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“From the Middle Out” & Then “Forward!”

This election is a choice between visions of America,
not a referendum on President Obama.

 I am a member of Team Centerville, Ohio ~ Obama for America.  I administer the groups Facebook group page of the same title (https://www.facebook.com/groups/51906013601/) and the twitter account (https://twitter.com/teamcenterville).  I also on occasion write  articles about my political convictions (see my page “Path of Civic Responsibility,”  https://letthejourneysbegin.wordpress.com/ path-of-civic-responsibility/ to see a list of those articles.  I encourage all of you to also use your social media platforms (websites, blogs, facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumblr, instagram, youtube, etc.) to express your convictions and support for President Obama.

Yesterday evening I participated in a conference call with the National Volunteer Leaders  of OFA with Vice- President Joe Biden (July 18, 2012, 8:30 -9:30 PM, ET).  I feel very inspired by VP Biden’s speech and by his answers to questions.  What sticks in my mind is that he said, and I do believe it is so, that this presidential campaign is a “Fight for the heart and soul of America.”  Obama and Biden are working hard to “restore dignity” to people who have been clobbered by the recession that was caused by previous Republican administrations and Republican policies that espouse belief in the “Trickle Down” theory of economic growth.  Obama and Biden passionately want people of the Middle Class to have a fighting  chance.  A rallying call for this effort is “From the Middle Out!”  We must build from the middle class outward!  Not from the top down!  A healthy growing Middle Class has always been our greatest strength.  The following is a summary of what was said during the conference call with a bit of commentary from me.

The fundamental flaw in Republican economic policy (their vision, if you will) is that there is no evidence to support the belief that if the very wealthy do well, everyone will do well.  If “trickle down” theory really worked, there would be plenty of jobs being created by the wealthy who should be, according to the theory, investing in the creation of businesses in the USA, but, that just has not happened.  Instead, what has happened in the recent past is the outsourcing of jobs overseas and bankruptcies of businesses here and the layoff of hard working Americans.  The business ethic has been the “bottom line” of profit, not, the maintenance of healthy business communities in the U. S.  The only ethical imperative is to make money for the stockholders.  However,  other ethical standards should also be kept in mind by an attentive CEO:  one is  corporate social responsibility (CSR), self-regulating compliance to the law, ethical standards, and international norms.  Another is to “primum non nocere,” the principle of “do no harm.”  It seems to me that great harm has been done to our economy.    The truth is that when our middle incomepeople do well, wealthier people will do well also.  Management and Labor should support each other.  It seems to me that to be unsupportive of the American Labor force is to generate class conflict.  There should be no conflict.  There should be no class conflict.

One of the indications that the Obama administration is making a difference is that many jobs that were outsourced are beginning to come back to America.  American businesses are coming back to America.  The “grass” wasn’t “greener” overseas after all.  Even though we are struggling with the fallout from a slow recovery,  there is a lot to be positive about.  For example, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is actually three times the size of China’s.  We are developing high tech jobs here and need to continue to enthusiastically support their development.  President Obama’s vital vision for the future includes real substantial support of education in our country.  We need to get teachers back in the classroom and librarians in libraries.  Americans need a healthy variety of educational opportunities so to adequately  prepare for the future.  We are being out-educated and consequently out-competed overseas.  Obama’s  policies will make us number one again in education and inventiveness.  Education isn’t an important priority of the Romney campaign.  Indeed, Mr. Romney’s social policy comes out of the 1950s, his foreign policy is akin to the Cold War, and his economic policy is, to quote Joe Beiden who was paraphrasing Bill Clinton, “‘W’ (George W. Bush) on steroids.”  Cutting investments in education and research & development is not going “forward.”  It is going “backwards.” Republican policies are re-hashes of what has already been hashed!  Where are the Republicans with any new ideas?

In connection with  education and the development of new jobs, Obama emphasizes the development of multiple energy sources.  We have more oil rigs  than the rest of the world combined, but that is not enough to solve our dependency on foreign oil.   To be independent we need to develop technology in renewable energy sources:  solar, wind, and bio-fuel.  Mr. Romney wants us to drill, drill, drill, and import. There is no vision of the future in this.

The Republican Party shows it condescension towards the middle and working classes through its support of voter suppression laws. These notorious laws will affect seniors, students, minorities and low income wage earners by making it more difficult to vote.  Purging voters’ lists (aka as in Florida) are purging independent voters, Democrats, and seniors. Five million Americans could be affected by these shenanigans.  These are tactics of people who think they are going to loose an election!  These are the same tactics as those used during the “Jim Crow” era.  We are better than this.

