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Posts Tagged ‘unemployment

What “Meritocracy” Gets Wrong

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A lot has been written lately in the media about meritocracy, what it has become, and its value to society. Traditionally, Americans assumed that intelligence, education, hard work and a willingness to accept – and overcome – risk was the definition of meritocracy. But what recent studies find is that a true meritocracy does not exist.

A majority of Americans now believe that wealth equals meritocratic value…that those at the top of the economic ladder earned their wealth because of their superior talents. Just look at the dramatic rise in the number of evangelical mega-churches preaching prosperity theology. From Wikipedia,”a Christian religious doctrine that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one’s material wealth.”

But the actual truth is the US does not have a meritocratic society. It has a society in which those who are born into wealth have a much better chance of succeeding than those born of middle or lower income groups, not because of their inherent abilities but because of the superior opportunities wealth gave them.

Yes, there are people who grew up in the ghetto and against all odds achieved great wealth and prestige, but those examples are few and far between by comparison. Nevertheless, as a society, particularly in this economic climate, we choose to denigrate those who have not succeeded to wealth and ridicule those who don’t even want great wealth: those who see family and friends and charity and community as far more important values.

However, the Abrahamic tradition says something entirely different.

Judge for yourself what is righteous according to Abrahamic tradition:

  • JD Rockefeller: To those who have been given so much, so much is owed.
  • Paraphrasing Old Testament Prophets: God demands that you take care of the sick, the old, the widows and orphans, and the poor. If you do not, God will send his wrath upon you, and send you into slavery. (Leaning from their windows, the wealthy laughed and ridiculed the prophets. But God executed his promise. In 555 BCE, Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, fell to the Assyrians, and the Kingdom of Israel came to an end. Scores of thousands of the conquered people were led into captivity and disappeared from history as the lost tribes of Israel. Then in 434 BCE, the Kingdom of Judah tried to form an alliance with Egypt. The Jews thought, despite Jeremiah’s prophecies, that this would keep them safe. But instead, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, marched on Judah. He pillaged Jerusalem and deported tens of thousands of Jews to his capital in Babylon; all the deportees were drawn from the upper classes, the wealthy, and craftsmen. Ordinary people were allowed to stay in Judah, and Nebuchadnezzar appointed a puppet king over Judah, Zedekiah.)
  • Paraphrasing Jesus: God said if you do not care about the least among my people, you will not have a place in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Judaic Law commands that the poor are to be respected and protected. According to Jacobs and Greer, “the overarching Jewish attitude toward the poor can be best summed up in a single word: achikha (your brother). Jews are enjoined by the Torah to resist any temptation to view the poor as somehow different from themselves.[7] The Tanakh sets forth numerous protections of the poor. As an example of such protections, Perotta points out that the poor were protected from being exploited when in debt. Perrotta asserts that the goal of these commandments was “not only to protect the poor but also to prevent the excessive accumulation of wealth in a few hands.” In essence, the poor man is “protected by God”.[8] Kravitz and Olitzky cite the Jubilee (yoveil) and the sh’mitah as examples of commandments in the Torah designed to protect the poor.[2] – Wikipedia I’ve heard tell that every 50 years each Jewish family must donate 50% of its wealth to the poor to prevent too much wealth accumulation in any one family.
  • Modern Catholic Popes continue to preach of the need to care for the poor, the sick, the elderly, saying it is the will of God that most fortunate care for the least of God’s people.
  • The Qur’an demands that no interest (interest amounts to usury) be charged on loans as it harms those least able to pay their debts. (And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the proud and the boastful. (Ch4:V.37) And it is not your riches nor your children that will bring you near Us in rank, but those who believe and do good works, will have a double reward for what they did… (Ch.34:V.38))

The Ayn Rand ideology of selfishness that perhaps affects so many among our wealthy class and many politicians fails to understand or accept the Abrahamic requirement to take care of the least among us. It ignores the Abrahamic tradition and laws. It ignores that meritocracy, as practiced, ignores the laws of Abraham’s God and the many barriers erected to prevent intellectually worthy individuals from succeeding.

