The economy is still a key issue in the upcoming election, even though recent research proves that the recession is over. President Barack Obama has been in office for almost two years now, but many often forget that it was neither him nor his cabinet that started the recession; it started under President George W. Bush when Republicans held the majority in Congress.
Republicans are responsible for the economic turmoil of the past few years, and though both parties want recovery, Democrats will actually get the job done.
Republicans in Congress have not changed their economic strategies at all. After having two years to reflect on their bad behavior, Republican representatives unveiled their master collaboration, “A Pledge to America,” on Sept. 23.
They stressed the same things they have been preaching for decades: reducing spending and cutting taxes. House Minority Leader John Boehner summarized the preamble as follows: “We are not going to be any different than what we’ve been.” So it contains no new thoughts, just the same policies that were used to foster the worst recession in decades.
Another big issue in this election is the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 — a.k.a. the Bush tax cuts. These will expire Jan. 1 unless legislation is passed to renew them. As a result of the cuts, the government has less money to invest in projects to financially assist citizens.
The tax cuts are the largest chunk of America’s deficit. Some economists argue that if the cuts expire, our deficit would shrink 30 percent. The Republican strategy for economic recovery consists of two steps: lowering taxes and lowering the deficit. However, they contradict each other — we cannot simultaneously pay lower taxes while lowering the deficit. It is impossible for the government to collect less and spend more.
Democrats invested $34 billion in unemployment insurance to aid Americans that cannot find jobs. Republicans called this “a waste of money.” How can helping the neediest Americans be a waste of money, when the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans receive a tax break? After bailing out Wall Street, Democrats passed a bill that would monitor these banks to prevent another economic meltdown. But if Republicans gain a majority in Congress, Democrats’ hard work will be erased. Republicans will only take us back to square one.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich critiqued the “job-killing nature” of the stimulus bill. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that bill has actually saved and created at least 2.1 million jobs. Thus, 2.1 million families were able to keep their homes and put food on the table during these tough times — something that the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans do not have to deal with.
For the first time in a long time, our economy is actually improving. But if Republicans regain a majority in Congress, all progress will be reversed. Republicans cannot be trusted with our economy — hard-working Americans deserve better than that. Vote Democrat this November. It’s the only way to continue our progress.
-Jennifer is a junior history major.