Ohio recently found itself last Thursday June 14th, hosting both candidates for President in the upcoming November election. President Obama was speaking in Cleveland after Mr. Romney gave an earlier speech in Cincinnati. These two events are so far the best chance to compare the choices the voters will make in the fall election. The choice will be between two visions of the future. Two theories as to how we should proceed economically after the destructive tsunami of the recent depression has receded enough for us to assess the damage and plot a course for recovery.
Mr. Romney has a vision that basically continues the Republican policy of cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations in the hope that they will take that money and invest it thereby creating jobs and improving the economic fortunes of all, as the wealth created trickles down to those at the bottom. Mr. Romney says he can boost the economic recovery while cutting taxes and paying down the deficit and create jobs now. Never mind that US corporations are sitting on more than 1.5 trillion dollars that according to Republican economic theory they should be using to invest and create jobs, but they aren’t. Mr. Romney also claims he will get rid of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, but he is not clear on what he will replace it with. His cuts to the ’service’ part of what government does, things like education, police, healthcare, programs for the poor and middle class will enable him to cut taxes even more and pay down the deficit. This pretty closely follows the Ryan budget plan which makes severe cuts to these types of programs to pay for the tax cuts given to the investor class, who supposedly will invest that money to create jobs. Under this plan, and Mr. Romney is short on specifics, we will grow the economy out of recession and pay down our debt.
Now this sounds like a plan except for one thing, it’s been tried before. This economic theory has been around since Reagan. One must consider that if this wealth has been trickling down through the middle class to the poor for all these years, why have we gone from an economy where a person working full time could support a wife and two kids to an economy where both spouses must work just to make ends meet. That wealth, that ability to support four on the salary of one, went to bail out the banks and investment firms on Wall Street after their most recent collapse as a result of bad bets and other financial shenanigans.
Democrats under the leadership of the President believe that to boost the economy one must get money into the hands of those who will spend it, thereby increasing demand. The President reiterated the theory that the buying power of the middle class is the engine that drives the growth of our economy, and that boosting the purchasing power of the citizens revs that engine. Once the economy is humming along then one can begin to pay down the debt incurred as a result of spending that aided the recovery. Democrats believe that government can and should be used to improve the lives of the citizens. That the government sponsored safety nets for the poor and disadvantaged are necessary programs that benefit us all.
Mr. Romney and his like minded cohorts believe government should provide for defense and a few other things but mostly it should do nothing and allow the ’market’ and private charities to help the poor and disadvantaged.
So we have a choice this November between a government that is indifferent to the needs of all but wealthy corporations and citizens, and a government that is concerned and involved in policies that will benefit all citizens. Between a government that believes that the ’market’ should provide healthcare only to those who can afford it, or a government that that provides health insurance to all citizens as a right of birth as is the norm in most modern countries. Between a government designed to benefit the few or a government that is empowered to benefit us all.