Romney v Obama: Race to the Bottom
By Dan Aronson (note: the lesser of the two evils is revealed below)
What has life looked like during the recovery? For corporations and those who own them . . .
- Corporate profits are at an all time high
- Coroprations sheltering money in off-shore shell companies and banks paying little to no taxes (see General Electric)
- Profitable oil companies receiving billions of dollars in susbsides
- The richest 1% paying taxes at half the rate of the middle class
- Burden of corporate tax loopholes foisted onto the middle class
- 60% of all new wealth created has gone to the top 1%
So corporations are flush and rich people have gotten richer. How’s everyone else doing?
- 23 Million Americans either unemployed or underemployed
- Mean time of unemployment nearly 40 weeks (double the previousl all-time high)
- 1.6 million jobs shifted from mid-wage to low wage
- $15.8 Billion in lost wages each year since 2009
- Jobs shipped overseas regularly
The Republicans and Democrats have always presented clear differences in their approaches to managing the economy; and this election cycle is no different. However, each is now motivated solely by their love of money and power, which are provided not by the people they are supposed to represent, but instead by big business and mega-wealthy individuals. And they have delivered in spades for their Corporate Masters.
Beginning in the Reagan years, industries have steadily been deregulated. As a result, banks became reckless, industries polluted as never before, arguably accelerating climate change while unarguably ruining our environment. Worst of all, they have put middle class workers on the endangered species list while locking the lower class into an inescapable cycle of poverty. Presently, we are faced with a choice of two candidates; neither of which has offered up tangible solutions to help improve the lives of those for whom the so-called recovery, to date, has been a total sham.
On one hand, a vote for Mitt Romney is like a vote for Santa Claus. You want to want to believe in his story, but you know it’s all just make-believe. A Romney Presidency and a Republican Congress will see big business take up permanent residence in the halls of power in Washington. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s book, The Price of Inequality has already chronicled how our system of government, a system designed to be “by The People, for The People” has instead morphed into government “by the rich, for the rich”. Governor Romney promises to entrench this behavior through further deregulation and the lowering of taxes on corporations and the wealthy. As a result of these policies, he claims that “we will unleash the spirit of the American entrepreneur, creating five million new jobs”. However, neither he nor his running mate cares to provide any details of exactly how or why these jobs will come into being. Just as they do on Christmas morning, these gifts of employment will magically appear under our trees. All we have to do is be good little boys and girls. If we don’t make waves or complain about the ever-increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, and instead place childlike faith in those magical “job creators”, everything will work out just fine. But there’s more! If we leave milk and cookies out, Santa Romney promises that he will lower taxes while not cutting our military budget, limiting Medicare benefits, or touching Social Security funds. I know that sounds impossible, but don’t you fret. Santa Romney and his little Elf Ryan say that their plan is revenue neutral. Talk about the best Christmas ever? I know I shouldn’t be questioning my good fortune, but I do have just one teensy-weensy question for anyone planning on voting for Santa Romney who is not in the wealthiest 1% of Americans: Will you please pass the joint? That must be some killer stuff you’re smoking. Well, at least when the munchies hit, you’ll be able to skim a few burgers off the top at your new job while styling in your snazzy fast-food uniform and matching hairnet. Mmm mmm good!
On the other hand, President Obama doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions for the middle and lower classes either — despite talking a good game. Now winding up his first term, or as I like to call it, the Fall from Innocence Tour (both his and ours), he has clearly aligned himself with big business and wealthy individuals in order to fund his reelection efforts. For example, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit watchdog group that keeps tabs on visible campaign funds, Wall Street giants like JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are among the President’s top donors. Keep in mind that this is nothing new either. Michael Moore pointed out in his documentary entitled, Capitalism: A Love Story that in 2008, that Goldman Sachs was the President’s No. 1 private contributor. And some people actually wonder why not one banker, not one mortgage underwriter, or one credit card company executive ever saw the inside of a jail cell after collaborating to cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. If ever a crime was perpetrated on The People, it was the way that the Obama Administration turned their backs on all of the wrongdoings that led to the crash. OK, they didn’t totally turn their backs on those firms. First, President Obama presented each with an oversized, “Too-Big-to-Fail” check. And then, as if to pour salt into our collective wounds, the President forced congress to ensure that executives from these companies, companies that actually caused the Crash and then were bailed out with taxpayer monies still received their bonuses. And how did these Wall Street fat cats repay The People’s’ generosity? The banks evicted over 1.5 million families, and this June, Goldman Sachs announced that they were firing 1,000 American employees and shipping their jobs to Singapore!1 Apparently we, The People, were just the right size to fail — so President Obama let us.
