leave millions without any health insurance.
Even more detrimental, Democrats need to highlight just who will benefit tremendously under a Romney-Ryan administration. The same folks who raked in huge profits under Bush: the very rich. In addition, Romney doesn’t show how he is going to pay for all these tax breaks while vowing to balance the budget and create 12 million jobs—all at the same time. They need to point out the GOP’s pie-in-the-sky promises are nothing but lies. Their form of government and their vision for America is unsustainable. For the poor getting poorer and the middle class sliding into extinction, while the super wealthy gets richer, is a recipe for disaster.
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