HOW SOON WE FORGET

Well...howdy out there...B.J. here!

It's been a long sabbatical away from this site, but now, at least on a monthly basis, I'm going to begin posting viewpoints and comments.

Hopefully, some may, whether accidentally or with intent, come on board for the ride.

If they do or not, rain or shine I will still post.

Hence, here is the first...
I call it:

HOW SOON WE FORGET

Blatantly today, President Obama and his administration have been fully blamed for the present state of the economy and current unemployment crisis. Partly so, blame should be directed toward him, he swore an oath to office, but how soon we forget who truly got us into this current financial mess. It was the Republicans and the Bush administration’s eight year reign that harangued us into this national muddle and now there are many of those screaming to send the country back into the Republican’s hands laced with greed and wanton power. The point is, there is no one, including Obama that could have pulled us out of the financial gulf he inherited and within a year and a half’s time have this American economy running on all cylinders pumping out jobs.

I do like to play with Republican friends and relatives in calling them Refiblicans; for it appears the Party does just that…fib and re-fib and although I am punning, there is some truth in that. What do Republicans truly stand for? They always say it is only the GOP that stands for less government, less spending, less taxation and less infringement on private rights. It appears today though they are demonstrative of actions in totally opposite directions.

I was born and raised in Texas, arguably so a very conservative state. I know what conservatism today is and I don’t like it. It is a greed mentality of me, me, and me. If you live in a society, where the term social got its origins, you cannot live in a parasitic mode of just, ‘what’s in it for me.’ You need to move to some isolated mountaintop and live out yore lonely days.

I am an Independent and truly vote for the country’s interests and not in a party’s. I am a proud middle of the road redneck liberal and very aggressive in that respect. Currently, Democrats hold my interests more so because they tend to represent my ideas of a societal norm in sharing prosperity and ‘spreading out income’ opportunities for the whole. I will pick share over greed any day, for a truly prosperous country is one that takes care for all its citizenry’s health and well-being. If you think it’s irresponsible to ignore a helpless infant’s upbringing, to deny a child quality healthcare and nutrition, to gainsay young adults access to affordable higher education, to defy or not take care of the feeble and elderly, then whether you realize it or not, you are liberal as well in thinking. This only benefits a society. Not as in handouts, but in in-placed helping hands to allow for a more prosperous life…to stand on one’s feet as independently responsible. Give the majority the chance to move in opportunities and they will.

Perhaps it is because they’ve lived a privileged life, but I just don’t know why the penurious elitist rails the poor when it comes to welfare. Maybe, it’s because the impecunious poor have no voice in lobbyists and special interest groups to be heard, or simply the fact that those born with a silver spoon in the mouth have no grace for those who never had. Those who will totally support an occupation that’s killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi children spending trillions to do so, are the very ones who rail if one dollar is spent on an impoverished child back home. Though welfare for the poor is anathema, corporate welfare is A-OK.

Case in point, we all know Wal-Mart has a few dollars in the coffer, but yet their rich hands receive free welfare tax dollars. In 2005, Wal-Mart, a company that just raked in $288 billion the previous year, received $37 million taxpayer dollars from the Republican government to widen the roads in their home-office Bentonville complex. Wal-Mart has received over $1 billion in taxpayer dollars for economic development and has made use of not paying their own share of taxes in tax breaks, access to free land and government cash grants. Is this not considered public assistance? Yet no one rises to dissent this form of welfare. I conjecture the French journalist, Anatole France summed it best when he stated, “It is only the poor who are forbidden to beg.”

To end this personal opinion forum, liberalism gave us the 40 hour work week, Social Security, child labor laws, the minimum wage, Medicare, the National Parks, the FDIC and along with many other benefits, the Civil Rights Act. They’re even today, fighting a valiant attempt in giving access to quality healthcare to every American citizen. With no hesitation, conservatives in each case hollered a stumped toe that these programs would destroy America. To the contrary, they actually have become woven into the American fabric improving our country. Although there is a minority right-wing movement today attacking these American values, the majority of us have benefitted greatly from these programs, for they’ve added a positive impact and influence to lives.

No matter what tent we’re camped in, basically we all believe in fiscal responsibility, a strong national security, individual rights and the sanctity of life. But as of late from what I grew up in, a conservative atmosphere in which Republicans are for small government and less spending, while Democrats are for big government and lavish spending, is simply a myth.

The common mantra may be that ‘Democrats tax and spend,’ but if you ask me there should be a new slogan, ‘Republicans borrow and spend,’ and even more to excesses; just not on social programs.

The GOP (Grand Old Panic) has led this country of ours into an economic ditch and does feel inclined to be beyond reproach. I’ve heard arguments that it is the current congress that got us into this mess, in that the Senate is currently under Democratic control. With 57 Democratic senate seats, 41 Republican seats and two Independents that at times caucus with the Democrats, hardly makes for an overwhelming majority. But regardless, let me get this straight. Out of the past 14 years, you’ve had only the last two years of it under Democratic control with a former unwilling Republican White House and a current just say “no” Republican caucus and Dems are to blame? Rush Limbaugh even credits the financial crisis solely to Barack Obama, with the insane notion that his conceivable winning of the election during campaigning put the financial market into panic mode, bunkering down for his economic policies. As if the crisis suddenly erupted, without any history of Republican green light predatory tactics that led up to the point of unregulated meltdown.

