Let’s turn the clocks back less than two years. Let’s take a look at the state of the USA economy at the end of 2008. In November the latest unemployment numbers for the month showed the biggest month of job losses (533,000) in 34 years. 1.9 million jobs had been lost in just eleven months and the pundits were forecasting another 2.0 million jobs would be lost by the end of 2009. Americans were facing the worst recession since the Great Depression.
The US financial industry was facing a total collapse after the large investment banks were allowed by the government to embark on the biggest securities scam in history. This brought dozens of the countries largest companies to their knees and threatened a total collapse of the US economy, possibly worse than the Great Depression of the 30’s. This resulted in pain for millions of Americans while the banks were allowed to bail themselves out and keep their wealth intact.
The number of Americans without any form of health insurance had risen to 46 million in 2008 or 15.6% of the population. This has since risen to more than 50 million or 16.7% of the population. More than 20 million of these actually have a full-time job. At the same time the quality of health care in the US had been declining steadily and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the United States ranked only 37th in the world on total health care quality.
Even countries like Oman, Cyprus Morocco ranked considerably higher. The United States was also the only industrialized country not to have universal health-care for all of its population.
Then we had the deficit. During a term of eight years, Bill Clinton reversed Reagan’s course, raising taxes on the wealthy, and lowering them for the working and middle classes. This produced the longest sustained economic expansion in American history. It produced budgetary surpluses allowing the government to begin paying down the crippling debt begun under Reagan. In 2000, Clinton’s last year, the surplus amounted to $236 billion. The forecast of a ten-year surplus stood at $5.6 trillion. It was the last black ink America would see for decades, perhaps forever.
George W. Bush immediately reversed Clinton’s policy in order to revive Reagan’s, once again showering riches on the wealthy. He handed out some $630 billion in tax cuts to the top 1% of income earners. This left Obama with a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion and a budget, which Bush had passed, for the twelve months starting in October 2008. This was a deficit that it took only eight years for Bush to create. To go from an annual surplus of $236 billion with the prospect of paying off the national debt to a deficit of $1.3 trillion and debt as far as we can see. This was not easy but Bush managed to do it and this was the legacy that Obama inherited.
Now we come to the current mid-term election cycle and all we hear is our poor economy is all Obama’s fault. He took office only one year and nine months ago. He inherited two wars, which we should never have embarked on, and he is expected to clear up the mess and try and keep the respect for America intact. He has passed sweeping health care reform for the first time in over 40 years, something no Republican President has ever considered. He passed sweeping financial reforms to make sure the Bush policies would be repealed. Policies that encouraged the deceits of Wall Street and the near collapse of our financial system. But he is accused of doing nothing to solve our countries problems.
Now the GOP is claiming they need to be restored to power to put a stop to our ecnonomic woes; the same woes they created in the first place. They want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which caused the huge deficit in the first place. They want to “win back” the country for the people. This is ironic since when has the GOP represented the average working American? Middle income America has had to suffer on the backs of the wealthy in this country. During the last Republican administration there was the highest concentration of power and money with the wealthy this country has ever seen. Hello, America! Is anybody home?
The irony and hypocrisy of the current mid-term elections is we have billionaires and former millionaire CEO’s of large corporations trying to buy their way to power. Some are throwing tens of millions of their own money at their campaigns, claiming they are going to Washington DC to represent the people because they feel your pain. That is the most stupid statement I have ever heard and is the ultimate in hypocrisy. In some cases, the same CEO’s laid off thousands of American workers only to ship their jobs overseas. Unfortunately, the American electorate falls for this game of smoke and mirrors and will continue to suffer in a world where politics is just a game of power and money and has nothing to do with the will of the people.