If the US were really a meritocratic society, everyone would start out on the same level and have the same opportunities. Only their own native abilities and intelligence would determine how high on the ladder of wealth and success they climb. But that is not really the case…and Americans should really face the truth and figure out how to deal with it.

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Written by Valerie Curl

June 4, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Mea Culpa

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colfax1

Dear Readers,

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve not posted anything to my blog. Not even about those little known stories the mainstream media tends to ignore…and I love. It’s not that those stories don’t exist. Heck, plenty of them exist everywhere; just look at any issue of Wired Magazine’s Wired Science blog. I’ve just been occupied elsewhere.

I admit to having “liked” Bruce Bartlett’s facebook page which supplies me with endless conversations (and articles) on economics and politics as well as the absurd. Of course, I still read the news every morning in the Washington Post (especially Wonkblog) as well as The Atlantic, The New Republic, The American Conservative, Bloomberg, and a few others like the Financial Times and the Economist.

But over the course of the last year I’ve become more involved in volunteering my expertise to community non-profit groups. My little, rural town in the Sierra Nevada foothills can’t afford paid services for the help it needs. We’re still suffering from the severe recession.

Wages are below median average for California, and industry, as we generally think of it, is practically unknown here. For years, Colfax, where I live, was ruled by a “no expansion” crowd that hamstrung local businesses and the community at large. Finally, that hold is breaking as a result of the Great Recession. Businesses, hard hit by lack of customer revenues, are finally speaking up and demanding revenue growth in order to stay in business and to fill the empty storefronts. Residents are seeing the need to build sustainable businesses that can help support necessary, and even desired, community services.

I’ve spent most of my adult years in large towns where governmental actions made a huge difference in both the local economy and in people’s lives. When governments partner with the business community, local service non-profits, and residents great accomplishments occur that better the lives of everyone in the community. The current Tea Party inspired, Ayn Rand anti-government fad fails to acknowledge the many benefits government provides communities via increased demand revenues and stabilizing taxes.

For me, when my local community chose to develop an Art Walk which promoted both local artists and main street businesses, expand the reach and profitability of our annual July 3rd Independence Day Celebration (yeah, I know it’s a day ahead of the real thing), and develop a community-wide business plan to promote our city, I volunteered. Unlike the Ayn Randers out there, there’s more to a good life than just me…and the financial perks I personally am getting. I saw these non-profit activities as a chance to rebuild and renew our business community.

Certainly, Social Security and Medicare made it economically possible for me to spend my time on efforts to help my community develop and become more profitable. Without those earned insurance benefits, as they currently exist, I’d be bankrupt…and be left wondering what to do to survive. It’s not that I didn’t save in retirement accounts throughout my 40-some working years. I had. I invested the maximum amount the federal government allows each working year. Regardless, between 2001 and 2009, following the great crash, I lost nearly 2/3s of my retirement savings. Over that decade, I continually bought more shares via my retirement accounts, but the values (profits) decreased. The end result became my need for these two primary insurance benefits into which I paid for over 40 years.

Nevertheless, those insurance benefits now afford me the ability to spend many hours each week voluntarily working for my cash-strapped community, rather than solely worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills or how to survive another month. I’m not forced to go begging for state or federal assistance. Or made to feel like I’m the lowest of the low for needing help. I still have my dignity and the knowledge that I’m taking financial care of myself.

But I’m no hero, by any means. Those earned insurance programs now have just provided me the means to the end of helping my community at large.

Strikingly, my community volunteering increased my skills far beyond what I learned during my career…and I really enjoy all I’m learning in the process of doing. Sure as heck beats vegetating and waiting to die!

But I guess, for me anyway, I feel valuable again. I feel like I really can make a contribution to my community and my fellow citizens…and that makes me feel important and good about myself.

I understand my senior’s path isn’t the same for everyone. But it’s working for me and adding to the renewal efforts of my community while not increasing costs. Most of all, though, I’m getting far more personal satisfaction out my volunteer activities than I’m putting in terms of time and my increased skills.