On the all-too-much talked about job front, unemployment is still at an unacceptable rate, and the rate of underemployment, those having taken lower paying jobs just to try and put food on their tables is worse. Conversely, corporate profits are at an all-time high. It simply doesn’t add up Mr. President; unless it was your intention to prop up big business and the rich while letting everyone else just sink into the quagmire. Granted, you did inherit much of the mess, but to date, you’ve done next to nothing to fix it, most likely because to do so would have forced you to bite the hand of your Corporate Bosses. If you did that, money for your reelection bid would dry up faster than a raindrop in the desert. In total, Mr. President, Politifact says you have broken 86 of your campaign promises. “Hope and Change” turned out to be “Nothing’s Changed” for the 99%. Well OK, at least not for the better.
Given this, you’d think that planks in President Obama’s reelection platform would include strengthening regulations on the financial sector and creating new, good paying private sector jobs. You’d think that – and you’d be dead wrong. There is no talk of reinstating Glass–Steagall or any of the other repealed banking regulations. And his answer on jobs, captured so succinctly by Saturday Night Live during their parity of the first debate? “Hire teachers — millions and millions of teachers. However many it takes.” OK, perhaps they took some comedic license, but in the final analysis, they were pretty much on-the-nose. President Obama has made it clear that his plan is to throw money at the country’s ailing infrastructure, starting with our schools. A New, New Deal as it was. Now, in and of itself, that’s not such a horrible plan. Lord knows we’ve underfunded our infrastructure ever since Bush-41 which, for those of you keeping score, helped foster the economic boom of the 1990s. However, what the President has not laid out is his plan for actually accounting for and overseeing the funds used to pay for these projects. During his first term, the President signed into law the ERA, the Economic Recovery Act (sorry ladies; wrong one?). $940 billion dollars earmarked for projects to strengthen our infrastructure and stimulate the economy. It has failed miserably. Yes it created over 100,000 net-new jobs; but as mentioned above, the vast majority were low-wage jobs, mostly in food services, shipping, and in other unskilled labor sectors. Meanwhile, companies the President personally backed in his attempt to deliver on the promise of creating thousands of jobs in Clean Energy are dropping like flies; Solyndra being just the first. Since then, two others have gone the way of the Dodo. The latest, Abound Solar, just filed for bankruptcy this October. So what happened Mr. President? First you make Clean Energy, solar in particular a sound bite repeated in a never-ending loop. Next you prop up several manufacturing companies in the sector. Finally, you get backing on the Hill for large subsidies for solar power consumption in an attempt to help people afford to make the transition to solar. In summary, you created the market Mr. President, but somehow failed to anticipate that the Chinese would flood the market at prices American firms simply could not compete against. Now, playing defense instead of offense, you’ve just put stiff tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports that have made it once again cost prohibitive for the consumer to make the switch. Well played — NOT! Mr. President, given all the failings of your first administration, why exactly should anyone be excited about four more years of this same old, “Hoping for Change” business?
In the end, “Romney or Obama” turns out to be as pleasant a choice as “in the head or through the heart”. Don’t we deserve better? It’s time for America, or at least the 99% of us that will undoubtedly be worse off four years from now to wake up, stand up, and take Washington back. To do this, we need true reform, and we need it in large quantities. Will either candidate deliver on this? No. The best we can hope for is four more years of stagnation that can only be gained by reelecting the President who, odds are, will be opposed by a Republican congress. Even if congress is split, the Senate minority will most likely don the impenetrable armor of the filibuster and once more, nothing will get done. Sadly, this is the best possible outcome for the 2012 election; and if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll take the word of Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff. During a discussion segment on The Middle Ground taped this past Tuesday, I professed my belief that a Romney Presidency with Republican Congress would bring apocalyptic results. Col. Wilkerson responded in agreement with a hearty, “Amen brother!” And this from a lifelong Republican who is struggling to regain control of his own party from the very fringes.2
Folks, it’s time for us to start thinking about 2014 and replacing all of our employees (congresspersons) who consistently underperform, have bad attitudes, and could care less about doing their jobs – namely, representing their constituents (vs. big business and the wealthy). We need to seek out and elect reform-based candidates bent on going to Washington, running big business out on a rail, and reclaiming government in the name of The People. Please let us know if you are aware of any such individuals so we can start planning their races as soon as possible. As we’ve learned from the current group of snakeoil salesmen in Washington: It’s never too early to start campaigning.
Dan Aronson is the founder of Party Recon and hell bent on driving money out of politics so our government can refocus on serving The People. Party Recon is always on the lookout for and willing to assist candidates that reject politics as usual, seeking not big coffers filled by big donors, but a higher calling — namely service to others. Please let us know if you are aware of such patriots.