Ya know, as an Independent, I have voted Democrat, Libertarian, the Green Party and yes in times past I even voted for individuals that happened to have been running on the Republican ticket. I’ve been an Independent for a long time now and truly vote for the individual I feel is best suited for keeping this country of ours on the right track. I have nothing to do with party loyalties for my allegiance is in the fortitudes of this country and not in any power trip for a particular party. I still root for fledgling parties, for I would dearly like to see a third strong party arise to shake things up from the suffocating grip Democrats and Republicans hold in American politics. Both these two parties make it very difficult for a new party to form by means of ballot access laws and party debate rules.
Henry Ross Perot…remember him? In the 1992 presidential election running as an Independent, Perot received 18.9% of the popular vote equaling out to about 19,741,065 votes, mine included. Though initially emerging as a respectable alternative, Perot appeared to have experienced mental meltdown with his false accusations that some of his campaign managers were spies and his on-again, off-again, on-again public announcements of his intentions to continue running for the office of the presidency. For the past century, he gave the best showing from a third candidate, but blew up in the process; what a shame.
The monopoly of power shared by the U.S.s two party system is very amorphous and swallows whole new ideas or movements outside its affiliations. Though I must admit, the Democrat and Republican parties are very adaptable, but only due to moderate campaigning in attempts to appeal to all in a very naïve society. For once elected, their general campaigning promises to all cannot be met. One group of voters that had cast votes his way will be disappointed once the elected official chooses his decision in favor of another. In the deletion of American voter concerns, this has led to special interests groups and lobbyists who are the main paymasters in American politics today and truly are the ones who win or lose. If they put all their efforts into one candidate and he gets elected…they surely win with their interests rewarded. But if the elected official they went with loses, that interest group loses too and has to reset the money trail. This can lead to stern division in the political arena and apparently today it has.
Where Democrats are primarily for working families and individual rights and services, Republicans are essentially for corporate and stand beside enterprise even when it comes to the detriment in the health and welfare of the American public. The decision of the Supreme Court by its conservative justices to treat corporations as an individual sealed the Republican’s power base and was indispensable in conservative tactics, agendas and mandates. On the other hand, the power base of Democrats has been attacked and eviscerated; weakening labor unions, environmental causes and the American individual’s opportunities.
Now most of the above is in my own personal opinion pretty much, but it is based on researched observance. So, please regard it at your own discretion and take with you all that you feel as relevant or that may be worth it. Allow me though, to more fully explain myself in the following segments before the quarreling festers.
During last year’s campaigning, Republican candidates were taking advantage of the dire economic situation on American voters by promising jobs in their campaigning. The financial crisis was imposed on the American voter actually by Republicans, but yet they were successful in shifting that blame onto the current Democrat politicians. But once elected into office, job creation is but a faint memory to current Republican mandates as they immediately began to focus not on job creation but on agendas to satisfy their corporate base and on the debt that was actually too, created by Republicans.
There will be some stupendous numbers rolling out here in a bit, so please bear with me. Concerning the deficit though, Bush inherited a quarter trillion dollar surplus from his Democrat predecessor, but after eight years of Republican rule, Bush tossed a $4 trillion national debt hand grenade to his Democrat successor. It was Republicans during Bush’s reign that overturned the largest surplus in American history into the largest deficit in American history. In doing so, they hurt the American family and worker while enriching the wealthy and now, when a Democrat is in office, they insist spending has to be curtailed by cutting deeply into social programs that again, the average American will suffer from while the wealthy and corporate remain shielded.
The total public outstanding debt at the end of the actual 2000 year (12/29/2000) was $5,662,216,013,697.37, compared to Bush’s departure during actual year 2008 (12/29/2008) at $10,699,804,864,612.13. Republicans doubled the debt.
For the fiscal years that also include legal tender notes and precious metals certificates, the difference was even broader. At the close of fiscal year 2000 (09/30/2000) the public debt was $5,674,178,209,886.86, while at the close of 2008’s fiscal year (09/30/2008) the public debt was $13,561,623,030,891.79. At the close of 2008, debt held by the public versus intra-governmental holdings was $6,369,318,869,476.54 vs. today ’s $4,330,485,995,135 that is still dropping under a Democrat majority rule.
