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Your Views: GOP is only in the way of reform
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Republicans argue that Obama's economic reforms aren't working. At the same time, they're doing everything in their power to make sure those reforms fail.

They marched in lockstep to filibuster and delay every single attempt to fix the economy and put Americans back to work. House leader John Boehner set the political tone when he repeatedly yelled "Hell no!" in regard to President Barack Obama's attempts to prop up the economy, save American auto manufacturers, and reform our health care and insurance systems.

Unbelievably, the GOP policy of absolute, uncompromising obstruction in a time of war might be rewarded this election. Its an understatement to say this sets a bad example.

Vehement opposition to the president is not limited to our Congress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big corporations are in on it, too. Worse, it has been proven that foreign money also goes into the same account from which the Chamber finances many advertisements against Obama and Democrat candidates.

And banks? The government may control economic policy, but banks control the availability of money in this economy. Most of the federal stimulus money was absorbed by banks, which are NOT loaning it back out. Instead, they are sitting on it. Without those loans, the economy is not stimulated and jobs are not created.

At the same time, these banks are not modifying mortgages for people who desperately need those missing jobs. Foreclosure seems to be preferable, even though the banks took TARP bailout money from the government and promised to minimize foreclosures. The banks got the money, but they continue to foreclose on out-of-work and underemployed homeowners who need mortgage modifications.

Lack of work and threat of foreclosure are motivational tools that banks and powerful financial interests are using against citizens. These groups want American voters, particularly the middle class, to be desperate and afraid.

It's easy to manipulate the political will of people when they are desperate and afraid. When you control the source of their fear, you can make it go away if they agree to terms that suit your interests.

Should we allow big banks and financial interests to intentionally sandbag the economy to kill the president's reforms and the legitimacy of ideas behind them? Will we bow down to the interests of powerful corporations? Do we still believe in government of the people, by the people, for the people — or government of the people, by the corporate establishment, for corporate interests?

As the war in Iraq winds down, its time for reflection. Did we accomplish the things Bush claimed this war was for or was the premise for war an illusion? As we leave, are conditions in Iraq and the surrounding region what we hoped they would be? What did we get for the trillions of tax dollars spent and thousands of American lives lost? Who will pay to care for the injured? Who will be responsible for these decisions?

If you think about that and the previous issues, one thing becomes clear: The Republican plan to win relies on you having a short memory.

Bruce Vandiver

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