Felicia Muftic: The Party of No: deja vu all over again
Grand County, CO Colorado
Republicans are once again the party of “no.” John Boehner dissed all but a few elements of the short-term job proposal made by President Obama, calling the package an election year gimmick.
At the GOP debate in Orlando, Fla., last week, Obama’s job creation plan for shovel ready projects was compared to dog poop. The president’s proposal for long term deficit reduction, a problem most Americans place way down on their list of worries, got ignored or damned because it contained some revenue enhancements. Credit Republicans for being consistent if not constructive.
Polls show Obama is beginning to be blamed by more people for the state of the economy. While most still believe that Bush dealt Obama a bad hand, Obama needs to do more than draw his own line in the sand and raise fairness issues.
So far he has done a poor job of reminding voters what he has done to keep the economic situation from getting worse. He has not countered the GOP claim that he made the economic crash worse and he has failed to make the case the GOP approach will bring more pain to the middle class. It is not that he lacks ammunition.
• Indeed, it could have been worse. We have forgotten Obama kept us from a Great Depression, a feat of historic importance . His early 2009 stimulus created close to the 3 million jobs it was planned to generate yet GOP candidates are still telling the fib that it was “zero.” The bailout of the auto industry is a success story, and the auto and Bush bank bailouts have mostly been paid back to the U.S. treasury.
• The GOP’s dog won’t hunt. Their reliance solely on tax and budget cuts will not work to reduce the deficit enough. No one from the Simpson Bowles report to any mainstream economist says that is realistic. Both more revenue and cuts are needed, which Obama is proposing.
• The GOP plans inflict needless pain. The GOP-dominated House voted to reduce the deficit in ways that would cost future seniors a bundle to maintain Medicare benefits, and GOP candidates would remove government guarantees of Social Security funds. They are ignoring less painful methods.
• Half measures get half results. Passing part of the Obama short term jobs plan will get only partial results. The GOP’s stance that “less is best” is a formula for less job creation. It is a matter of degree.
• GOP strategy makes the patient sicker. Their modus in Congress has been to hold hostage reasonable, popular and necessary legislation as a method to leverage getting their way. Opposing raising the debt limit or not approving FEMA funding is a callous disregard of the collateral damage to job creation, business and Americans trying to recover from natural disasters.
• No country should be left behind to be sicker and dumber in this competitive world. The GOP’s plans to short both environmental protection and education will leave us in the dust of our competition, from China to India and many others.
• Obama has compromised some while the GOP has obstructed all. Obama has already agreed to reform the tax structure. His “Obamacare” and the education reforms announced last week give states more latitude to opt out from parts of some federal government requirements, so they have more flexibility to formulate their own methods to meet standards.
• Obama, unlike Republicans, is not backing down on standards necessary to protect consumers from medical insurance company bad practices and to provide affordable access to health and education. The GOP has proposed no practical way to replace Obamacare.
• GOP candidates’ solution to shrinking big government and dodging control from Washington is to palm off entitlements and health care onto states, which are already financially strapped. That is like shifting these programs from one pocket to another pocket shot full of holes.
For more commentary, go to http://www.mufticforum.com
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