And we all thought it is the Democrats that generate debt and deficits. These factual figures are produced from reports of the government’s ‘Treasury Direct.’ If there is one thing these numbers express, it is that they reveal the Republican dominated Bush years is the main offender of our current debt and deficit woes.
With this kind of inheritance at a time of financial crisis, no one, including Obama could alleviate any pangs without spending a dime to stimulate job creation and economic growth. Of course Obama has had to spend and it did avoid a financial national and international fall into the deep abyss. But due to the necessary spending of a Democrat administration to pull the U.S. out of the inherited Republican ills, Republicans all of a sudden conveniently forget about job creation reverting instead to putting the brakes on spending and start blaming Democrats for having to spend. It has become their mantra.
There ya have it. With Republican agendas during the Bush years in increasing the budget debt/GDP 20 percentage points, adding $500 billion per year to our deficit due to the Bush tax cuts, voting for two wars with no payment plan and an unfunded prescription drug program…no wonder we’re hurting as a country. On top of that, in rubbing salt into the wound, the addition of bringing on the financial crisis, mortgage defaults and the recession due to faulty and inadequate financial regulation and then the necessary spending stimulus to avert a global disaster of disproportionate proportion; of course we have a grand debt. But this budget debt mania is totally unnecessary for near term fixes. Even if we totally got rid of both houses of congress (in which I suppose some would surely cheer for), the judicial system and the military, our budget would not be near balanced. Most certainly, it will not be balanced by cutting social programs.
Remember some of the above for the next time a conservative from an upper class prosperous neighborhood insists debt is America’s number one concern brought on by Obama and tell him to redirect the bellyaching on lack of jobs and start helping get American workers back into the offices and plants.
In Lack Thereof:
So, currently America cannot shake the unemployment rate that continues to hover around an exhausting 9%. That equates to over 14 million able Americans seeking work and can’t find it. This is a major waste of our greatest resource…the working American. The GOP answer is in their acerbity to cut even more public jobs and make it more difficult on unions to create jobs in the private sector. May I remind you that when Boehner was told his program cuts would create tens of thousands of laid-off workers, his reply was…“So be it.” Federal, state and local governments have laid off over 50,000 people because they have been intimidated by the Republican’s loud voice that the deficit is of the utmost danger to the U.S. For now, to actually be adding to the unemployment line is the precise wrong time to be cutting government payrolls.
Viewing statistical numbers like 9% and 14 million doesn’t really paint the whole picture. To give one some perspective on the current unemployment situation in America, ‘Newsweek’ recently hired ‘Mechanical Turk,’ an online marketplace consortium for freelance work operated by ‘Amazon.com’ to post hourly jobs with low wages. Once a person pronounced they could and would do the job offered, the company would then bargain down the pay scale and offer the potential worker a ridiculously low wage to see if the worker would accept. They also did this in other countries like Italy, where the bare minimum wage a potential worker would accept was $5.00 per hour. Where job seekers in India would accept no hourly wage lower than a $1.00, here in the U.S., desperate unemployed workers willingly accepted the pittance salary of 0.25 cents per hour. That’s simply disheartening.
In President Obama’s energy policy for companies, it included a provision to provide both tax credits for newly created green hires and for start-up businesses as an hiring incentive, allowed the tax credits to be converted into their cash equivalent for every employee that was hired. While congressional Republicans were aggressively protecting the wealthy tax cuts, they were defiant to this policy and fought it all the way since its inception until their disagreement of it during last December’s tax-cut compromise axed its extension. The messenger with the GOP’s reasoning was, “This is a spending program, not a tax cut. We’re only for tax cuts.” What a shame, for it was indeed working. One example of its positive results, was when Obama came into office, the U.S. owned only 2% of the world market in the manufacturing of high powered batteries for electric and hybrid cars. Within two years at the end of 2010, just before Republicans had the policy dropped, thirty U.S. new battery plants had opened up pushing U.S. electric-battery manufacturing to a respectable 20% of global market share. The cash incentive policy was the driving force to this turnaround.
Honestly, Republican politicians have blocked all job creation proposals simply to make incumbent Democrats look bad for upcoming elections. It truly is a power grab tactic, for why else as the tumbleweed tumbles would they do this during a period of unemployment crisis?
