Sunday, August 22, 2010

On the Elections

The recent primary results show that we Democrats have a tough task ahead of us before November. Our candidates will be out-spent and out-shouted as we go into the general election. Our main and most effective weapon will be our own voices. We need to not be bashful about raising those voices. And we have a powerful message to share. We must remind everyone that the policies of the opposition are proven failures. During the Bush years lowering taxes on the rich did NOT produce jobs. Decreasing regulations brought about this Republican Recession that now dogs our citizens. All the ideas that Republicans are using to influence voters have been tried and all of us are paying the price for them to this very day.

As reported by many news organizations in April and May of this year, current tax rates are the lowest they have been in 60 years. The idea that higher taxes are going to strangle businesses is simply not true. Any business that is so on-the-edge that a bit more in taxes is going to kill it already has a failing business model. People in the top income bracket are getting a freer ride now than they have in decades. During that time, the real earnings of middle-income have been in decline. Contrary to the Republican line, the real engine of economic growth is middle-income spending not high-income spending.

State government spending primarily represents our human obligation to one another. We must work together to provide a good education to our children, to provide the infrastructure businesses need to flourish, and to be a backstop to our most vulnerable citizens. When Republicans talk about cutting state spending, they are actually talking about shirking our moral obligations.

At the Federal level we are in an unfortunate situation in which the financial system has become paralyzed (thanks to excesses produced by ill-considered deregulation). When private sector activity dries up, the economy collapses unless some other economic activity comes in to take over. This is what happened in the Great Depression and it is what is happening now. It was the massive spending of World War II that finally ended that era. Thankfully we have avoided the worst effects of the Great Depression. And it will require the discipline of continued spending to bring us out of the Republican Recession. No one wants to waste money so we can have a discussion of what constitutes appropriate spending. If we are wise, we can direct spending to infrastructure and initiatives that prepare us for future robust growth. That growth will erase the debt we are incurring. When businesses spend to grow, it’s called investing. The same should apply to government spending now. But spend we must until the ravages of deregulation have been healed.

We must remind voters that regulation wasn’t dreamed up out of thin air to harm business. Every regulation was enacted to mitigate a problem. Remove the regulation and you are allowing that problem to return. Perhaps regulation can be more streamlined or more effective. But the need for it is certain.

The Republican attacks even extend to Social Security. Yet they can offer no alternative that is better. Whatever they do offer is only worse and, given their track record, much worse.

As Democrats, we have a fight on our hands. But it is a good fight. It is a fight worth fighting. We have a message worth sending. We have a moral obligation to raise our voices and speak out. The facts of history are on our side. Let us not be found wanting in our energy or effort at this critical time.

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