Muftic: Closing arguments for voting Democratic |

Muftic: Closing arguments for voting Democratic

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Reflecting on the 2012 Presidential election, the turning point was GOP candidate Mitt Romney disdaining the 47 percent as dependent upon government and feeling entitled for the government to care for them. At the same time Congressman Bob Beauprez, now running for Colorado governor, was recorded dissing the 47 percent who did not pay taxes, and he defended the same attitude again in 2014.

Why did 47 percent hit such a nerve? So many were hurting from the Great Recession and did not make enough income to pay taxes. They resented the GOP’s lack of empathy and understanding of the plight of nearly half the country.

Two years later, unemployment has decreased to pre-crash levels and the stock market is robust. Colorado has the fastest growth in the nation, unemployment below the national level, and is rated among the top four states in the nation to make a living. However, to make a case for change, GOP attack ads make sure Democrats’ success does not go unpunished, and Democrats fail to toot their horns enough.

Clearly there are still those who have not felt the recovery trickle down to them, but voters should not be asking who to blame. They should be asking themselves who is more likely to let them share in recovery going forward. Since 2008, the only improvement to the struggling middle-class family pocketbooks has been Obamacare, which made their health care affordable and added 14 years to the life of Medicare.

Congressional Republican obstruction, enforced by government shutdowns, was overcome only by compromises on tax structure and budgets. Compromise is usually a good thing, but these compromises mostly benefited the top income levels, and income gap has gotten worse. It would have been worse by another 15 percent except for the social safety nets, per a recent Stanford University study. The U.S. has one of the most unequal income distributions in the developed world, even after taxes and social welfare policies are taken into account.

The great ideological debate is whether and how much of a role government has. The GOP is conflicted. It is determined for the government to tell women whether to control or which control to use for their reproduction, or who can get married, but they oppose the government maintaining current social services. Would-be libertarians should also read the preamble to the Constitution again and search key words “insure domestic tranquility” and “promote the general welfare“ to seek legitimacy and responsibility for those roles.

The Great Society, the original safety net, was a response to social unrest fueled by anger with racial and economic inequality in the late 1960s. The GOP is trying to dismantle it, piece by piece, by weakening food stamps, Medicaid, health care, and fighting raising the minimum wage. Reform is always needed to meet changing times and fix bad practices, but weakening these programs would only increase the gap between the richer and the middle class and poor. Income equality is not the answer either, because fuel for ambition needs goals to reach and rewards for efforts. Long term deficits are indeed a problem, and what we pay for is what we get, but above all we need is better balance, not a greater tilt to the right as the GOP proposes.

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