Remember when the Tea Party people were all for anything conservative. Well, currently the octave in the toot from their horn has changed notes. Today, 70% of Tea Partiers oppose cutting into Medicare and Medicaid. Consciously these people scream out against socialism, but apparently subconsciously, they do realize a democratic country can benefit from social programs. Also, as early on as in March of 2010, a Bloomberg National Poll conducted at a Tea Party protest rally over healthcare reform, showed that although Tea Party members overwhelmingly want the federal government out of their lives, 70% of them still wanted the government to intervene on behalf of job creation.
Even Fox had a poll-dancing session where a recent Fox News poll showed voters 2 to 1 preferred political leaders to concentrate more on job creation than over the debt. In fact most polls are showing the public is more concerned over jobs than the debt. A Gallop poll just conducted this May shows that 57% of Americans are far more worried over the economy and unemployment as opposed to only 12% favoring the debt.
Now Republican leaders…wake-up yore sleepy-eyed heads.
What’s Good For Bad:
In protecting corporate and financial institute interests, Republicans have made sure that the American business sector has not suffered too deeply from the very financial crisis they induced. At the moment, American corporations overall are flush with money but still won’t hire or invest, even though traditionally after coming out of former recessions they did.
While unemployment spiraled skywards to 10.1%, corporations were sitting on annualized profits of 42% in 2009 that reached a record $1.68 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010. The trend here is a divergence away from hiring during growth. This creates disconnect which will lead to economic turmoil, for again traditionally, besides income the job site has also been the source for health and retirement plans and creation of consumer spending.
It is not the “wait and see” attitude that Republicans always spin in the excuse why companies won’t let go of any money in hiring, for they do spend, just in other areas. Take for instance their penchant for lobbying. In 2010 corporations spent a healthy sum of $3.5 billion in lobbying. CEOs are willing to spend, but not in the direction that is good for working families and in turn, as far as consumerism goes, good for the overall economy.
On rare occasion Republicans do go against the grain of corporate endowment, though only as long as it originated from Democrat legislation. Take for instance the domestic car manufacturing bailouts. Initially when Bush requested the $82 billion dollar bailout of GM and Chrysler, there were grumblings, but Republicans in congress pushed it through with expediency anyway. Once Obama inherited the auto bailout and even tightens regulations and makes it transparent, Republicans begin to wail against it.
Conservatives truly dislike the results, but the automotive bailout is indeed working. The only complaints they now lodge are very weak ones, such as the diminution of U.S. moral authority concerning the counseling of foreign governments against intervening in market policy, or it deletes the spoils of competition and one I’m still having a hard time in understanding is the lingering uncertainty about policy that pervades the business arena.
Once GM and Chrysler received the government cash, within two years they have exited bankruptcy and are now very competitive in the market rolling out desired cars. All but $13 billion of the original bailout amount has been repaid. Even if the government doesn’t eventually recoup the remaining $13 billion, it’s a far cry better than the estimated $132 billion the government would have lost over a period of three years if it had not intervened. This is according to the think tank, Center for Automotive Research that calculated and factored in items such as tax revenue losses, lower tax receipts and unemployment payments.
One complaint Republican critics most favor though is that the car companies could have filed chapter 11 without the government’s intervention and still be in the same great shape they are now. I don’t think so. During a time of tight belt buckling enduring an economic recession and financial panic, there were no private lenders that would be willing to fork over tens of billions of dollars to a bankrupt car industry. Financial banks then were concerned more about their own survival and weren’t even lending to monetarily healthy companies.
Cracks in the Republican’s obstinate tax wall have created a few fractures. Though it fell short 20 votes for the required 60 to end tax break subsidies for the corn ethanol industry, thirty-four senate Republicans did indeed vote to end the tax break. Senator James Coburn (R-OK) even gave a logical explanation in his vote to end it. This is a big departure for him from stubbornly supporting industry tax breaks and spotlighted him going against the grain of Republican mandates, thus angering hardcore conservatives like Grover Norquist.
