FOX news, angry billionaires, and the Republicans blame President Obama for America’s economic crisis. It’s time for a reality check: the recession of 2007-2009 and our slow recovery are the result of unpaid for wars, huge tax breaks for wealthy Americans, deregulated banks, and unscrupulous Wall Street fat cats.
Those are the facts, but here’s how the politicians and pundits spun the story.
- Firefighters, teachers, nurses, janitors, public school employees and other government workers have been painted as lazy, ineffective, incompetent and dangerous to our economy.
- In state after state, public employees have had large pay cuts, lost their pensions, lost their union representation, and paid more for their benefit package, if they have one.
- Senior citizens who receive an average Social Security benefit of $1,228 per month are blamed for our growing debt and deficit. Entitlement reform is a constant Republican demand.
- Children who get free lunch at school are insulted and degraded. Some politicians suggested that they should be sweeping floors and scrubbing toilets before being fed so they can learn a “work ethic.”
- Millions of struggling Americans saw their food stamps slashed by politicians who called them lazy.
- Long-term unemployment compensation was not renewed leaving over 1.3 million desperate Americans without any help.
- Illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, were blamed for taking jobs away from American citizens.
Americans Blame Other Americans
The GOP spent most of the last eight years regurgitating these talking points. It should come as no surprise that millions of Americans now believe that their economic troubles are the fault of other Americans who gamed the system, bought lobster with food stamps, and refused to go back to work so they could enjoy big welfare benefits. No wonder people are mad.
Americans have been convinced by their Congressmen, Senators, Governors and Legislators (who are in the government, by the way) that government is our biggest problem. Most citizens don’t have a clue that the US has the lowest level of public sector employment in over 30 years. After the recession ended in 2009 , another 580,000 people lost their public sector jobs. Teachers have suffered the largest number of job cuts.
Americans forget that when the government cuts jobs, real people are laid off. They lose their paychecks, and sometimes, their homes. When jobs disappear, spending goes down and other businesses suffer. More jobs are lost. It becomes a downward spiral. According to economists, the recession was so deep that it may take until 2020 to replace the jobs that were lost.
Americans Feel Threatened
Fifteen years after the tax-cut gang took office, the poor are poorer, the middle class is smaller while wealthy Americans are living large–super large. They have grabbed an ever-increasing proportion of America’s income–95 percent of the income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent. The income gap in the United States is now greater than it has ever been.
Americans are afraid. They believe that their futures are threatened. They are right about that. But, the question that needs to be answered is this: who threatens our future?
- a kindergarten teacher
- the nurse in the local ER
- the janitor who scrubs the high school restrooms
- the park ranger in Yellowstone
- the millions of hard-working Americans who struggle to make ends meet on low wages
- Seniors on Social Security and Medicare
No, absolutely no. Our future is threatened by politically-active billionaires and their friends in Washington. These are the men who pour millions of dollars into selling all of us on huge tax cuts for the rich, lower tax rates for corporations and the imaginary nonsense of the trickle-down economic model.
Now those mega-rich plutocrats, who never met a dollar they didn’t crave, are partnering with the anti-government libertarians who never met a government program they didn’t want to slash. From food stamps to social security, every program since FDR is on the chopping block.
Our future IS threatened
- By candidates running for President who propose slashing taxes, leaving a hole in the budget of trillions of dollars. Donald Trump’s tax cuts are estimated to cost $10-13 Trillion in the first 10 years. They’ll cost another $15 trillion in the following decade.
- By candidates running for President who oppose all programs that help those struggling in poverty or trying to find a good-paying job.
- By candidates running for President who take huge sums of money from billionaires and PACs while ignoring the needs of real people.
- By candidates running for President who promise to increase our military budget.
- By candidates running for President who want to eliminate healthcare reform, throwing millions of Americans out of their healthcare plans.
- By candidates who stoke anger, fear, and even violence by pitting Americans against each other while proposing the same economic policies that created the economic mess in the first place.
To protect our future, we have to say no to tax-cutting, trickle-down, war-loving politicians who set the economic crisis of 2007 in motion. We have to remember that billionaire businessmen, who raked in enormous fortunes during the recession, have no concern for struggling Americans. Their concern is first, and always, their wealth.
And, we have to realize that our future will be threatened if a Republican becomes president on January 20, 2017