Executive Director Reports

We Won't Go Back!

It doesn't seem that long ago that the American economy was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month, the auto industry was on the verge of collapse; the stock market had tanked by more than half; and the nation was on the brink of an economic crisis to match the Great Depression of 1929, when unemployment hit 25 percent of the workforce.

With little more than a month-and-a-half before the next presidential election, it's a good time to reflect on what happened in the years leading up to that 2008 economic collapse.

In the 1990's the United States had made a strong comeback.

By the late ‘90's the average income of working Americans actually grew in real terms for the first time in two decades.

The federal budget deficit had been eliminated. For the first time in 40 years the U.S. government was actually running a surplus.

And then, after a contentious battle for the White House, the Supreme Court stopped the ballot counting in Florida, effectively electing George Bush president by one vote, 5-4.

Instead of following the successful Clinton policies, Bush embarked on a reckless course at home of cutting taxes mainly for the wealthy, assuring us that the rich would invest their money to create jobs for all Americans.

Contrary to those claims, the unemployment rate more than doubled on Bush's watch.

It turned out that Wall Street speculation-aided by Bush's deregulation of the financial markets--proved a lot more profitable for those at the top than investing in job-creating sectors of the economy.

At the same time as he was studiously ignoring the huge bubble Wall Street was blowing, Bush launched a war in Iraq, saying he had to eliminate the infamous weapons of mass destruction. Those WMD's, just like those promised jobs, have yet to be located.

It took Barack Obama to extract us from that ill-advised war.

And unlike the non-existent WMD's and the jobs which never materialized from the tax cuts for rich people, Osama Bin Laden did exist. But George Bush couldn't find him. It was Barack Obama who took him down.

I know George Bush won't be on the ballot this November, but Mitt Romney will be, and if you take the time to examine the Romney record, you'll realize that he's nothing but Bush on steroids.

Like Bush, Mitt Romney is a child of privilege, which in and of itself wouldn't eliminate him as a good president.

After all Franklin Roosevelt came from a well-to-do family and he was easily the best president in the last 100 years - a champion of working families. But Mitt Romney, with his relentless focus on rewarding wealth, is about as far From Franklin Roosevelt as you can get.  Romney's never given the slightest indication that he understands or cares about the experience of average Americans.

Romney not only wants to extend the Bush era tax cuts for rich people, but he wants to expand them by lowering the taxes on investment income. How many working families have investment income?

His economic plan would pay for those tax cuts by cutting Social Security, Medicare, and other vital programs and, according to most economic experts, by raising taxes on average Americans in order to balance his budget.

Romney's hostility to unions is fierce.  Last fall he made a special trip to Ohio to campaign against public employee union rights. At issue was a ballot measure that restored collective bargaining rights to public employees after the Buckeye State legislature had passed a bill to eliminate them.

This summer Romney was in Wisconsin supporting Gov. Scott Walker's repeal of bargaining rights and opposing the union-led drive to recall Walker.

Romney's also demonstrated a disturbing hostility to public employees themselves.  He's opposed to desperately needed federal assistance to state and local government, claiming that our country has too many teachers, firefighters, and public employees in general.

Mitt Romney is attacking Barack Obama because the United States economy still hasn't recovered from George Bush's destructive policies.  Yet Romney's only "cure" for its ills is to return to those same policies. 

There's no doubt the economy isn't yet thriving after nearly four years of an Obama presidency.  But we've come a long way from those dark days of 2008 when the country teetered on the brink of economic collapse.  President Obama revitalized  the American auto industry, provided an infusion of funds that kept state and local governments from fiscal ruin, and stimulated infrastructure projects that not only rebuilt roads and bridges but kept many Americans working.

And he would have done more but for the obstructionists in the Congress who are determined to undermine his Presidency.

We will still have a long way to go to get our economy back on track if Barack Obama is re-elected. If Mitt Romney is our next president we'll be heading backward: Union rights will be under far greater attack than anything we've seen thus far, driving wages and the middle class down even further.

Unless you think that a return to the policies of George Bush will be good for you and your family, there'll be only one choice on Nov. 6.