President Obama is a man of character and conviction.  His vision for America is as American as apple pie ~ a fair shake for everyone; opportunity open to all.  No president since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt has had to deal with so many crisis’s as Obama.   And, President Obama, in his decision making, has put political expedience to the side and made hard decisions for the good of the country.  His concern is for the common good. He doesn’t manipulate things to merely wins elections.  This is statesmanship.  He knew that he would spend the greater part of his political capital by his unwavering support of the Affordable Health Care Act. But,he did so because he cares about the common good and the people.   Would that the Republicans could do so, realizing that “compromise” is not a dirty word!  President Obama had the courage of his convictions and, I might add, he has also maintained a high level of civility in the political debate.  This was something he also had promised to do during the 2008 campaign.  We, his supporters need to remind people as much as possible of his accomplishments.  Below is just a partial list:

  •  Kept our country from falling into another horrible Great Depression ~ the Economic Stimulus Plan (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)
  • Promoted Wall Street Reform
  • Rescued the automobile industry
  • Advanced women’s rights in the workplace (equal pay)
  • Appointed two brilliant women to the Supreme Court
  • Appointed Hillary Clinton Secretary of State
  • Passed the Hate Crimes Bill
  • Passed the Affordable Health Care Act
  • Reformed the credit card industry
  • Pell Grant Extension for college students
  • Created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Federal support for stem-cell research and Federal funding for science and research labs
  • Ended the war in Iraq and is facilitating our way out of Afghanistan
  • Under his direction we finally got Bin Laden and eliminated a number of other Al-Qaeda leaders.

We need to constantly remind people of what Obama has done for us and that improvement with the economy will continue.  Democrats have a passion for all the people. Democrats have empathy with the people and their real-life struggles and Democrats know that it “takes a village” made up of concerned people who cooperate with each other to build a nation, a culture, an economy. There isn’t just one “magic bullet” (i.e., greater tax-cuts for the wealthy) that will be a cure-all.  The improvement of the economy needs to speed up but it must also be done humanely with “no harm” done to the vulnerable in our society.  Obama is striving to make the tax code more equitable; to reduce the gap between the very rich and  middle/working people.

Now, the following a some of the Obama tax cuts and credits:

  • Associated with “The Stimulus”:
    • The Making Work Pay tax credit, which was a refundable tax credit of $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples filing jointly implemented by reducing tax withholding. A fair number of people didn’t even notice their taxes were being cut, even though the credit cost a total of $116.2 billion.
    • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which primarily benefited those of upper-middle income
    • Tax credits to promote renewable energy
    • Refundability of the child tax credit
    • American Opportunity” tax credit for low-income college students
    •  Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit 
  •  Associated with “The Affordable Health Care Act”:
    • Tax credits, which provide the bulk of the bill’s assistance to those who make too much to qualify for the expansion of Medicaid to people making up to 133 percent of the poverty line.
    • Tax credit for small businesses who cover their employees (took effect in 2010)
    • The Individual Mandate is the major source of income (everyone must purchase insurance).

Obama’s tax cuts have been aimed primarily at lower and middle income people.  His major goal, which is to increase income fairly, will be implemented by phasing out upper-income tax cuts (phasing out the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy).  This will be done in the name of fairness, to spread out the tax burden in an equitable way.  If the Bush Tax Cuts remain the same, the top 2% of the population (120,00 families) will gain, over the next ten years, 550 billion dollars.  With Obama taxes on the middle income folk and the poor will continue to be reduced and taxes for the very rich will increase.  But, again this is done to be equitable ~ to follow the “Buffett Rule,” not to put an unjust burden on the very wealthy:

No household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. This is the Buffett Rule—a simple principle of tax fairness that asks everyone to pay their fair share.”

55,000 millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than millions of middle incomepeople.  We should all be playing by the same set of rules.  For more information about the “Buffett Rule” go to: “The Buffett Rule,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/buffett-rule.

Mr. Romney’s goal is to continue to give the most wealthy the greatest tax breaks because he believes this is the way for “job creators” to have money to re-invest in business.  I think that this belief is questionable and is, in my option, a Republican “old chestnut.”

Let’s start investing in the Middle Class again in the U.S.  Let all sectors of our economy participate energetically in the recovery.  Support people’s inventiveness.  We are a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Freedom and opportunity is for everyone.  We are not a government made up of an elite group of power.  We don’t need an “aristocracy,” whether  based on birth or wealth.  Our strength is in our diversity and the giftedness of all our people.

Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, said:

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

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