Discretionary spending ballooned the first seven years under Bush and Republican houses surging 34%, the highest seven-year expansion span since the early to mid ‘70s. Overall discretionary outlays rose 2.3% during the Clinton years compared to 9.7% under Bush. Our 43rd president by himself has run-up the national debt approaching nearly two-thirds of its total.

I always get the national debt and the federal deficit confused and interchange them. The two terms are different. The national debt is in reference to the accumulation of all the money the U.S. government has borrowed over all the years versus what amount we attempt to pay it back. How much the government spends over and above its budget in a single year is the federal deficit figure. The federal deficit therefore is dependent on the national budget, but its numbers can be far more foreboding in reflecting the state of the nation’s overall deep in the debt hole.

Since 1946, with eight presidential terms held by Democrats and ten by Republicans, Democrat presidents on average raised the national debt as a percentage of GDP, 3.2% per year, while the Republican presidents raised it 9.7%. But since 1978, Democrats increased the national debt to 4.2% while the Republicans have showcased a whopping 36.4%. When Clinton left office in 2000, he left a national debt of $5.7 trillion. Bush, after not quite his eight years had doubled it, surpassing $11 trillion.

In 1981 the gross national debt, compared to the GDP (which shows how supposedly rich we are) was just below 35%, reaching its lowest level since 1931. Then enters Reagan and once he took office, it skyrocketed for twelve years under Reaganomics during the terms of Reagan and H.W. Bush to 67%. By paying down national debt, Clinton reversed the upward Reaganomics trend to 57%. Now since both of Bush’s terms, the gross national debt has gone back to previous Republican levels, increasing to 69%.

In raising the federal deficit through government spending, the Democrats between 1978 and 2006 increased federal spending 9.9%, while Republican presidents spent 12.88%.

One would think that if Republicans spent more, then productivity would be more, but that is errant thinking. During that same time frame, Democrat president’s GDP increased 12.6%, while Republicans only increased 9.8%. The economic growth under Reagan and H.W. Bush’s presidency was due mostly to federal subsidizing.

No modern day Republican can claim sole rights in belonging to the party of being fiscally conservative. In fact their recent presidents have extracted them from that honor roll. Reagan had a ~$200 billion deficit, H.W. Bush ~$300 billion deficit, Clinton ~$237 billion surplus, and W. Bush…~$1 trillion plus deficit.

As far as big government goes, well since 1945, five out of the six Republican presidents carried out an increase in government growth as a percentage of GDP, while a big fat zero out of the six Democrat presidents witnessed any net increase in the size of government during that same sixty-three year period.

I have a neighbor friend that told me he doesn’t want a Republican president in office, because jobs are always lost under Republicans. That comment struck my fancy, so I did a little research and found out, he’s right. On average, between 1933 and the present, Democrat presidents as a whole have created jobs by 3.24%, whereas Republicans increased jobs overall at a dismal 0.21%. During the same time frame, the president enjoying the most job creations under his watch is Clinton, at an increase of 4.9% or 22.7 million. On the other hand is W. Bush with the worst. During his first term (2001-2004), he performed a dismal 0.002% at ~100,000 in job growth. His second term was even worse, with 7.6 million unemployed in his last year in office that carried its momentum into Obama’s term. Under both Reagan terms unemployment swelled over 10%.

At point value, from the past presidencies of George W. Bush down to Harry Truman, with six Republican presidents in that time span, the five Democrat presidents created 63% more jobs on their watch than their counterparts.

Though Obama is being hammered with an inherited recessionary economy, data obtained from the Wall Street Journal since this past September shows he has created 863,000 private sector jobs thus far this year. This is on par to doubling what jobs Bush created on average per year and that is during a period of bequeathed deep financial and economic stress for the Obama administration to function in.

In regards to Obama’s government in spending, they had to. Without the stimulus package, the financial institution would have fallen into the great and endless abyss. Corporate America is currently sitting on a dollar amount that doubles the stimulus package spent so far. Instituting stalemate, with a ‘let us wait and see approach,’ American industry and corporations will not hire or invest. If they won’t, who will? Someone has to. The government is the only alternative, the only entity of resource to do so, but yes, you have got to have the savvy and gumption to spend when dealing with a deficit plagued national budget that was passed on from the Bush years.

Throwing us into two wars then exorcising revenue avenues, such as secretive no-bid contracts and the wealthy tax cuts eliminating government dollars to pay for it, Bush fired up this deficit storm. In keeping war costs off the books to look more attractive when borrowing heavily from foreign countries, Bush indeed is the ground zero these current whiners of national debt should be directing their complaints to. It took the U.S. 209 years, a long period through 1789 to 1998, in compiling its first $5 trillion debt. It took only a short seven year period for Bush to double that, handing the country its second $5 trillion debt. Bush started his first term with a $5.7 trillion debt, but handed over to Obama an $11.3 trillion debt. Again, this amount is even minus the war costs. Bush received from Clinton over a quarter trillion dollar surplus, but gave a trillion dollar plus deficit to Obama. And now, conservatives directly blame Obama for our debt? And there are cries now, to go back to the Bush years of conducting business? Only for the sake of regaining and holding onto power, how soon we forget.

After all, who claimed, “I am a deficit hawk?” It was Dick Cheney. Who cried, “Deficits don’t matter?” Again, it was Cheney.

In the end, the Obama administration and the Democrats may not be looking so bad, if we’d just get the vindictiveness, brow beating, fear mongering, defaming, out of control deceitful lies and blame shifts set aside and look truthfully at what they have accomplished; for this productive Congress has achieved more than any in the history of this country.


B.J. Anderson
Independent Observer
October 2010