Yes, Republicans Too Are Responsible for the Sequester Regardless of What They’re Now Saying

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McConnel-Obama-Boehner

I really hate it when politicians lie to make themselves look good…or to divert attention from their own compliance on harmful or economically devastating policy.

On the sequester, yes, Obama’s Chief of Staff Jack Lew recommended it. But, let’s face facts, Congress – including the GOP – approved it before it was sent to Obama to become law. In the House, 174 Republicans votes yea for the sequester. The sequester could not have become law without Republicans willing compliance and votes in both the House and Senate. For them to now attempt to say they were not equally responsible for it is nothing short of a bald face lie of the worst kind.

As a party, the GOP states that it unequivocally believes in personal responsibility, i.e. taking responsibility for your actions, decisions, and behavoir. Consequently, the GOP needs to step up to the plate and acknowledge that they too are responsible for the sequester. Trying to blame Obama now is like saying “dog ate my homework.” Or even worse: like Pontius Pilate’s washing his hands of the entire affair as if he has no responsibility for crucifying Jesus.

From FactCheck.org:

But as Woodward wrote in his book, and as he subsequently explained to Politico, neither party wanted the automatic cuts to take effect or thought they would happen. The cuts were included as a mechanism to force members of the bipartisan committee to work out a deal to avoid them.

Politico, Oct. 23, 2012: “No one thought it would happen. The idea was to design something … that was so onerous that no one would ever let it happen. Of course, it did, because they couldn’t reach agreement,” [Woodward] said. “They all believed that the supercommittee was going to come up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan, so there would be no sequestration. Of course, the supercommittee failed and so the trigger went off, which has all of these very Draconian cuts.”

The automatic cuts were supposed to take effect in January, but the president and Congress agreed to delay them until March 1 to give themselves more time to work out a deal. Now, as the new deadline for sequestration draws closer, many Republicans blame the president. And though it’s true that the idea of sequestration originated in the White House, there would be no possibility of automatic cuts had members of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — not gone along with the idea.

The Budget Control Act passed in the House with 269 votes in favor — 174 from Republicans and 95 from Democrats. And the bill cleared the Senate with 74 “yea” votes, of which 28 were cast by Republicans. In fact, one of those voting in favor, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 17 that “Republicans deserve blame; I’ll take some blame for it.”

And Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan who voted against the bill, has said that “it’s totally disingenuous” for Republicans who voted in favor of the bill to now blame the president for it. Amash told Buzzfeed: “The debt ceiling deal in 2011 was agreed to by Republicans and Democrats, and regardless of who came up with the sequester, they all voted for it. So, you can’t vote for something and, with a straight face, go blame the other guy for its existence in law.”

As adults, we are all responsible for our actions, including those 174 House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, who voted for the sequester. For him and others like him to claim no responsibility (e.g. throwing up his hands and saying he was not responsible) for the economically devastating budget cuts that will cost directly approximately 70,000 jobs – and potentially millions more in other unrelated industrial sectors as well as sending the US economy back into a recession – is nothing more than a Pilate-like con job Republicans hope to perpetrate on the American electorate. The American people deserve better, especially from a party that claims to believe in – and demand of others – personal responsibility!

If we weren’t in such a polarized political climate, driven by media organizations that require polarized partisanship to increase dramatically their media revenues, regardless of the consequences for the American public, most Americans would not accept the current GOP storyline.

Without the media’s huge profits as a result of political polarization, there would be a backlash…and the GOP would act more sensibly in favor of the American economy and people. But the GOP no longer feels it has to behave sensibly or even logically. As with every policy, the GOP counts on their particular popular media outlets to spin the news and back them up, regardless of how utterly idiotic they sound, behave, and vote…as well as to cause their base voters to agree with the story line that the dog did, indeed, ate their homework so they are not responsible.

I’m not buying that line! That kind of irresponsibility does not work for me. I’m of an older generation which was taught that excuses are not acceptable: if you do something you are responsible for the outcome. My dad wouldn’t let my brothers and me, as kids, get away with irresponsible excuses, so why should we allow our adult legislators?

