Burnard: Looking at the futureWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The task at hand is to present a vision for the future of our nation based on the outcome of the 2012 election. This election is probably the strangest election season I’ve seen in my 60 years, and the stakes for the average middle-class American couldn’t be higher. The moneyed class has got the bit in its teeth, and with the help of the religious right, and in spite of the help of a crowd of self-styled constitutional experts and economists, they’re going for the whole enchilada, a corporate-led takeover of the governance of this country.
The aforementioned groups can be summed up as angry, white and mostly males. Unfortunately, they haven’t picked the best person for their candidate. Mitt Romney has turned out to be an arrogant apostate who doesn’t seem to connect with most people in the real world most of us live in.
Romney has tried, between faux pas, to come across as someone who has our best interests at heart and a secret plan to create jobs for everyone by basically returning to the same failed policies of the past. For 40 years or so, we’ve been told that if we give tax breaks to the rich and get rid of those pesky regulations that keep companies from reaching their full potential, jobs will come pouring into the workplace and everything will be hunky-dory. Well, we’ve basically tried that, and it still hasn’t worked! All it has done is crash the economy and taken away 40 percent of the middle class’s worth. But still, they keep doubling down on it, and why shouldn’t they?
In the past 50 years, Republicans have held the presidency for 28 years and the Democrats for 22 years. During the GOP terms, they created 24 million jobs, while the Democrats created 42 million. The stock market returns: GOP, 109 percent vs. Dems, 992 percent. Annualized stock market returns: GOP, 2.7 percent vs. Dems, 11 percent. GDP growth: GOP, 2.7 percent vs. 4.1 percent. And finally income growth: GOP, 0.6 percent vs. 2.2 percent. These figures come from the Dept. of Labor, Bloomberg and Politico.
Am I missing something here? In virtually every economic indicator, this country has done substantially better under Democratic governance than under Republican rule. How is it then, that even after the crash of the economy and the Great Recession, so many people are willing to clearly vote against their own best interests? Well, if they can gin up enough of a smoke screen to get the attention off their clearly failed policies, maybe they have a chance. That’s where issues like gay marriage, race baiting, so-called socialism and all those angry white guys come in. We’ll just channel the Founding Fathers in spite of what the true history is, and while we’re at it we’ll rewrite the Constitution, ignore even the most basic economic theories and blame everything on the profligate socialist black guy in our White House.
Let’s look at Obama’s so-called profligacy. In the President’s first real budget, spending was down 1.8 percent to $3.46 trillion. In 2011, it rose 4.3 percent to $3.6 trillion and for 2012 is set to rise 0.7 percent to $3.63 trillion. The 2013 budget, his final for his first term, is scheduled to fall 1.3 percent to $3.58 trillion. These figures are hard to follow for the average layman so perhaps a little perspective is in order. Obama has been accused of running up the debt more than any other president in modern times. Let’s see how he stacks up against his predecessors in annualized growth in federal spending. We’ll start with Ronald Reagan:
- Reagan ’82-85: 8.7 percent
- Reagan ’86-89: 4.9 percent
- Bush I ’90-93: 5.4 percent
- Clinton ’94-97: 3.2 percent
- Clinton ’98-01: 3.9 percent
- W. Bush ’02-05: 7.3 percent
- W. Bush ’06-09*: 8.1 percent
- Obama ’10-13: 1.4 percent
*2009 budget was reassigned to Obama. It took effect four months before he took office.
These figures come from the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office and Haver Analytics, and were published by Rick Ungar on Forbes.com in his column “Token Lefty” (I can relate). He pointed out that Obama is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower. Another right-wing myth bites the dust.
So if you want to look at the future, look at the past through cold hard facts, not through the rose-colored glasses the right uses to sell its lies and innuendoes.
Email columnist Don Burnard at email@example.com.