REFLECTIONS

Posted on August 30, 2012

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GOP’S ECONOMIC AUSTERITY FAILS

Solutions to big problems don’t fit on a bumper sticker. Working people need comprehensive and proven policies that will build shared prosperity for everyone in America who works hard and plays by the rules.

It can’t be a nip here or a tuck there. We need policies with the scale and boldness to turn around our economy, so it isn’t run by and for the richest Americans any more.

Good people can disagree, but America has not had honest and meaningful debate for a long time. Here are some ideas to consider.

There’s a blueprint to work from. It’s called “Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All,” and was written  by two professors from Yale University, Jacob Hacker and Nathaniel Lowentheil. The core idea that underpins each of the policy recommendations is that broadly shared prosperity produces better long-term economic strength than inequality.

“Prosperity Economics” contrasts sharply with the austerity urged by leading Republicans for the past 30 years and endorsed wholeheartedly by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Austerity is a failure. It has lowered wages and degraded the wealth of middle class families.

Decades of government cutbacks have decimated the agencies that protect us. Oil spills and other environmental catastrophes are too common and too destructive. Too many people are being hurt and injured on the job. Food safety has suffered. And austerity endangers core American programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Why have we followed this path? It’s not a noble mission, we can promise you that. We did it to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and to allow Wall Street and corporate CEOs to enrich themselves at our expense.

Our vision is different. It offers a sold program for a bright future. We can rebuild a healthy economy by reconnecting wages to productivity. When we weakened the unions, we lost our ability to protect workers on the job, and companies laid off workers and cutback on production. People have less money to spend, and the spiral goes down.

The time is for action now at the polls this November. Our economy is sagging. We need to elect Democrats to stop the party of “No.” Our president was stopped at every corner by the party of “No,” even though at first he tried to work with them. That is why he was unable to turn our economy around and create more jobs.

We need to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and airports. And we need to restore U.S. manufacturing by reforming our trade policies. We need to end tax incentives for outsourcing and give states the financial help to hire back teachers, first responders and other public-service workers.

Our main goal should be a path to financial security for everyone in America. Every student must have an opportunity to attend college or acquire the skills needed to reach his or her full potential. We must strengthen Social Security and commit to a secure and dignified retirement and access to quality health care for all Americans.

We can do all this, and we can clean up our economy. We have the resources. America remains fantastically wealthy and productive nation. We can break the lock that Wall Street and the richest one percent have held on our democracy. We need election finance reform so that wealthy corporations cannot buy elections.

Our policies offer a chance for today’s young people, and the generations after them to inherit good jobs and a growing middle class. These are the solutions that offer a light at the end of our long economic tunnel.

Those seeking the support of working people in November and beyond should take notice. The American public is smart and tough. We have a vision. As you read this, will you embrace it?

It’s time for real solutions to the real problems we face. America wants prosperity, not another round of austerity.

 

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