Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rampage! Part 1: The economy


I apologize in advance for the language in this post. I'll try to edit it out later when I've calmed down. Yesterday, I put up a quote on Facebook from Brooks Jackson of FactCheck to try to advocate for those doing real research in their claims and to decide who to vote for. A vicar from Minnesota attacked the claims and put his own views on there about why he couldn't vote for Obama. I showed howed how his points were not making much sense and actually disproved almost all of them. He changed the argument stating that we're in a world of degradation and it doesn't matter who we vote for. But I checked Facebook yet again and he put up yet another post praising Romney over Obama.  Nevermind the inherent hypocrisy in saying that we're in a world of degradation and it doesn't matter who we vote for and then putting up posts that clearly show preference for one candidate over another. We won't even focus on the fact that churches cannot lose tax exempt status for showing political bias and favoring one candidate over another; he has carte blanche to advocate for Romney over Obama every week without any real reprecussions.  But if a member of another charitable organization such as a political mobilization group could lose 501c(3) status by saying you should vote for one candidate over another or telling you to say yes or no to certain ballot measures. Instead we're turning this opportunity to start a segment here at A More Perfect Union. This new segment is going to focus on arguments from both sides of the political spectrum for/against both presidential candidates. Buckle up for the ride! Let's do it.

We're assuming a hypothetical debate here. There is not a doubt in anyone's mind that the biggest argument in this year's election cycle will be about the economy.  I hope to encapsulate the thoughts and feelings of Republicans and Democrats in this faux debate. I'm going to go ahead and set up my own format even though, because I'm not 100% sure how the debates should be set up. For the first topic, we're going to start with the Republican answer, the Democrat response, the Republican response/closing argument and end with the Democrat response/closing argument. I'm sorry in advance if you think I do not properly represent the Republican or Democrat side.  I am presenting the first part of the debate today.

Republican answer: President Obama's policies are failing, by any measure you want to look at.  He promised the American people when he passed his stimulus that unemployment would be below 8%.  Instead we have record leves of unemployment, we've had 41 straight months of unemployment above 8%.  This president has put more people on food stamps under his watch than any president in history.  We have 6 million more people living in poverty.  We have record numbers of people filing for disability. Every day there are 1,500 jobs lost because of these policies.  We want four more years of this?  Since January of 2009, when he was first sworn in as President, we have lost 500,000 jobs. We reached 10% unemployment, a number unheard of since the Great Depression. He is failing as a job creator.

The stimulus plan which was passed to help create jobs has not created these jobs.  It has been a failure on two levels.  In addition to not creating jobs, it has burdneed us with unreasonably high deficits.  We are bankrupting our country in order to pay for this failed stimulus.  We need to curb the government spending, it's obviously not working. These policies are not working, we need to go back to what we should be doing, which is cutting taxes for the American people, cutting unnecessary government spending, and leave the job creating to individuals and not the government.

Look at Governor Romney's job creation record.  He know what he is doing.  He had the best jobs record in a decade.  He reduced unemployment in Massachusetts to 4.7%.  He did all of that while balancing the budget without raising taxes.  If you just compare it to Obama, it's unfathomable that you would select Obama over Romney.

Democrat response: What is there to say to that?  We've had 41 straight months of unemployment over 8%.  That's true. But what you're ignoring is the effect of the recession on the economy.  It seems likely, regardless, of who was president that we would still have had near record number of unemployment.  These levels have been seen before, such as during the Great Depression. Obviously when you bring up the Great Depression you're citing an example that seems almost unimaginable in today's terms but those are the levels that which we came close to raching again.  All of the economic indicators are showing that we were in a recession and blaming the current president for issues that are not necessarily his fault is a cop out.  We have had record numbers of people filing disability and food stamps.  For food stamps, there was an upward trend of people filing for fod stamps under George W. Bush.  In 7 of the 8 years of his presidency, there was an increase of people filing for food stamps.  This was in large part due to aggressive actions to get people to file for food stamps, as well as broadening eligibility requirements.  For the number of people living in poverty, you're again ignoring the recession that was happening before President Obama was president.  But if we are to ignore that, there's still a way around that argument.  During the George W. Bush presidency, there was an increase of 8.2 million people living in poverty by the end of this presidency. The upward climb of people living in poverty started in 2007 and has increased since then.  The 2010 poverty rate percentage was 15.1 percent is higher than most years in the last four decades besides 1983 when the poverty rate was 15.3 percent and 1993, when it was 15.3 percent.  We have lost over 500,000 jobs, it's true, but that's mainly because of an increase in job losses in the government sector.  In the last 27 months there has been nearly 4 million jobs created in the public sector.  Overall, there has been 55,000 jobs created in the public sector but there has been a massive decrease in the amount of government jobs.  In 2011, President Obama oversaw a creation of 1.8 million jobs, which beat out the totality of the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency which was 1,095,000 jobs.  In 2010, there was 1,027,000 jobs created, which is only slightly less. The 10% unemployment rate was a one time event that happened.  During Reagan's presidency, there was a 11 month stretch of 10% or higher unemployment.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report in August of 2010 that stated that the stimulus bill lowered the unemployment rate between 0.7-1.8%,further it increased the number of people emplyed by 1.4-3.3 million people.  In 2009, the CBO projected a deficit of $1.2 trillion, the first time the deficit was over a trillion.  The current deficit for this fiscal year is $1.2 trillion.  We can see that spike of spending did not start under Obama.  the CBO said the law “added $579 billion to budget deficits in 2009 and 2010.” During that time, deficit spending totaled $2.7 trillion, so the stimulus accounted for about 21 percent of the two-year deficit total. That report also said that the law would have an impact of only $94 billion over an eight-year period from 2012 to 2019, which includes the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. 

Finally, we look at Romney's jobs record. In Romney's term as governor, Massachusetts added a net 49,100 jobs (an increase of about 1.5 percent). In the four years under Romney’s predecessor, Republican Jane Swift, the state added 19,000 jobs (an increase of 0.59 percent). In the next four years under Romney’s successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, Massachusetts lost a net 66,400 jobs (a decrease of 2.03 percent).  That ignores the national recession, before and after his term.  So how did Massachusetts do compared with other states? As the Obama campaign has repeatedly noted, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states over the entirety of Romney’s four years as governor in terms of job creation. By comparison, Massachusetts ranked 37th in job growth under Swift, and it ranked 10th in Patrick’s first term. We'll note that Massachusetts ranked 50th the year before he took office so it was improving before he left. Romney lowered unemployment to 4.7%, But again, that’s not nearly as impressive when viewed against the nation’s unemployment record at the time. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.8 percent when Romney took office and was roughly the same as the national rate when he left office.While Romney did not increase income taxes to balance the budget he raised fees hundreds of millions dollars.  In the first year of office, his fees generated $400 million.  He also closed some corporate tax loopholes which increased revenue by $150 million.

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