Want to be scared? Think about years more of the same
November 2, 2008
Here we are in the last day of the presidential campaign. These past six weeks have been instructive.
While everyone knew that middle class America was hurting with a downturning economy, the events since mid-September and the financial market crash spread the pain to Wall Street and the world. Foreclosures and unemployment are reaching record highs and climbing, and retirement security is threatened as 401Ks dive.
Family income is $2,000 less than it was eight years ago. We are bogged down in a war that has pumped up our national debt. Our gross nation product has fallen, indicating an economy in retreat. America has not seen such hard times since the 1930s.
While Rome is burning the Republican party keeps playing the same fiddle. John McCain and Sarah Palin support the very policies that brought us to the mess we are in … deregulation in the face of greed and an ideological commitment to failed economic theories of trickle down. Since they cannot deny reality, their campaign has devolved into launching attacks against Senator Obama, designed to scare the dickens out of us, by using innuendo and guilt by association.
William Hamilton, in his column last week, must have been preparing for Halloween. He delivered a bunch of innuendoes and he jumped from behind a tree to try to scare you with a big “boo.” Who is this Barack Obama, he and others shout?
Barack Obama has been running for president for two years. Where have these hurlers of innuendo been? Asleep like Rip Van Winkle? Every right wing organization in the world has found no evidence that any of his past associations ever stuck. His entire public life, as an Illinois state legislator and a senator, attests that it did not, that he is neither a terrorist or an angry black man. All the right wing can claim is that he knew such and such and was present at such and such, and everything they cannot prove with hard evidence must be a secret.
For those of you who want to be diligent about your vote, I suggest you run by all of the stuff thrown at you on http://www.factcheck.org. This is an independent group funded by the conservative Annenberg Foundation that has looked behind these claims. When two former NATO supreme commanders (Gens. Wesley Clark, on the stump for Obama in Colorado, and James L. Jones) and Colin Powell attest to Obama’s ability to be commander in chief and give Obama their stamp of approval, I think that is reassurance to most rational people that he is neither a terrorist nor a secret Muslim.
Of course, the same folks screaming guilt by association gloss over a vice presidential candidate whose husband has supported Alaska’s secession from the United States and who herself gave the same group supporting the secession a pat on the back and told them to keep up the good work. Her foreign affairs experience rests on looking across the Bering Straights to Russia. I wonder how Hamilton would have vetted her. Given John McCain’s age and medical history, there is more than a chance she will become our president. That is my “boo.”
All of this reminds me of the Joseph McCarthy era where paranoia and guilt by association ran amok. A good part of America was suckered into this and later we realized how wrong we were. It is now considered one of the darkest eras in our country’s history. During the early 1950s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy held congressional hearings to root out suspected Communists in government and society. He found few, but he painted anyone with leftist views and associations as un-American, whether they were Communists or not. The McCarthy era could be explained by fear of the Soviet Union’s attempt to take over Eastern Europe and then the world. It was fueled by paranoia.
Ah … and now for the new one: Obama is a “socialist” because he talks about “spreading the wealth around” to the middle class. What should we call the Republicans? The “let them eat cake” party? The “trickle down” party? The Republicans redid the tax structure of the prior Clinton years so that the breaks went to the wealthy and corporations instead of to the middle class. Their theory was that if tax breaks were given to wealthy people and to corporations, jobs and wealth would be created and it would trickle down to the less wealthy.
It is obvious that eight years of that experiment did not work. Trickle down got stuck in a pipe somewhere. The middle class got poorer, jobs were lost, not gained, and our national debt soared.
The Republicans are calling Barack Obama a socialist because he wants to give tax breaks to the middle class and restore the tax structure to wealthy and corporations that existed in the Clinton presidency. They claim he is spreading the wealth around and then they call this socialism. Where have the Republicans been for the last 95 years? We have had a tax system that spreads the wealth around called progressive taxation. Progressive income tax simply means that those who make more pay higher percentage of their income in taxes because they are put into a higher tax bracket.
We have had a progressive tax system since 1913. Progressive taxation was advocated by Adam Smith, the father of the capitalistic system, in his book, “Wealth of Nations.”
We did have balanced budgets and a healthy economy when Bill Clinton was president. He slashed the Washington work force and had a tax structure that helped the middle class, yet the wealthy and the investors had enough income after taxes to invest in our economy. All Obama is proposing is a return to a similar structure and to give the tax breaks to the middle class and to restore the Clinton rates to the wealthy and corporations.
The Republicans have the gall to call that socialism. Give me a break (double meaning intended).
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