So Much Is at Stake In Elections Results
Sixth of a Series
This is the sixth of a series in which Moore County’s Republican and Democratic party chairmen will address various political issues. Today's issue is the upcoming election. Jim Heim is chairman of the Moore County Democratic Party. Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican Party. Click here for Levy's take on the issue.
The early-voting polls are open, and the question arises: What's at stake? From a Democrat's perspective, pretty much everything.
When President Obama took office 21 months ago, the economy was in free fall and jobs were being lost at a record pace. Through dramatic action by the new administration, the recession was ended and unemployment numbers have been steadied. Disaster was averted, but much more needs to be done.
Sadly, Republicans -continue to obstruct and delay at every turn. But they have little else to offer. Their Pledge to America, touted as a conservative plan for the future, is so poorly thought out that many of their candidates are running away from it as fast as they can.
Not only would their plan to reduce government spending and cut taxes cause much higher unemployment and delay -economic -recovery, it would also actually increase the federal deficit.
Republicans claim that revenue lost by this tax cut would be recovered by increased employment. One economist calculates that we would have to add more than 63 million jobs a year for the next 10 years for that to happen. That's nearly twice our population and simply not possible.
To Republican dismay, President Obama's first budget year just ended with a deficit $100 billion less than Mr. Bush's final year. And he has added more jobs already than his predecessor did in eight years. These are not signs of an administration headed in the wrong direction.
Bad policy is only one of the Republicans' worries. Many of their candidates, encouraged by the tea partiers, have been simply baffling in their -positions. There's the gubernatorial candidate in Arizona who said, without evidence, that drug -smugglers were beheading -people in her state.
In Nevada, the Republican Senate -candidate claimed that Sharia law, applicable only to Muslims, has been instituted in a Texas town that hasn't existed since 1975. In Georgia, a Republican congressman said that the federal government wants to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Here in North Carolina, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx told students that tobacco was no worse than the soft drink Mountain Dew. Others want to privatize or eliminate Social Security, require a $2,000 deductible for Medicare, limit Medicaid assistance for maternity care, eliminate or reduce the minimum wage, and the list goes on.
Long a vital part of American politics, the Republican Party has been taken over by its most extreme elements. Those willing to work across the aisle to help solve America's pressing problems find themselves being replaced by more radical candidates.
The plain fact is that the Bush tax cut, scheduled to expire at the end of the year, is the root of much of our economic misery. Promoted to stimulate the economy and add jobs, it actually led to the poorest job creation record since Herbert Hoover.
By reducing the tax on high incomes, this policy rewards get-rich-quick schemes while reducing the incentives to build wealth through reinvestment. The result has been the loss of trillions of -dollars and the idling of nearly 20 percent of our workforce.
Now is the time to give those workers jobs. There has not been a better time for a public works program. Interest rates are at record lows, and there's much to be done. Our nation's highways, rails and air traffic network, vital for economic growth, have long been starved for maintenance and in serious need of repair. In some localities, paved roads are now being ground up and returned to gravel for lack of money to patch them. We have the means and the workforce available to turn this around.
American wages have fallen 5 percent since 2000. Wealth disparity in this country is the worst ever recorded. One-fifth of Americans now own 85 percent of the wealth. The rest of us must make do with the remaining 15 -percent. That is unsustainable.
Democrats have long been the champions of the middle class and working Americans. Democratic tax policies in the post-war era helped promote innovation and encouraged the creation of good-paying jobs. We can and must do it again.
Democratic presidents working with Democratic Congresses have by far the best records for job creation, market growth, increased economic -activity and GDP growth. Democrats have long led the way with programs like Social Security, Medicare, civil rights, worker safety, the GI Bill and more.
Democrats know that Americans aren't afraid of hard work - it's how we became the world's industrial powerhouse. And we know that our children and grandchildren depend on us to give them the boost they need to build better lives. Democrats understand that to get a consumer economy such as ours restarted requires a surge in demand. And that demand has only one source: working Americans. There is no more important task before us.
We are going through a difficult time and progress has been painfully slow and frustrating at times. But we cannot afford to return to the policies that got us into this mess. Your vote is essential. The polls open again tomorrow morning at 9 at the Agricultural Center on Pinehurst Avenue in Carthage. I'll be there. Will you?
Jim Heim is chairman of the Moore County Democratic Party. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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