As the Trump meltdown continues, Republicans keep saying they want to focus on the “terrible economy”. They say the recovery hasn’t been good enough or big enough for their liking. They say the real problem is the economy.
Additionally, Paul Ryan in his victory speech said that Americans are tired of gridlock in Congress and that Republicans are offering “fresh ideas” that will break the grid lock. They really want Donald Trump to talk just about the economy because they figure that will turn things around.
So, let’s look at the economy and see just how bad it is, or isn’t, and why the growth hasn’t been as good as it might have been for everyone. We first need to look at the beginning in 2009 when President Obama took office.
During the period of George W. Bush’s administration, the “shackles” were taken off of the financial market. Regulations were wiped out by Republican controlled congress. Finance companies were allowed to make mortgages, banks were allowed to gamble in the market, and a whole lot of other regulations were wiped out. It became a free-for-all.
That free-for-all led to the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression. It almost became a second Great Depression. Huge banks were on the brink of collapse mostly because of their own bad behavior. The American auto industry was on the verge of being wiped out.
With disaster just around the corner in 2008, the Republicans led by George W. Bush started talking about a bailout. They passed the first round of bailout money and just about all of it went to the big banks and financial institutes. The American auto industry was being left out. As Mitt Romney said “let the auto makers fail.”
The country was losing over 800,000 jobs per month. Unemployment skyrocketed to well over 10 percent. Plus, the U.S. economy was dragging the world’s economy down the drain with it. On January 20, 2009 Barak Obama took the office of President. Did the Republicans talk about “working with the President” to help us get out of the financial hole they dug for the country? No, the only thing Mitch McConnell said was “the only job I have is to ensure this is a one term Presidency.”
That set the stage and it got worse from there. In the first two years, the Affordable Care Act was passed and millions of Americans have gained insurance they never had before. The Republicans have hated it ever since it was passed, even though it was essentially their own plan from the 1990s.
There was the battle over the Bush tax cuts. Republicans wanted them to remain in effect across the board. Obama wanted them keep them for everyone except for the top tiers. Obama won that battle. The richest tax cuts were rolled back, but everyone else kept theirs.
That rankled the Republicans to no end. They swore their revenge and they basically shut down cooperation after the 2010 elections when the House went back to their control with the Tea Party wackos getting in office.
In the meantime, a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill passed the Senate. Economists from both sides of the aisle said it would help boost the economy. The bill reached the desk of John Boehner in the House and went into a desk drawer and has stayed there ever since. There has been no debate. There has been no committee action on the bill. There has been no vote. It just sits in a desk drawer because House Republicans don’t like it only because it offers a “path to citizenship”.
Our infrastructure is crumbling around our ears. Everyone on both sides of the aisle knows this to be a fact. So, the President introduced the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill. This bill was intended to rebuild our roads and infrastructure. It would also create millions of needed good paying jobs for the people.
It will take decades to rebuild our infrastructure so these are good paying long-lasting jobs. That means the unemployment rate would drop significantly and revenue would be flowing back into the federal coffers because all of these people would be paying taxes. Republicans made sure the bill disappeared in their “black hole” for anything with Obama’s name on it.
Since then, we have had more bridges collapse and seen lead poisoning of water in Flint and other cities, even the Capital Building itself. Yet still no vote or discussion of rebuilding our infrastructure.
Instead of looking for ways to create jobs, Republicans went on a campaign to repeal “Obamacare” and slash the social safety nets. They cut food stamp money. They cut education money. They cut just about every domestic budget in the government.
As a result of these cuts, less money has gone back into the economy. Poor people cannot spend as much for food because they don’t have as much money to spend. For every dollar spent on education, the economy gains 1.23 dollars in return. But, that wasn’t good enough either so education budgets had to be cut.
They have refused to even discuss raising the minimum wage in the country. All research indicates that today’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has less buying power than the minimum wage in 1968 at $1.67 per hour. Some cities and states have raised the minimum wage on their own. And surprise, even though Republicans say raising the minimum wage will “kill jobs”, the areas that raised their minimum wage have grown their economies better than areas that have not raised the minimum wage.
They refuse to talk about the Equal Pay for Equal Work bill. Women make on average 75 cents per dollar of men doing the same work. Republicans are fine with that idea even though women are increasingly the major “bread-winner” for their families.
Then they threw a hissy fit and insisted on the “sequester” budget cuts to reduce the budget. The bill passed and was signed. Now, they are complaining about that very bill because it also means that the defense budget needs to be cut the same as everyone else.
We have now had three sessions of Congress where the Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives. This last session, Republicans have controlled both chambers of Congress. In those six years, not one major piece of legislation has been passed.
Not one bill to help create jobs has been passed. Not one bill concerning the economy has been passed. We have witnessed the three least productive Congresses in our history. They take a lot of vacations, like right now when we need funding for research to stop the Zika virus. Instead of doing their job, they went on vacation, again.