Nearly all the ethanol subsidy money actually goes to oil companies who for public relations reasons don’t want it; they already get an adequate amount in subsidies. Coburn had to make the ethanol subsidy an exception when he stated, “Here’s something that is $3 billion that the people we’re paying…say they don’t want…and we’re not going to take them up on it? What part of stupid are we?” Finally, a Republican that instead of blindly pursuing corporate tax rebates has ushered in corporate tax debates.
It appears that once subsidies are actuated to aid a struggling industry during a drought in their business environment, there is no sunset on that subsidy after the rains come and the industry is healthy. Further, subsidies obfuscate real costs of an industry. Concerning fuel costs on a comparative basis in the energy industry, what are the actual costs of bio-fuel versus dino-fuel when both receive handsome subsidies?
Corporations have to begin meriting out there share if we want to reduce the pains this recession has afflicted onto the average American. In the forms of free real estate, subsidies, loopholes and tax cuts, corporate welfare costs the federal government a minimum of $2 trillion per year. This is non-essential to the companies for they can survive without it. On the other side though, average middleclass Americans are wilting away and with the projected Republican cuts to programs that provide sustenance to their very survival, devastation could mount. This country needs its middleclass and needs it to remain strong, healthy and viable.
Even though they resort to vindictive modes in achieving agendas, I’m sure Republicans feel they are doing the right thing. But in my personal experience in debating Republicans, they usually wind up angry or simply walk away ending the discussion. What brings on their frustration I don’t know, but I do ponder about it. Maybe their frustrated because their primary defense tactic is to attack Democrats, which has no effect on me as I am not a Democrat. Maybe it is because their beliefs are founded merely on party loyalty or bias and therefore have no basis to counter with factual figures and truthful statements.
In my latest episode of political discourse with a Republican, once I gave him an explanation of what Republican politics had done in heralding in marshal law in Michigan, he did not come back with counter facts, but only stated, “Well there is always two sides to the story.” I wanted to hear that other side of the story and not end the conversation like that, so pressed him. He only repeated the two sides of the story phrase again and walked out embittered.
I’m not assaulting Republicans per say, I’m only expressing what they have done, are doing and how they are doing it. It is not just my opinion, but it is a fact that their political mandates are hurting average Americans. Doing what one wants is not necessarily doing what is right. For the good of all hard working American families, perhaps that one needs to rethink thoughts then retool agendas.
The ruse of Republican mandates is becoming so blatant now. When the national parks were first incorporated Republicans wailed against them emphatic that the parks would take away potential resources from industry. They assailed Social Security’s formation crying it would turn our country into a socialist state. They again cried foul of civil rights laws being instituted in that it would turn back the clock of free enterprise. And they fought against and confronted the enactment of Medicare again stating that it would force socialism into the country. Ronald Reagan in 1961 even starred in a propaganda clip denouncing Medicare and warned that “one of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by the way of medicine.”
Republican leaders apparently have not forgotten the battles they have lost on these key aforementioned programs, but simply had put their war chests in the closet only to dust them off when they thought the time was right to attack again. After a period of meriting the programs, today, they have adorned their war fatigues and are outwardly on the offense in attacking them.
I cannot explain away the lethargic apathy the Tea Party constituency exhibits toward this end, for these four programs are the fabric of what it means to be American. They should be utilizing their refined hollering techniques and angry stances towards Republicans attempting to dismantle these core American attributes.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that we need to rebuild this economy of ours with a foundation that works for all of us. Where the conflict arises is how we get there. History shows us it is not in pampering corporations and the wealthy where a trickledown effect will result. There isn’t even a resultant wet spot much less a trickle. Republicans should know this by now. Since 1933 (and I’m intentionally not including the 1929 Wall Street crash, for that would even make the Republican percentage worse), Republican executive office philosophy has only generated 0.21% job creation. Where as in that same time period Democrat presidents, who lean more towards the citizenry than corporate entities, have a job creation of an overall more respectable 3.24%.
When one attempts to put out a fire, they use water and there’s a reason for it…it puts it out. Why forever in the world some choose to fight fire with fire, thus becoming the flicker that aids in the spread of its assault, I’ll never know. Unless we really start addressing the issue that spreading flame is about to engulf this country’s middleclass, which is what made America, well…America. I got my water hose at the ready…do you?
In Passing It On,