I am constantly baffled by the wording of some of the billboards around Shallotte, N.C., these days. Among other things, they speak of higher taxes, bigger government and loss of rights. What alternative universe do these people live in?
Taxes for the middle class, those with incomes less than $250,000/year, are the lowest they’ve been since the Eisenhower administration! The president is asking for a tax increase on the top 1 percent of 3 percent – from 36 percent to 39 percent. Under President Obama’s 2013 budget, the Bush tax cuts would expire only for those earning $247,000 or more.
The size of government? Much of that increase has come from mandatory spending, including Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. Those programs have expanded mostly because of the recession, which has prompted more people to apply for Medicaid and Social Security, as well as the growth in people hitting retirement age.
“How much do you lay at the recession’s feet versus the president’s policies?” asked Josh Gordon, policy director at the Concord Coalition, a fiscal policy group. “The aging of the population can’t be blamed on the president.”
Many safety net programs, such as Medicaid and food stamps, automatically expand during economic downturns. And in the face of prolonged high jobless rates, Congress has authorized extending federal unemployment benefits to a record 99 weeks. The initial extension was passed under President Bush.
The conservative Heritage Foundation, which advocates for a reduced government role in society, acknowledges that much of the increase in federal spending originates in laws passed by this Congress and previous ones.
Loss of constitutional rights? From my perspective as a woman, I see Romney more concerned about my uterus and my health care and taking away my right to a choice and say in my health care. (That’s today – who knows what Romney will advocate tomorrow.) I guess, according to them, it’s OK to take away the rights they don’t agree with.
This president had a super majority for only seven weeks, from the time Al Franken was seated (July 9) until Ted Kennedy passed away (Aug. 25), not two years as Romney claims. On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, seven Republicans met at the Caucus Room Restaurant in D.C. and vowed to block every single effort Obama made to get this economy going. In spite of their efforts, the unemployment rate is down (more jobs added in two years than in the entire Bush administration!), Bin Laden is dead, the U.S. auto industry is very much alive, the Dow is back up over 13,000 and the housing market is on the rise. We don’t need a new president; we need a new Congress – one that will uphold their pledge to the American people and not Grover Norquist.
After 10 years of tax cuts (with no jobs), two unfunded wars, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and policies that led to the downfall of the housing market and the worst recession since the ‘20s, to think about handing the reins of government back to the GOP is outrageous.
The writer lives in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.