We the People: Week of September 13

It’s no time to double down on trickle-down economics

At the Democratic National Convention, President Bill Clinton gave a passionate endorsement of President Obama and his plan for the future. He stated that it was the only one which would bring positive change for America. President Obama acknowledged that the road has been difficult but reminded us that difficult problems don’t have simple solutions.

Republican Paul Ryan asks, Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Mr. Ryan authored a “plan for prosperity” which included $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending and a replacement of Medicare with a private insurance plan.

He did not explain what would happen to the infirm and extremely sick people who rely on Medicare. He did not explain what would happen — since programs like defense spending are exempted — to the other programs which would bear a disproportionate share of the fiscal pain.

The Republican platform has a distinct lack of proportionality. They want to give the wealthy big breaks and hope the rich will spend more which will trickle down to the middle and working classes.

It is hard to believe Mr. Ryan wants to direct attention to the enormous economic failure of the Bush administration four years ago. President Clinton must have been right when he said the Republican Party relies on the assumption that Americans can’t count or remember history.

The economy in September 2008 was in a shambles. Lehman Brothers was allowed to collapse after years of speculation on high risk mortgage lending permitted because there was no regulatory oversight. The $60 billion investment bank was allowed to leverage its assets so that it had less than a four percent reserve for its capitalized assets due to eased regulations. When it failed, 25,000 people immediately joined the unemployment line.

The Bush administration eliminated the budget surpluses created by the Clinton administration and added trillions to the federal deficit. Republican deregulation fueled the housing bubble that nearly bankrupted Wall Street and the world economy. President Obama inherited an economic nightmare second only to that seen by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In January of 2009, the economy and nation teetered on the edge of another Great Depression.

This September, the economy added 93,000 jobs and unemployment receded to 8.1 percent. In November 2008, the economy lost more than 530,000 jobs and unemployment pushed seven percent. The Dow Jones just added 240 points in a single day and crested 13,200. In November 2008, it dipped below 9,000.

President Obama has provided steady leadership, economic stimulation, banking regulation and health care reform. There is a plan in place to cut federal spending that will begin in January of 2013.

This is not the time to worry about tax relief for millionaires and billionaires. This is the time to worry about gun violence in the city. Our local representatives need to support Mayor Bloomberg and his efforts to improve the situation. Senator Golden should decline any endorsement from the NRA, which single-handedly has blocked gun regulation. Mayor Bloomberg described a proposal by Golden to enhance punishment for people who hold guns for criminals as “ridiculous.” This is the time for practical proposals for gun regulation, not ridiculous proposals for gun regulation.

The courts have blocked NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policies but ordered payment for the sex change operation of a murderer serving a life sentence. Another state court gave the green light for pimps, perverts and panderers to take back control of Times Square.

November is the time for the people to make necessary changes. We need to continue the economic recovery under President Obama and find alternatives to our out-of-touch Republican and Democratic representatives on November 6, 2012.

Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the State of New York and is a Democrat.

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