When in the name that all that is right, holy, and ethical will Republican politicians be held to same standards we require of our children?

Written by Valerie Curl

February 19, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Can American Labor Unions Be Relevant Again?

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      “I believe leaders of the business community, with few exceptions, have chosen to wage a one-sided class war today in our country — a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society.”

      “I would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and whose hearts are cold. We intend to reforge the links with those who believe in struggle: the kind of people who sat down in the factories in the 1930’s and who marched in Selma in the 1960’s.”

      – UAW President Douglas Fraser in 1978

Jerry Tucker Labor Leader and ActivistFor decades, American workers have progressively watched their incomes and working conditions decrease and their opportunities lowered. As a result, Americans continue to view the economy and their families’ prospects negatively. Every American knows why these reduced expectations are occurring, but no one seems to have a definitive answer.

On March 12, 2005 at the conference on “Work and Social Movements in the United States” at University of Paris – Sorbonne, the late Jerry Tucker, labor leader and activist, told the audience,

”America’s 21st century workers need a labor movement committed to fight alongside them against those ‘who would destroy us and ruin [their] lives’ and leaders who have the courage to launch a strategic counter-offensive against the aggression on all fronts. If there are such leaders, they can start by openly ‘speaking truth to power’ and denouncing corporate America’s war on workers and working class communities, naming the ideological nest the perpetrators swarm out of, and condemning the overwhelming government backing they receive.

Yes, today many American workers are cynical and, collectively, do have reduced expectations. They know all too well that their quality of life is under attack and, for many of them, that unionism has not held up its end in the struggle. That was also true in the early 1930s. But that does not mean now, as then, that the willingness to fight back, the urgency to resist injustice, and the desire for dignity have been driven from the consciousness of our sisters and brothers. They have it in them to engage in struggle when they perceive the struggle has immediacy in their lives, when the injustices are real, and when they know they will not be alone. There are among them good and even great leaders for the struggle to come. A program that reconnects with workers built around their needs at the base, not just the notions of distant bureaucrats, is the way to start rebuilding the labor movement.

With history as our guide, the revitalization of the labor movement also cannot occur without a revitalization of an independent left within labor. U. S. labor as we know it today, and as is demonstrated by the narrow limits of the AFL-CIO debate, lacks the credibility to form the multi-lateral and multi-racial relationships for a new, dynamic social movement. A revival of progressive, socially-conscious left thinking internally could alter that reality and open up many new options.

U. S. labor needs a counter-offensive. And, the centerpiece of labor’s counter-offensive, with or without all current labor leaders, should be derived from a new vision of America based on justice and the creation of a new social intersection for all of those abused by the nexus of corporation and state and today’s neoliberalism.

A true crisis-resolution strategy must re-introduce a culture, and shared vision, of struggle and of common defense, through worker-to-worker, union-to-union, and social-movement-to-social-movement solidarity. Under one broad social banner, we need to declare war on poverty, racism, sexism, imperialism, and the denial of the fundamental right to affordable health care for all, full employment, shorter work-time, and many others of the true values due all participants in a just society.

Crisis-bound, U.S. labor is at a crossroads. The direction it takes will impact, for better or worse, the lives of a majority of all Americans.” [my emphasis]

Two Million – That’s the Number of the Month

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President-Congressional Leaders

On Jan 2, just a couple of days away, two million unemployed workers will lose their minimal ability to pay their bills. Unless Congress reaches a deal, on Tuesday, Jan 2, two million families will lose their unemployment compensation.

That’s two million American families without any income because both Congress failed them and our capitalist system is unable to create enough jobs at present.

If this circumstance doesn’t sicken you, then I’m left wondering about your compassion, common religious tenets, (i.e., Christianity), and moral values.

Americans like to talk about human values and even condemn other countries for their failures on Human Rights. But is not Congress, led by a Republican House and a Republican filibustering Senate, now just as guilty of devaluing human lives through their often demonetization of the unemployed as lazy, drug addled takers and their inability to do their Congressional job to resolve the fiscal cliff?

