The debate over the first term of President Barack Obama has raged, poisoned by politics and racism. It is important that this debate occurs with hard, objective facts so that we can arrive at a conclusion based on objectivity.
It is important that we remember that the economy was already in a free fall and crashed before Obama took office. On January 20, 2009, the economy was in a full free fall, losing more jobs monthly than any time in history. The job losses began in early 2008 and increased in velocity as the year progressed. That year climaxed with the meltdown of the financial market and its impact was immediate. By 2010, the economy hit bottom with a total job loss of 8.8 million jobs. This was not the worst recession since the Great Depression, as reported — it was a depression.
Obama is the first president in the history of the United States of America to take office with the economy in a full downward spiral and two of wars in full effect. As we consider and debate the future of the country, the electorate must consider the dynamics of what preceded the ascension to the office of the president. As we continue to offshore jobs, the harder it is for our economy to rebound. So while we could say that Obama did not clean up the mess properly, it is not fair to say that he caused it.
The Bush tax cuts did not create jobs, nor did they create economic growth. The acceleration of the tax cuts that are embodied in the first part (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001) and enacted in the second part (Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003) was a giant mistake on the part of President George Bush and the Republican Party. To cut the income of the national government was a gross miscalculation on the part of the republican leadership of the country. The repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act was a mistake. We have seen the economy without the Glass-Steagall Act, twice, and with the Act in effect. The results are clear that there was greater economic stability with the Act in effect.Congress must take action.
Just as we all must do in our house, all income to the government must be reviewed and prioritized before it is expended. Social Security and Medicare can easily be made solvent. Eighty six percent of the Social Security shortfall would be eliminated if we simply remove the annual earnings income cap and tax all income through the end of each year. In addition, increase the Social Security tax by a quarter of one percent for employers and employees; then the Social Security trust fund becomes fully funded. Now we can have a pleasant debate about increased benefits.
If we love our country, then we must have a shared sacrifice and return to the Clinton tax rates. This action, coupled with closing some corporate loopholes and some belt tightening, puts the country on a clear path to once again being “in the black.”
The question at hand for the citizens of this great nation is embodied in the words of President John Kennedy, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Fitzverity C. Silvera
IBT Local 808
Long Island City