Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The straw that breaks the elephants back?

President Obama taught Americans about demand side economics today in a speech designed to kick-start action in Congress and allow Republicans to show they are serious about John Boehner's so far empty slogan "...Republicans most important action is to create jobs, jobs, jobs."  His presentation was inspiring and showed his sincere concern for America's middle class as well as his understanding about real solutions to initiating economic prosperity for all Americans.

Specifically he spoke about and elaborated on the cornerstones of improving the economy.  These are:

1. Good Jobs with decent wages and benefits.  His efforts will be towards recognizing companies that keep jobs in America and treat their employees fairly.

2. Education programs to prepare children for global competition.  He spoke about the need for pre-school for all 4 year olds; improving school infrastructures; reversing the student loan rate increase and making college affordable for all Americans.

3. Home ownership.  He wants to encourage ownership based on solid foundation of fair and clear rules and asked Congress to take action to encourage families to refinance at low rates.

4. Secure retirement.  He believes America has an upside down system where the wealthy get generous tax exceptions to save but the lower classes do not get the same breaks.  He wants to allow the middle class to save money and belay fears of poverty in retirement.  He reminded Congress that passing immigration reform makes undocumented workers pay their taxes and shores up social security.

5. Health Care focus.  He wants Americans to have security in knowing neither accident nor illness will cause you to lose your savings.  The affordable care act means a better deal for people.  Private insurers will compete for your business.  Pre-existing conditions will have to be covered.  Health care costs are being driven down.  Some states are finding that premiums will  be 50% lower.  The Affordable care act ensures health insurance coverage for 26 year olds under their parents plan.  He does not know why Republicans want to repeal such a benefit for people.

6. Rebuild opportunity for those who have not made it.  The President believes that too many are still in poverty.  He recognizes that America does not guarantee success and people need to be self-reliant.  But he wants there to be a quality of opportunity and upward mobility available for everyone.  The American idea is that you can make it if you work hard, but opportunity is harder to find over the last 30 years.  We must do more to give every American the chance to make it to the middle class.
He wants to rebuild run down neighborhoods.  He again calls for raising the minimum wage.  He believes economic growth will benefit everyone when it comes from the middle class out and not top down.  Even without Congress he says he will do whatever is in his power to focus on that philosophy.  He is calling on the private sector to step up and for Democrats to redesign or get rid of non-workable programs.

7. Republicans must work with the President to find common ground.  President Obama thinks there are Republicans who privately agree with his policies in Congress now but they are afraid of retribution from their party.  He identifies Republicans in Congress as the greatest obstruction that hampers economic growth.  Republicans must now lay out their ideas.  He reminds them that you can't just be against something.  He insists they must be for something.  He is ready to work with Republicans if they have any ideas.  He says if Republicans have any better  ideas then they should stop taking ludicrous repeal votes and share their ideas with the country.  The President will not accept deals that do not meet the test of strengthening hard working families.

Still focused on the Republican obstruction in Congress,  the President says that doing nothing will lose a part of the character of America.  The American dream will be lost and the position of the middle class will erode further.  Money politics will destroy our country more.  Fundamental optimism will give way to cynicism.  He warns "that's not the vision of America we should settle for."

The President appeals to the moral compass of Republicans to stop the fighting in order to think about the American way of life.  Making America special is not to focus on making the few wealthy.  It's about making America benefit.  It's an American dream; not Obama's dream or Sally's dream or John's dream.

Unfortunately, demand side economics flies in the face of Congressional Republicans view of the
pathway for economic success.  According to Republicans since Ronald Reagan, supply side economics is the way to trickle down prosperity to the lower levels of society.  This means bolstering the wealthy with tax cuts and government money while reducing government spending on the public infrastructure and reducing government spending that benefits the weakest in society.

One must remember that Republican majority leader John Boehner assigned Paul Ryan to create their proposed budget.  Paul Ryan is a firm believer in Ayn Rand's anti-Christian policies of survival of the fittest.  As such his proposed budget slashes government programs that benefit the general public and the poorest in society in favor of tax cuts and government subsidy entitlements for the wealthiest Americans.  Even though Republicans will stand fervently united in their faith of supply side economics, economists have identified the undeniable fact that only the wealthy benefit from it.

From demand comes business profits.  Without demand, businesses will hold onto their cash reserves, remove jobs to be more in line with decreased demand and find cheaper ways to produce their products.

This is exactly what we have seen in the rush to manufacture in foreign countries, finding cheaper foreign workers, suppressing unions, hiring temporary and part-time workers instead of higher paid full time employees and keeping wages for Americans low.  Without demand, any business would not survive.  American workers who are the product consumers provide businesses with that demand.  Bolstering the working class would benefit businesses and improve the economy for everyone.

So will Republicans rally around President Obama's vision of economic prosperity?  My opinion is that they would rather ruin our economy by disallowing debt ceiling increases than changing this basic misunderstanding that they have about economics.

So what will the President's speech accomplish if our government is still obstructed by Republicans?  Perhaps I give more credit to the American voter than is due, but I believe this speech will setup the failure of Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.  Any thinking American voter will understand the concept and should be fed up with Republican obstruction.

This speech may be the straw that breaks the elephants back.

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