Just today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked what other non-defense discretionary budget cuts were going to pay for an extension in unemployment. I can almost hear Old Scrooge saying, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

What kind of society have we become?

Only since Obama became president has the GOP demanded that unemployment benefits be paid for with cuts to other parts of the non-defense discretionary budget which has already taken an enormous hit and is at historic lows.

Discretionary Spending

But we all know those facts. We also know that unemployment benefits provide the biggest boost to the economy as that money is immediately spent in the economy on food, housing, utilities and other necessary living expenses.

Perhaps what is lesser known are three additional facts:

  • Failing to extend unemployment benefits, according to the CBO, would decrease GDP by 0.5% – or $750 billion.
  • Extending unemployment would add, again according to the CBO, would add another 300,000 jobs to the economy.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says every $1 of unemployment insurance benefit grows the total economy by $1.10. And every $1 million of the benefit adds six new American jobs. Moreover, unemployment insurance has more economic impact than many other spending proposals according to the CBO.

In other words, for a mere fraction of the cost American taxpayers spend through the tax system to banks, private equity carve outs, and other corporate entities, extended unemployment benefits would increase jobs and GDP as well as save two million families from absolutely no income on which to live.

Perhaps I’m old fashioned or learned too well the religious lessons of my childhood, but I simply cannot accept the idea – and the selfish, self-centered ideology behind it – that we should allow our neighbors, and their children, go hungry or lose their housing because we, the richest nation on earth with a better than $15 trillion economy, are too cheap to help these families as we’ve always done since UI was enacted decades ago.

What would such a lapse, or the price to other important responsibilities for the nation, have to say about our moral fiber as Americans? It seems to me Winthrop’s “Shining City on the Hill” will have become a shadow, a mere ghost of what has been and could continue to be.

Written by Valerie Curl

December 29, 2012 at 9:49 AM

’08 Obama Voters, Stop the Dispair…and Recognize Who Is Preventing Recovery!

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Ron Brownstein of the National Journal wrote a story about three weeks ago that escaped much attention. In the article, Brownstein explains the disappointment many 2008 Obama supporters now feel with the President. That he’s not done enough to get the country moving again, or that the recovery is too slow.

In 2008, Koplitz backed Obama, and he still sympathizes with his hard road. “I think that guy walked into a [screwed]-up situation,” he said. “At least it didn’t get as bad as it could have been.” But although Koplitz credits Obama for averting disaster, he had expected to see more recovery by now. “It’s not as good as you could have hoped,” he said. Even more important, he sees no signs of acceleration ahead. “It’s just stagnation,” he sighed. “It’s not getting worse, but you are not improving anything right now.” As a result, Koplitz is leaning strongly toward Romney.

But the vast majority of the 2008 Obama supporters I met, both blue- and white-collar, were not prepared to abandon him. A few saw signs of economic improvement. With several women, Obama benefited from unease over Romney’s conservative social views. (“I look forward to maintaining control of my own body,” Jody Rodney, a homemaker and singer told me. “It’s kind of important to me.”) Other 2008 supporters praised Obama’s health care plan. But the most powerful glue for many of the president’s voters was the sense that he has earned a kind of sweat equity in delivering grudging progress against the same economic gales so disruptive in their own lives. “With the situation he came into, he did the best he could,” said McKinney, 33, a single mother who started work recently as a medical technician. “There’s no quick fix. The problems were 12 years in the making.”

Perhaps these people, like most of America, don’t realize the Congressional headwinds Obama has faced since his inauguration. Even Obama and his team were unprepared for the kind of full on, dedicated obstructionism that GOP congressional leadership planned for him, given the condition of the economy after the financial crash.

In his book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper recounts an event that occurred the night of Obama’s inauguration.

About 15 Republicans plus a few spouses sat around a gathering of tables at the Caucus Room, an expense-account steakhouse near the Capital, to commiserate over the election loss and perhaps to air some spite over the historically huge crowds that turned out for Obama’s inauguration. At the meeting were Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra and Dan Lungren of the House along with Jim DeMint, Jon Kyle, Tom Coburn, John Ensign, and Bob Corker from the Senate. The other three were conservative journalist Fred Barnes, Newt Gingrich and GOP aligned communications specialist, Frank Luntz.

