In response to: ‘Citizens starting to see the light’
I would like to correct the statement made by Dave Finch in his recent Other Voices column, “Citizens starting to see the light,” in which he implies there is no evidence that the stimulus worked.
In fact there is strong evidence that the stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), TARP and other extraordinary economic measures taken in 2007 and 2008 did work and are still working.
First, Alan Binder, professor of Economics at Princeton University and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and former advisor to John McCain, have just written a paper titled “How the Great Recession was Brought to an End.”
They used an econometric model to show that if the financial undertakings by the Federal government had not been taken, the real GNP would have fallen 12 percent rather than the actual 4 percent; almost 17 million jobs would have been lost, twice the actual count; the unemployment rate would have peaked at 16.5 percent, rather than 9.5 percent; the 2010 deficit would have passed $2 trillion, not the actual $1.4 trillion projected for this year.
Instead, we have had a steady job growth in private sector employment and growth in GNP for the last eight months.
Second, there is also an extensive article in the Sept. 6, 2010, issue of Time magazine titled “The Stimulus, is it working?” The answer is yes! Here is a brief list; lowered solar power costs 50 percent, cut cost of batteries for electric cars, doubled renewable energy generation capacity, invested in health information technology and invested in power supplies to make power more reliable and efficient.
Third, according to the Congressional Budget office, the stimulus increased the number of people employed by 1.4 – 3.3 million as of June 2010.
Thank goodness we had a Democratic congress that had the courage to use government in an active progressive way to save our country from what could have been a really horrific economic decline.
The choice facing the electorate this fall is clear;
1. We can go back to the failed economic policies of the Republican Party that got us into this mess in the first place. We can choose to believe the continual half truths and lies of the propaganda machine of the Fox “Noise” channel, and right wing talk radio. We can continue to be sucked into voting for the Republican “tea” party candidates with their “glittering generalities” of patriotism, freedom, support the troops, support the constitution, lower taxes, less government; or believing the lies and scare tactics like “Obama wasn’t born in this country,” “Obama is a Muslim,” “Obama care is socialized medicine,” “Death Panels” and “Islamaphobia” that are all being used to distract people from important issues – the usual Republican strategy used in every election year.
We can ignore the details about what the Republicans want to do: Cut taxes that mainly benefit the rich, cut corporate taxes to zero, cut capital gains taxes to zero (all this will lead to only the middle class paying taxes), privatize social security, vouchers to replace Medicare, and find excuses for war to feed the military industrial complex (remember McCain’s bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran).
2. Or we can support Democratic candidates. This will result in slow but steady economic recovery. True it could be better. But with the continual obstruction by the Republicans, the Democrats are doing the best they can. Democrats want to support the middle class through fair taxation, create jobs by supporting manufacturing and small businesses in this country, protect social security and Medicare, provide fair health care for all and rein in defense spending.
In 2008 the majority of people across all sectors of the population elected Obama and a Democratic congress to do these things. All of these efforts have been opposed by the Republicans in congress. I think it is important to remember that we now have tyranny of the minority. Forty-one Republican senators (through use of the filibuster) represent only 11 percent of the population, but they have been able to thwart the will of the majority by just saying no to everything the Democrats have tried to do to improve the economy and the lives of ordinary people.
People, please remember why you voted for Obama and the Democrats. Democrats can’t reverse 30 years of failed economic policies of the Republicans in just two years. Give them time and a true working majority to get the American dream back on track.
Nancy Eubanks lives in Rough and Ready.
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