6 Key issues we believe in

#1 Taxes – Republicans vote for zero taxes on the wealthy

 

Above is Republican Paul Ryan’s website showing how his budget would eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends.  This, in effect, eliminates taxes for the richest two percent. That’s a $300 to $400 billion dollar giveaway. This, after the richest 1 percent has gone from 8 percent of all income to 24 percent in the last 35 years.

Congressman Todd Akin was standing right next to Ryan when Ryan proposed his plan. Akin, Senator Roy Blunt and every other Republican, except one, voted for no taxes for the rich.

Democrats realize the need for education, roads, courts and prisons, firemen and policemen, protection of our shores, rebuilding our infrastructure, care of the sick and elderly, and help for those in need. Unlike Republicans, Democrats are willing to provide their fair share to pay for it, while demanding accountability for our money.

In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce, Republican Senator Roy Blunt said the federal share of all money (Gross National Product) has remained consistent at about 19 percent since Eisenhower. Blunt, for once, is right

Since the amount of federal taxes has remained consistent for fifty years, the real question for taxpayers is: Who pays and how much? The Wall Street Journal said that the top 2 percent of Americans have had their taxes cut 25 percent in the last 15 years. The IRS recently released data on the top 400 families (those earning $270 million or more a year). The top 400 paid 29 percent during the Clinton administration, but now pay only 19 percent, which is less than those earning $75,000.

Now, the Republicans want their taxes to go to zero. Zero taxes on the wealthy, really? Democrats support a fair, equitable, and progressive tax.

#2 Jobs & The Economy

Republicans are now asking Democrats to stop complaining about what George Bush did to the economy. That is like asking a World War II veteran to forget about Pearl Harbor.

Spanish philosopher George Santayana said  “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

The history behind the current economic downturn starts in 2001, when the Clinton administration handed George Bush a budget that had a surplus and a projection to run a surplus for the next decade. Eight short years later, after three massive tax cuts for the rich, an 84 percent Republican increase in spending, turning a blind eye to Wall Street excesses, an increase in the deficit of $300-400 billion dollars a year due to out of control Medicare and Medicaid costs, and Bush approved bailout packages of almost a trillion dollars, President Obama was handed a debt that had doubled to over $10 trillion and yearly trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye could see.

The Bush legacy was an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs at the rate of over 700,000 a month and was causing a drop in federal revenue of almost $700 billion a year. Revenue had fallen from its history average of 19 percent to 14.4.  So much for the Republicans’ mantra of, “We don’t have a revenue problem”. 

The very first thing America must do is to learn from history. Simply put: Don’t do what Bush and the Republican supply siders did. Don’t do massive tax cuts tilted heavily to the upper income, and then tell us it will spur growth. Even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has repudiated that, saying, “Tax cuts do not pay for themselves.”

In the past thirty years, the upper one percent has almost tripled their take of America’s income to a massive 24 percent; and yet, Bush gave them almost 50 percent of his tax cuts. In the latest debt raising debate, Republicans are still going to the wall fighting for tax cuts for the rich.  

Democrats ask this: Which is better for America? A $60 billion a year in tax cuts for the billionaires, who have taken $2 trillion out of our economy in the last 2 years and shipped 2 million  job overseas; or taking that money and rehiring 400,000 teachers, policemen and fireman who were laid off, and hiring construction workers to rebuild our infrastructure?

Or how about this, rather than give the upper one percent $60 billion in tax cuts, give 60 million middle class taxpayers a $1000 tax cut? They would quickly reinvest with local merchants, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Democrats ask this: Who should have better access to our financial markets: Small businessmen, who are creating 70 percent of all new jobs; or the wealthy who invested 25 percent of all financial monies in credit default swaps, derivatives, and hedge funds, which create no jobs and precipitated the 2008 crash?

Democrats are committed to easing taxes on over 95 percent of individual tax payers, and to the real job creators, small businesses.  Money in their hands is what will grow our economy; not tax breaks to the upper 2 percent and more corporate welfare to the multinational conglomerates.

#3 Healthcare

We believe every American has the right to healthcare. Period.

Every other industrialized nation in the world provides healthcare for all its citizens.  The Republicans are the only people on the entire globe who belive healthcare is a privilege to be doled out based on arbitrary and capricious criteria. 