Luntz had organized the dinner, inviting these men specifically because they were among the GOP’s most energetic thinkers, in his estimation, and because they got along with Luntz. Throughout the evening, they shared their thoughts about what had gone wrong and why.

They vowed that night, around those gathered tables, that they would regain their majority as they had between 1994 and 2000. “They would take back the House and would use the House as the Republicans’ spear point to mortally wound President Obama in 2011. Then they would retake the White House and the Senate in 2012.”

But rather than personally attacking the highly popular President, they would attack the President’s policies. They would stick together to deny the President and Democrats as many legislative successes as possible. Frank Luntz could not have been happier.

The dinner lasted nearly four hours by which time they had formulated their plan.

First, they would go after Tim Geithner – which Kyl did the next day.

Second, show a united front in opposition to the president’s economic policies – eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor held House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama’s economic stimulus plan.

Third, go after vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves – the first attack ads began running less than two months later.

Fourth, win the spear point of the House in 2010. Jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and Senate in 2012.

As Draper recounts, what was forgotten – or at least not discussed – that night in the Caucus Room was the depressing state of the economy. The already high and climbing unemployment rate. The massive loss of middle class wealth, estimated to be over a trillion dollars. The unfolding of a housing crisis that would eventually affect nearly one in three homeowners nationally.

Nevertheless, all that counted to these Republicans was winning the game of politics and regaining political control, not repairing the damage caused by the financial meltdown that caused the most severe recession since the Great Depression. A recession caused no less by the same kinds of Wall St. behavior and speculation that caused the Great Depression.

As a consequence of the meeting that night and their decisions, each and every policy Obama put forth to resolve the ongoing economic crisis met with a defiant NO from Republicans in both the House and Senate. Every bill Obama and the Democrats proposed, Senate Republicans filibustered.

Following the election in January 2010, of Scott Brown, R-MA, Democrats in the Senate no longer had a reliable 60-vote majority to override the Republican filibusters – even before January 2010, obtaining 60 votes to end a filibuster was difficult. MN Senator Franken did not take his seat until July 7, 2009 and Ted Kennedy died on August 25, 2009.

After months of putting forth large packages to address the ongoing weakness in the economy only to see them blocked by a defiant GOP, the Obama Administration and Democrats decided to break down big packages into smaller ones in hopes that smaller efforts might gain passage if one or two Republican Senators could be persuaded to join the Democrats in overriding the inevitable filibuster. But even those hopes were dashed, if not in the House then in the Senate.

For example, the American Jobs Act would have raised gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3% to over 2% according to numerous analysts, from Goldman-Sachs to Macroeconomic Advisors. Raising GDP by that amount would have created thousands, if not millions, of jobs. Instead Republicans voted against it and filibustered it, crying out that it would increase the deficit (or increase taxes on the wealthy) even while borrowing rates were effectively at zero. Can anyone imagine, if they could borrow at zero percent interest, not borrowing to take care of needed repairs, especially when they know they can repay the loan? But that is exactly what the GOP blocked. Plus, the economic growth from raising GDP, and lowering unemployment, easily would have paid for the Act.

GDP growth prior to and since Obama took office

Shortly after Obama’s policies took effect, GDP ad economic confidence grew. After GOP obstruction took effect GDP, along with economic confidence, began to falter and become sporadic. The effects of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and BRIC slowdown harms US domestic growth, but if the GOP worked with, rather than against the President and Democrats, the US could lead the world out of Depression as it has before.

But Republicans chose defeating Obama and the Democrats over putting people back to work and helping small businesses grow. Under normal economic conditions, I’d say that’s just politics; that’s the way the game is played. But given the deep and ongoing economic crisis, exacerbated by the on-going sovereign (bank caused) debt crisis in the Eurozone and the slow down in the BRIC countries, especially China, the obstructionism and filibusters of Republicans is unconscionable. They are specifically keeping the economy slow to fulfill their political ends. The political ends to which they agreed on the very night of Obama’s inauguration.