Trump gave his economic plan if he were to become President. It contains the same old Republican stuff. Massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Cuts to social programs. Massive increases in defense spending. And of course, deregulation of the financial markets.
Paul Ryan calls these “fresh ideas”. He thinks the American people will fall for their voodoo economics again. Every time we do we fall back into a recession like under Ronald Reagan. There was no “huge economic boom” in the 1980s. All that happened was the rich got richer and the rest of us watched our wages stagnate. Oh, the deficit also ballooned during his time in office.
The real economic boom came in the 1990s. When Bill Clinton was able to create more jobs without “cutting taxes”. He was even able to balance the budget for the first time since Kennedy was in office.
Republicans say that taxes and regulations are “crippling” businesses. They are lying. Just look at the past. In 1968 when I first entered the job market fulltime, the tax rates on the richest people was hovering around 75 percent. There were numerous tax brackets. Financial regulations kept banks and finance companies in their own silos to keep them from melting down the economy like they did in 1929.
The economy was booming in those days. Eisenhower’s Intrastate Highway System was still being built. Labor unions represented about 35 percent of the workforce and bargained for pay raises and a share of the profits from companies. Corporate taxes were higher than they are today. Yet, things were going well.
The downfall of the middle-class began with the downfall of unions. In 1969, after Richard Nixon was elected president, the battle against unions really heated up. More and more Republican States passed “Right to Work” laws that basically killed unions.
Because unions lost membership, they were unable to collectively bargain on behalf of workers for better pay and benefits. Companies were not afraid of strikes anymore. They would simply replace the workforce with non-union workers.
The assault on unions and workers continued through the years. Hell, even Ronald Reagan fired all of the nation’s air traffic controllers in the middle of a strike. Something by the way that was illegal. But the Republican controlled Congress and Republican Department of Labor sat back and allowed it to happen.
As a result, only about 7 percent of the workforce today is represented by unions. It is also true that where unions are strong, workers earn on average of about $2,000 more than non-union workers in other parts of the country.
What this all means is that the wealthy corporations are able to increase their shareholders profits while denying pay raises to the people that make those profits possible. They simply take from the working class and give it to the wealthy. I believe that could be called “reverse Robin Hood effect”.
There is gridlock in Congress because Republicans refuse to work with the President. They have a lot of reasons for this lack of cooperation, but none of them make any sense. Except that they really hate the man and won’t even talk to him.
The economy has created over 15 million new private sector jobs since 2009. All the while Republicans have slashed public sector jobs in their controlled states. They refuse to even debate legislation that will create millions of new good paying jobs. They continue their onslaught against unions.
Before unions became strong in this country there were two economic classes. The very rich and everyone else. When unions were strong we had a very strong middle-class. Now that union representation is down because of the laws passed, we are moving back to a two class system of the very rich and everyone else.
That is essentially the Republican economic plan. The “us versus them” war began in 1968 with Richard Nixon’s presidential run. It hit full force with Ronald Reagan and blew out the ceiling under Bill Clinton because things got better without Republican economics. Then George W. Bush took office and everything flushed down the toilet again.
If you seriously look at the last two Republican Administrations and the last two Democratic Administrations you will discover that the economy had done better under the Democratic Administrations than the Republican Administrations.
So, by all means Republicans, let’s talk about the economy. Your plans have failed miserably and will fail in the future. You offer nothing to help the average citizen. You offer nothing to bring people out of poverty. You only want the rich to get richer and the rest of us to suffer along.
It is because of this simple fact that you keep backing Donald Trump as your candidate. You have nothing to offer. We keep hearing about your plans but we never see them. We kept hearing about your plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. We have been waiting for seven years.
All we have gotten is that you have a plan to have a plan. You killed the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill and now support your candidate who says “I will build the infrastructure like crazy”. He apparently doesn’t know that you are against that idea.
Republican policies have destroyed the middle-class. Republican policies have destroyed the unions which are the “workers” voice at the bargaining table. Republican policies have left 99 percent of the American people behind all the while creating more wealth for the 1 percent.
The party with the stale old policies that do nothing for the economy is the Republican Party. Their history of ruining the economy proves me correct. So, let’s talk about the economy. Only be prepared to answer questions about how you ruined it and how you obstructed its recovery.
I really don’t think you want to discuss that. That is why you let Donald Trump let loose his hate and fear. You have nothing else to offer. We gave conservatives control of the economy from 1981 to 1992 and from 2001 to 2008 and they trashed it. The only growth we have seen since 1981 have been under Democrats.
Sorry Republicans but your policies suck for everyone except the rich. Take your economic policies and find something new. I know that will mean actually thinking and you hate to do that. You would rather rant and rave about nothing.