Democrats believe a hotel maid or a children’s daycare worker is as deserving of medical care as a corporate executive, Wall Street broker, or especially a member of Congress.

Democrats believe it is unconscionable, in this great country, 500,000 of our fellow citizens file bankruptcy each year because of a sick child, an illness during unemployment, or pre-existing conditions. No one should ever face bankruptcy because they had the misfortune to get ill.

Democrats believe no one should be denied healthcare because of pre-existing conditions. High risk Americans need to be pooled into the populace as a whole to keep their premiums in line.  That is why we support the President’s healthcare plan. The Republicans’ plan to pool all high risk Americans together is totally unworkable.  No insurance company will insure such a pool. Insurance companies have made this quite well known to all politicians.

Democrats know the rising costs in Medicare and Medicaid are the largest cause of federal debt.  That is why Obama’s first order of business was to change our healthcare system and bring down costs by over $100 billion dollars.

We remain committed to healthcare for all.

#4 Education

As stated by Missouri House Education Committee Chairman, Scott Dickhouse, Missouri Republicans  believe in a voucher for every child to go to whatever school they want.  Sounds good on the surface, until one realizes taxpayers are being asked to fund elite private schools like John Burroughs, Desmet, and Country Day and Mary Institute.

In addition, these private schools will still be free to exclude handicapped and the difficult to teach children.   Democrats believe in a free public education for all, and that all schools should be open to all God’s children. We do not believe in funding for private schools or schools whose doors are closed to so many of our students.

Democrats reject the impossible demands of No Child Left Behind.  It’s a Lake Woobegon lunacy where all children are above average, which has created an unattainable goal for our children, a false promise to their parents, and offense to our teachers. Democrats point out the originator of NCLB, Bush’s Education Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, had to resign in disgrace when it was found out he cheated on test scores when he was superintendent of Houston’s schools.

Missouri is now 43rd in per capita funding for schools.  Democrats ask Republicans, “How can we compete in this world economy when you put no emphases on education?”

#5 Worker’s Rights

The greatest period of growth and prosperity for America was the 40 year period after World War II in which a balance was reached between the job creators and employees. Dynamic entrepreneurs  like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ted Turner, and James S. McDonnell were free to create new and innovative companies that were the envy of the world. The tide of their hard work and creative drive did, in fact, raise all boats.

Starting in the 1980’s, American corporations started a massive exportation of our jobs to foreign countries.  Gone are too many of the skilled trade jobs: steel and autoworkers, tool and die craftsmen and hard-working production floor employees. Gone, too, are many engineering, accounting, computer programming and architectural jobs which, in the past, were filled by so many of the college graduates of the 20th century. Also, gone are the stepping stone jobs in customer service and tech support used by so many of our young adults trying to move ahead.

Democrats realize most of these jobs are never coming back, but that does not mean those  in control have the right to all of the wealth of this country.  Since 1980, the economy has doubled, but 80 percent of the income from growth has gone to the upper 2 percent. The last decade saw a decline of over $2,500 in family income for the first time since the depression. Yet, executive pay rose another 23 percent just last year.

Democrats are committed to collective bargaining, both in the private and public sector. Most of all, Democrats are committed to protecting workers’ ‘share of the pie’.

#6 Poverty and the poor

Wrongly, Republicans accuse Democrats of wanting support for those cheating the welfare system.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Welfare queens and bums are the bane of our existence.  They rob credibility from those truly in need.

Those collecting welfare, yet are not willing to work, are committing fraud.  Rather than tear into Democrats, critics, like Texas Governor Perry, need to do their job as chief law enforcers and arrest the offenders.  Welfare fraud is not a legislative problem. It is a law enforcement problem, and we Democrats will gladly join Republicans in cleaning up the problem. What is your plan?

What Democrats are incensed  about is that the Republicans’ shrill screaming at “welfare queens” drowns out the cries of people truly in need.  It drowns out the plight of 250,000 military veterans who are homeless; it muffles the tears of women suddenly widowed or abandoned. It mutes the cry of 25 million of our children living in systemic poverty, and crushes the souls of millions of hard-working Americans working for the lowest minimum wage in all of the developed world.

Are there “welfare queens”? Yes, there are and we call upon Republicans to join us in getting them off our rolls. Then let Republicans join us in doing as Theodore Roosevelt said:

“There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother.”

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