Those people who supported and voted for Obama in 2008 but feel let down and disillusioned now need to understand the political game that’s been played by Republicans over the last four years. If Obama has not met their expectations or hopes, it was because the Republican put up a huge roadblock that prevented progress. Republicans have deliberately sidetracked economic recovery, using one excuse after another to kill economic recovery bills, in order to cause the American people to blame Obama and Democrats for the lack of recovery.

Unfortunately, they’ve been winning that political communications battle, knowing full well that most people are not tuned in to what occurs in Congress. The GOP has counted on the American people to blame the President for not making everything better, regardless of how Congress behaves…as though any President can force a determined obstructionist party bent on defeating that President at all costs to bend to his will or negotiate in good faith. It would take another President Johnson who knew all the skeletons in everyone’s closets to blackmail these intractable Republicans into voting his way.

So, when I hear or read of Democrats or Obama supporters having lost their faith in him or maybe staying home on November 2, I want to yell: “Hey, you’re not paying attention. If anything, you should be voting out all those Republicans who, because of politics alone, are standing in the way of recovery. They are the ones preventing jobs as well as small and new businesses from growing.”

Instead of voting in more Republicans and Romney, who will only increase middle class taxes and decrease everyone’s consumer and product protections, vote out all the Republicans! Send them all home now so recovery can occur…rather than continue to wallow in despair and helplessness. If you’re not registered, get someone to help you get registered. If you don’t have the right voter ID, get someone to help you obtain it.

If you really care about your family, your children’s futures, your communities and your neighborhood businesses, then vote out every Republican possible. Send a message that the middle class counts…that the nation requires a strong, well educated, economically viable middle class to grow the nation, create new businesses, and to compete in a global economy. Together we can renew the nation, while protecting the most vulnerable, if we have the will and desire to send that message clearly and definitively through our voting.

Remember, the President has not let you down, the Republicans have, because of their self-serving drive for power and a belief that you, the middle class, don’t count.

Democrats, Progressives, and friends, send this message to everyone you know. Accurate information can defeat those who, for self seeking political gains, hold the economy down. Plus, if the GOP and Romney win, their lives will be so much worse as the GOP is dedicated to ending the TR’s Fair Deal, FDR’s New Deal, and Johnson’s Great Society. The GOP want the 1890s again and will stop at nothing to return to it.

Increasing Employment and GDP

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Economic IndicatorsIf the Republicans in Congress had passed President Obama’s American Jobs Act the following would have occurred:

  • Goldman Sachs economists estimated that the AJA would increase GDP by 1.5 percent, before any multiplier effects.
  • Thomas Lam, of the economic advisory firm OSK-DMG, estimated that the bill would boost GDP by 1.8 percent.
  • Macroeconomic Advisers estimated that the boost would be 1.3 percent.
  • Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy, put the boost at 2 percent of GDP.
  • The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the new initiatives in the AJA would increase GDP by 1.9 percent, while policy extensions it included would increase GDP by another 1.4 percent.
  • The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill as a net deficit reducer over a ten year budget window.
  • Since none of these organizations are particularly Democratic leaning partisans, it’s hard to imagine they would “fudge” the numbers.

So who stopped the economy from growing more rapidly? Who stepped on the breaks? It’s only a short logical leap, given what Republicans have been saying for the last four years, to determine who hit the breaks and why this bill failed to pass.

Come November, every voter should remember – or be reminded of – these statistics, especially if they don’t have a job or are underemployed or own a small business. They should be reminded that there was a plan, presented by President Obama, that the GOP opposed purely to score political points, rather than choosing to save the economy – and create jobs and economic growth.

Feel free to tweet or reblog this or any my blogs. The economy – people’s lives and solutions – are far more important than political party wins. No Republican Congress in my long lifetime, prior to Gingrich, ever strangled economic growth for purely partisan reasons. The nation deserves better.

Written by Valerie Curl

July 31, 2012 at 9:44 AM

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