Monday, September 29, 2008

Policy and Philosophy Matter to our Pocketbooks

For the second time in the last 25 years, we middle class and poor citizens have felt the pain of failed Republican economic policy and philosophy.

Let's look at the facts. We cannot afford to allow this to happen again.

Wielding the scare tactics of "tax increases" and social issues to assert the philosophy that unregulated markets not only feed individual greed but somehow benefit everyone, the Republican Party has forsaken the economic conservatism that was historically a hallmark of this party and become adept at getting voters to vote against our own pocketbooks.

"Reaganomics"--or "voodoo economics," as they became known when the economy crashed in 1987--convinced the American public that our economy could sustain tax cuts for corporations, Big Oil (Reagan removed Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the White House in 1980) and the wealthy while increasing military spending and not investing in the domestic infrastructure that makes us strong and competitive: education, health care, alternative energy, science and technology research, etc. These policies first failed in 1987, with the largest single-day losses in the history of the U.S. economy and untold job losses.

During the 1990s, Bill Clinton struggled to build bipartisan consensus and was able to restore widening prosperity and innovation to the American economy through the creation of a fair and balanced tax program; cuts in wasteful spending; and investments in domestic infrastructure. Our nation entered the 21st century with a budget surplus and at an innovative peak.

How did we allow the last eight years to happen? September 11 scared us, and we have allowed the Republican Party to leverage this fear for the advancement of a politics and philosophy which benefit the few at the expense of the many. Never has this been more apparent than in today's economic crises. How could anyone, even a registered Republican, vote for the Republican Party this year, in the face of such widespread evidence of the failure of these economic policies and philosophies?

"The economy" and "the market" do not have lives independent from policy--although Republicans attempt to have us believe this is so. It is time to hold those responsible for the current mess accountable for their actions: series of policies and decisions which hurt and damage the American middle class.

This election offers us as middle class and poor voters a clear choice between a candidate who will offer meaningful change and a candidate who will offer more of the same. Barack Obama has clearly proposed the types of economic policies which will rebuild our nation, while John McCain has offered nothing. For the sake of each of us and for us as a nation in a global economy, let's pay attention to the facts and make the right choice this time.