Settling Into Reality

There has been much said about the Affordable Care Act and how the Obama Administration has brought ruin to America. There has also been much said about foreign policy and how Obama’s “leading from behind” style has proven ineffective. And there continues to be much said about the deficit and debt and proposals of draconian measures to balance the budget.

All of this brought to us by the GOP.  Reality, however, has not supported the GOP claims.  Hmmm.

In 2010 the story was the Administrations focus should be on job creation. The impression was left that with only minor changes, like abandoning regulations and lowering taxes, the US could be awash in jobs. Even more dire was the prediction that the country was headed for chronic low growth shattering the American dream for the next generation. Hmmm.

The prospects for a return to the American dream experienced by those returning from WWII and their children is very problematic. Simply stated the world has changed as much as night to day. In 1950, the US possessed 60% of the world’s manufacturing capacity. This was a basis to “print money” and, of course, create millions of jobs and prosperity for other Americans.

Today the manufacturing capability is spread around the world. What determines what is made where is economics. Globalization has lead to large numbers of US manufacturing jobs to migrate to foreign locations. It is simply less expensive to make things in Mexico or China than in Ohio or Michigan. These are facts which know no political party. Never the less, we have heard a constant beat that the GOP knows how to create jobs and the Obama Administration does not.

What progress has been made in reducing the unemployment rate is labeled “too little, too late”. And if you are someone seeking a job these are words that ring true. Unfortunately, these words are neither true or helpful. The GOP’s rant does not deal with actual reality.

Globalization coupled with the 2008/9 recession (almost depression) has exposed the unpreparedness of our work force to move to better paying jobs which require more skills than those that have gone overseas. BMW has had to start its own apprentice program in South Caroline in order to find enough qualified workers for its new auto manufacturing plant.

The GOP “job creators” may know how to create low paying jobs but the American dream has always been tied to “good” jobs.

Looking at other GOP claims we find the deficit, while still too large, is shrinking. We also find that other countries who have tried to deal with deficits by drastically cutting spending (the austerity path) have seen stagnant economic results. And yes, amongst the Western economies, the US is out performing all of them.

Foreign affairs is more difficult to assess. What President Obama has done in his two terms may not be clear in its world impact for years. The same can be said for President Bush’s terms where the invasion and occupation of Iraq marked his view of foreign policy. Do you wonder whether the Arab Spring or the Russian return to Soviet era antics might be related?

But the largest GOP non-reality statements have been aimed at the Affordable Care Act. Already there are very positive signs that ACA will insure more Americans, will prevent more personal healthcare bankruptcies, and will slow the growth (and could possibly reduce) the annual per capita US healthcare spend. How could anyone get a policy so wrong?

Elections, however, are like horse races because no ever one agrees on every subject. There would be no horse races if everyone picked the same horses to win. So, it is possible the GOP could gain control of Congress or win the White House the next time despite their apparent lack of a grasp of reality.

It is my guess that policies like the Ryan federal budget or the Jindal ACA alternative will be seen for what they are in 2014 and 2016.  These are policies that do not address the needs of most Americans. As a consequence,  the election results will be much less than what the GOP hopes.

Voter feedback would inform the GOP that they must focus on American’s real problems and opportunities. Of course, the GOP should be expected to select its own policies to achieve these goals.  They must remember, however, that a changing demographic will produce a new electorate.   The “in your face” GOP pandering to big money just won’t cut it. (Democrats like big money too, they are just far more discrete about how they reward big money.)  In short, the GOP must begin to focus upon the average American.

Will the GOP get this message?

Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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