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With the midterm election upon us, I have a few thoughts that I would respectfully ask everyone to consider prior to voting.
Currently there is a lot of "voter anger" nationally over government "bailouts," deficits, unemployment and health care legislation. I realize that it is not popular at this point in time to defend politicians, but the current president and Congress have had less than two years to fix or improve the crisis situations they faced in January 2009.
So I find it surprising that so many polls show the likelihood of major Republican gains. What I find most troubling is why we would turn to the Republicans for answers to our problems, based on their track record over the past 30 years. The misguided idea of tossing the current bums out does nothing to really address the critical issues we face.
If we are going to have better government, we are going to have to become a more informed electorate, and specifically look at facts and not the "sound bites" we are used to hearing. Over the years starting in 1968 I have voted almost equally between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans lost me during the second term of Ronald Reagan (who I voted for both times) due to fiscal irresponsibility. I know that isn't what the typical perception is, but it's true.
Over the years the Republicans have been perceived as fiscally responsible. Of the past four presidents prior to Obama, Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush, all Republicans, ran high deficits, and Clinton, the only Democrat, did not run a deficit and left office with a budget surplus. That's not an opinion, that's a fact.
The worst was the second President Bush. Along with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, they passed massive tax cuts in which 90 per cent of the total went to the top 10 per cent of wage earners, and increased spending. That was an amazingly irresponsible thing to do, particularly when we were involved in two wars. The Republicans are no longer the party of fiscally responsible presidents such as Eisenhower and Nixon.
A major misconception is that the bank bailouts were a Democratic initiative. They were driven by the Bush administration, when they finally realized that their lack of oversight on big business had created a financial crisis. Bush prided himself as a "deregulator," and his administration was asleep at the switch in general.
The Republicans pride themselves as "deregulators" and what we have in so many problem areas is the result. The Democrats in the House and Senate recently passed financial systems reform to prevent many of the problems we currently have from occurring again. If the Republicans take control again, we will get the same as we usually do: A lack of reasonable government regulation, tax cuts for the top 10 percent of wage earners and increased deficits, which they will later claim that they are the ones to reduce and eliminate.
Most of the economic indicators of late show that we are slowly on the road to recovery. Let's give the president and the Democratic Congress time to finish the job they have so successfully started.