Many political experts believe the traction that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders had in the Presidential Primary is due to the disenchanted public. Year after year the economic plight of the middle-class and low income Americans does not improve to any significant degree. This is in direct contradiction to the reduction in the unemployment rate and the large increases in profits reported by many corporations. It is also in direct contrast to the enormous increase in wealth the top few percent of Americans hold and the fact that more and more of the income and wealth is held by the top few percent.
Blame for the lack of progress to improve the economic welfare of the middle-class abounds. The perception by many middle-income and blue-collar workers is that the Federal Government has failed to help them achieve a greater share of the economic pie. Republicans place the blame squarely on President Obama and the Democrats. It is interesting that in this election cycle the Republicans have picked up the theme of the Democrats that Middle-income Americans have been forgotten.
Clearly perception becomes at times more important than reality. While it is certainly true, the Federal Government could have made changes to help improve the economic condition of low and middle-income Americans, such changes for the most part have not happened. Again the Republicans universally make the case that it is because of President Obama and the Democrats policies that help has not materialized for many Americans. One clear indication that this is simply untrue is that in poll after poll the approval of the Republican controlled Congress stands at about 10%, while the approval rating of President Obama stands at 54% in August 2016.
In both 2008 and 2012 the majority of voters elected President Obama, who promised to try and make a series of changes to help the Middle-class Americans. From the very first day President Obama was in office, Republicans plotted to prevent him from implementing any of the ideas he proposed when he ran for office. President Obama and the Democrats had the control of Congress for ONLY five months since January 20, 2009. During that time he was able to pass the Economic Stimulus Package and Banking Controls. This reversed the job loss we were experiencing in January 2009 of more than 700,000 jobs per month to over 200,000 job gain per month for the past six years. It also reduced the Annual Budget deficit from the $1.4 Trillion Dollar levels in FY 2009 to about $500 Billion Dollars in FY 2016. He was also able to enact the Affordable Health Care Act to increase the number of Americans with health care insurance and end some of the abuses insurance companies had in the coverage offered to the insured. These included an end to the refusal to insure because of pre-existing conditions, ending benefits when claims reached a large amount and the extension of coverage of students until age 26.
The proposals made by President Obama and the Democrats that were blocked by the US Republicans in Congress that would have helped the economic welfare of the low and Middle-class Americans include:
Jobs Bill to rebuild our infrastructure that would have created millions of living wage jobs.
Increase in the minimum wage to lift the incomes of millions of low income Americans.
A comprehensive solution to the illegal immigration issue that would have brought millions of people out of the shadows and resulted in them paying taxes and becoming a more productive part of our society.
Refusal to fully fund Social Security and keep the promises made to working Americans.
Refusal to help our students afford the education they need for a productive future.
Refusal to improve the Affordable Health Care Act so it worked even better for many Americans.
Refusal to Balance the budget. On this issue there was a joint failure on the part of the Republicans and President Obama. In December 2010, the President agreed with Republicans for a tax deal, which kept in place most of the George W. Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003. That meant the added revenue to balance the budget was not available and as a result, even with the economic improvements we still have an Annual Budget Deficit of about $500 Billion Dollars per year. If the majority of the Bush Tax cuts had ended as they were intended in December 2010, today we would have a balanced budget and no longer be added to the National Debt.
In addition to the Republican refusal to enact ANY of the changes proposed by President Obama outlined above, they insisted on the Sequester and drastic spending cuts. These spending cuts cost more than a million jobs. They have created funding problems for our Military and VA. They have denied essential money to protect our health and food supply by under funding, FDA, CDC and NIH. The current problems in fighting the Zika Virus are just one example. The Republicans have cut funding to help feed the poor and to agencies that are designed to reduce fraud and waste in DOD and Social Security. They caused a freeze in hiring agents for the FBI during the shut- down of the Federal Government, which the FBI Director said was very harmful to the agency.
During this Presidential campaign, Republicans tell voters time after time that the policies of President Obama, which they claim Hillary Clinton will continue, have failed to help improve the lives of average Americans. They say that the President’s policies have failed the Middle-class. Since the Republicans have BLOCKED almost every one of President Obama’s policies from being tried, HOW CAN THE REPUBLICANS CLAIM THAT SOMETHING WHICH WAS NEVER TRIED HAS FAILED? In this election 2016 we need to weigh things based on facts for us to decide for the BEST LEADER AMERICA SHOULD HAVE!