Monday, October 08, 2012

Don't Point Fingers Until You Get all The Facts


Voters, non-voters and the media have all pointed fingers at politicians and President Obama.  Many have criticized President Obama’s performance during his first term.  It is easy to do so with all the negative publicity and stories disseminated by the media and other politicians.  Many voters and media jump to conclusions without obtaining all the facts.  A quote by Charlie Chang “Jumping to conclusions is like playing with damp gunpowder: both likely to go off in wrong direction” summarizes the effect of jumping to conclusions.

During an election especially a presidential election one or both major parties point fingers, leave out important facts, forget about the past, and tell untruths and repeat the same untruths over and over again hoping someone will believe them. 

There has been a struggle between the Democrats and Republicans for years.  This election the republican candidate Mitt Romney constantly states that President Obama has not addressed the deficit and issue of unemployment.  However, if you go back through history and look at the facts you will get a better understanding of how long it takes the economy to recover.

Starting with President Kennedy we can see that several presidents had tough issues to overcome during their terms.  President Kennedy proposed an initiative called the New Frontier, unfortunately Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats blocked President Kennedy’s proposed government aid for the construction of schools, teacher salaries and scholarships. The Republicans also opposed legislation for nursing care and hospitalization for the elderly now known as Medicare.  Plans for a Department of Urban Affairs to address housing and crime in cities nationwide were rejected.  Does this sound familiar? 

In 1965 the Voting Rights Act was approved to ensure minorities the right to vote.  Attempts by the American Medical Association were made to try to block it.  However, the Social Security Act of 1965 was implemented and provided Medicare for senior citizens and Medicaid for welfare recipients of all ages.  Republicans voted against both.  Sound familiar?

In November 1973, the country was in a recession under President Nixon.  The causes were:  OPEC quadrupled oil prices, additional printing of money, inflation and rising consumer prices caused a huge decrease in consumer spending.  Unemployment increased to 9% in May 1975.  When President Ford left office unemployment had decreased to 7.7%.

In July 1979, President Carter gave his "crisis of confidence" speech which discussed the country's frustration over government not doing what was right for the country, about public doubt "in a better future for their own children." President Carter stated, "that the true problems of our Nation are much deeper ... than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession.... We can't go on consuming 40% more energy than we produce. When we import oil we are also importing inflation plus unemployment." He said that "...Congress must enact the windfall profits tax without delay...These funds will go to fight, not to increase, inflation and unemployment."

In 1979 inflation reached 11.3%.  In 1980, inflation reached 13.5% and the unemployment rate was approximately  5.8%.  When the Iraq Iran war began in 1973 the price of crude oil increased from $20 to $50 per barrel when President Carter took office and eventually increased to $107.35 per barrel.  When President Carter left office in January 1981 the price of crude oil decreased to $80 a barrel.

Under President Reagan a recession occurred from 1981-1982, the unemployment rate rose above 10%. By 1987, the deficit increased by 800%. Low-income employees’ income decreased 24% and income for middle-income employees remained the same. The tax rate for low-income employees increased by 16%, and decreased by 5.5% for the wealthy.  The wealthiest 1% Americans received a tax decrease of 14.4%. Sound familiar? The national debt tripled under President Reagan, and increased to $2.7 trillion when he left office.

In 1992, the deficit had reached high levels,  10 million Americans were unemployed, and poverty and welfare numbers were growing at a fast rate.  Job growth was extremely slow.  The homeownership rate fell to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 1993.  In 1993, the median family income increased by $6,338, from $42,612 in 1993 to $48,950 in 1999.

In November 2000, overall unemployment dropped to the lowest level in more than 30 years to 4.0%.
The homeownership rate reached 67.7% in the third quarter of 2000, the highest rate on record.  
The poverty rate declined from 15.1% to 11.8%, the largest six-year drop in poverty in nearly 30 years. There were 7 million fewer people in poverty under President Clinton than there were in 1993.

Between 1981 and 1992, the national public debt quadrupled. The deficit grew to $290 billion in 1992. Under President Clinton,  the surplus in fiscal year 2000 was $237 billion and the largest surplus ever. In 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore achieved a $.90 cent per hour increase in the minimum wage.  Unemployment and inflation reached their lowest level s in more than 30 years  and 22 million new jobs were created.   Between 1998-2000, the public debt was reduced by $363 billion.

President George W. Bush, increased government spending, reduced taxes and increased the national debt.  At the end of his term the country was in a recession due to tax cuts and government spending for 2 wars. Government spending increased from $1789 billion to $2983 billion.  Taxes were lowered to 10% for the lowest rate, 25% for the next tax rate, 28% for the next tax rate, 33% for the next tax rate and 35% for the highest tax rate.  For the top 1% of Americans the tax rate increased to 14% in 2004 which was less than 83% of American taxpayers.  Sound familiar, Mitt Romey only paid 14% in taxes last year.
From 2000-2005, only 4% of employees saw income increases. Under President Bush the median household income grew 1.6% higher and the poverty rate increased from 12.3% in 2006 and reached 13.2% in 2008. 

President Obama took office during a recession.  Gas prices have doubled and the median household income decreased 5% in 2012.  The unemployment rate reached 10% in October 2009 but has decreased to 7.8%.  The deficit was 1.88 trillion in October 2008 and has been reduced to 1.1 trillion. Prior to President Obama taking office, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month.  Under President Obama, there has been 31 consecutive months of job growth and 5.2 million new private sector jobs have been added. The U.S. manufacturing industry added 459,000 jobs since January 2010, the largest increase in a decade.

President Obama’s health care plan improved Medicare by making some preventive services free.  In 2011, 75% of Americans on Medicare received a free service.  In addition, many health insurance plans are beginning to fully cover birth control without co-pays or deductibles.  Pell Grants were doubled and student loan interest rates were capped at 10% of income.


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