Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You Better Off? If Not, Blame the GOP

Do Republicans really want to ask this question? Does the party whose policies are most responsible for blowing up the United States economy really want to ask if we're better off now than four years ago, when the country faced an imminent destruction of its banking system and a possible depression? Do the GOP governors who implemented policies that devastated the public sector and led to hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other essential government services workers being laid off or forced to take pay cuts truly want the country to debate their actions?

And most important, does the party of the wealthy really want to ask a question that so panders to people's craven self-interests, that it firmly establishes the GOP as the vanguard of selfishness and regression?

Why, yes it does, thank you very much. And that's why this is such a dangerous moment in the campaign.

The Republicans think they actually have a winning issue here, but they don't. Today, we have more jobs than we did four years ago. The stock market is higher, the housing market is beginning to recover and incomes are on the rise (though they are rising faster for Romney's class than they are for your average middle class worker). It is true that the Obama team underestimated just how much damage the Bush Administration did to the economy and they should have asked for more direct stimulus and fewer tax cuts in the 2009 bill, but Republican obstruction and the debt-defying game of Russian Roulette they played that resulted in the country's credit rating downgrade were prime contributors to the slow growth we find ourselves with today.

But this all pales in comparison to the devastation of the good public sector jobs that formed the backbone of many middle class communities. In New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states, GOP governors weakened or destroyed collective bargaining rights and imposed harsh wage controls, leading to layoffs and downsizing of essential workers. And as for craven self-interest, no, I am not better off because of it. Is it any wonder that New Jersey has an unemployment rate of 9.8%?

Democrats and the Obama campaign must forcefully fight back against this ridiculous misrepresentation of reality. That they initially gave scattered answers is mystifying, but a unified response during the convention can go a long way towards laying this lie to rest.

Are you better off? Speak your mind at:
www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives and on Twitter @rigrundfest

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