As discussed in last Thursday’s Daily Republic editorial, and Bud Stevenson’s column Friday, the question on many Republican lips these days is: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The answer Republicans seek is, of course, no, with the implication being that their candidates will, by some magical method as yet unknown, make things better for us.
But will they?
Despite continually advancing employment numbers, a doubling of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, corporate profits and cash at all-time highs, and a housing market that has stopped its free-fall, many people are not as well off as they were when the Great Recession first hit.
Four years ago, many Americans had not yet lost their jobs, homes, savings, dignity and optimism. The Bush administration hemorrhaged American jobs throughout 2008, finally with 500,000 to 750,000 Americans losing their jobs every single month. This trend continued well into Barack Obama’s 2009.
After climbing out of that hole, President Obama has presided over positive job growth numbers continuously since October 2010, averaging well over 100,000 nongovernment jobs per month. Not great, but a heck of a lot better than a monthly loss of 750,000 American jobs. We have gone from a Gross Domestic Product of negative 9 percent under Bush to a positive number every quarter since mid-2009 under Obama.
Here in Fairfield we’ve seen the stabilization of our housing prices combined with unemployment numbers falling 2 1/2 percent since 2010. As America slowly builds back its consumer base, the trillions of dollars currently gathering dust in corporate accounts should emerge to expand capacity, creating more new jobs and pushing this growth cycle forward.
Bill Clinton’s speech last Wednesday put November’s election into very straightforward terms: “In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.”
Not mentioned was the fact that ever since Obama was elected president, the Republicans’ overarching primary goal has been to make him a one-term president. As informed Daily Republic readers have witnessed over the last 3 1/2 years, this Republican mission has been more important than job creation, controlling the national debt or helping the American economy.
While Romney’s economic plan remains as elusive as his tax records, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget plan calls for more safety net cuts for those in need, more tax cuts for the rich and more deregulation for Wall Street and the bankers; more of the same Republican claptrap that got us into this mess in the first place.
Besides simply recalling what George W. Bush did to our country, we can look into the future of a Romney-run America with the April 2012 Forbes analysis: “British economic austerity bombs as England double dips into recession.”
From that article: “Today, the report card is in and the results are clear — the GOP has been backing the wrong horse . . . again. . . . England has doubled-dipped itself into another recession. The question that remains is whether our nation’s conservatives will get the message or continue to fervently pursue the austerity agenda that, while playing nicely to their base, would threaten to send this country spiraling into yet another recession as it has done in the United Kingdom.”
Large portions of the American voting population have been bamboozled into thinking that the Republican ideals of tax cuts for the rich and severe austerity for everyone else is the magical elixir to cure our nation’s sick economy. Clearly, it is not.
Mike Kirchubel grew up in Fairfield and is the author of “Vile Acts of Evil — Banking in America.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.