We’ve seen nothing but bad economic news for the better part of a year or more now. The housing market is collapsing, foreclosures continue to set records, inflation is at 20-year highs, wages haven’t gone up for the majority of Americans in 8 years, now unemployment is once again more than 6% and I’m probably forgetting some measures. Who brought us this horrible economy? Republicans! This is what deregulation and tax cuts for the rich produce. It happened in the late 1980′s, early 1990′s after Reagan and Bush I wrecked it and it’s happening now that Bush II has screwed things up for 7 years.
What issue did McCain not substantively address during his acceptance speech last night? The economy. Do you know why? Because he and his rich, elitist pals are doing just fine. They can absorb 9% inflation because their incomes have increased at a higher rate in the past seven years, unlike 99% of the rest of Americans. They’re not losing their jobs or their houses. Cindy McCain wore $300,000 outfits to the RNC. Sarah Palin has her choice of $500 designer glasses to wear every day. The economy that they live in every day is obviously doing just fine. They can’t fix a problem if they don’t see it.
Unemployment is now at 6.1%, the highest reading in 5 years. 84,000 jobs were lost during August alone, bringing this year’s total to 605,000. 605,000 is 10% of the jobs gained in the past 6 years. The “recovery” from the 2001 recession has produced the fewest number of jobs since any recovery since the end of WWII. And that’s considered a success by Republicans. Here’s why: the only mention of the economy during McCain’s speech revolved around globalization. Sure, the fewest jobs on record were put on the rolls during the Bush-II era. But thanks to economy wreckers like NAFTA, GATT and CAFTA, many more jobs were created overseas. Corporations have continued to make profit and more and more of it has been directed at people who are already rich. The rest of us are on our own.
I’ve written before that the reported unemployment rate doesn’t include everybody who really are unemployed. It’s a false measurement of the state of workers in this country. So conditions are actually worse than what the Labor Department is reporting today.
The economy is the number one concern cited by Americans and has been for months now. What solutions to the malaise did McCain describe last night? None. McCain and Palin want to continue and strengthen the failed Bush economic policies. Instead, McCain (and every other speaker this week) kept trying to scare Americans into voting for them again. Terrorism, Iran and Iraq were major talking points. Isn’t it interesting that the economy, health care and Afghanistan weren’t? Fear, fear, fear. Fight, fight, fight. Those were the themes of the RNC.
More of the same for the next four years? America can’t take it. Our middle class is being devastated. We need elected officials who have a better understanding of the economy the majority of us are facing and who possess the empathy to do something to change things that obviously aren’t working. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have that understanding and that empathy. More than that, instead of being bought off by corporate interests like McCain and Palin, Obama is more beholden to the millions of campaign donors and workers. If he doesn’t enact policies that benefit those millions, do you really think they’ll let him get away with it? If McCain doesn’t enact policies that benefit those millions, what recourse do they have? All he has to please are his corporate benefactors.
[Update]: With the economy in tatters and getting worse, plenty is being written about it. I found this while perusing the tubes. The total U6 (defined as total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers) is higher today than it was during any point of the 2001-2003 recession. The U6 value has actually been increasing since January of last year and it hasn’t peaked yet. That’s why the economy is the #1 issue on voters’ minds. And that’s why McCain, Palin and the rest of the Republicans responsible for the economy’s bad shape don’t want to talk about it on the campaign trail. Since they don’t want to discuss middle class economic issues (they brought up the estate tax during the RNC!), McCain and Palin aren’t likely to do anything about it once they get in office either. Pay attention to who these candidates are now. They won’t change if elected.