Morning in America Delivered by Democrats

Democratic presidents presided over higher stock market returns and corporate profits, greater compensation growth and productivity increases.

Source:AlterNet

Author: Leo Gerard

Emphasis Mine

Nine years after the Great Recession began during the tax- and regulation-slashing Bush administration, some startlingly good economic news arrived from Washington, D.C., last week.

The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession, and the largest, in percentage terms, ever recorded by the Census Bureau. In addition, the poverty rate fell 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968.  Also smaller were the numbers of Americans without health insurance and suffering food insecurity.

That sounds good, right? Especially after all it took to pull out of the Bush recession. During the month Bush left office, 818,000 Americans lost their jobs. Unemployment increased to 10 percent before President Obama’s stimulus programs started ratcheting it down to the current 4.9 percent. Now, wages are beginning to rise again. It seems like an event that Ronald Reagan might call morning in America. But not the current Republican nominee. Trump says, “This country is a hellhole, and we’re going down fast.”

To hoist America up out of that bogus hellhole, Trump proposes the same tired-and-untrue tax- and regulation-cutting formula that Bush did. The one that actually did drop the country into a hellhole – the Wall Street collapse, massive foreclosures and high unemployment.

Trump offered yet another tax plan last week – the third of his campaign. This one, just like Bush’s, lavishes tax cuts on the rich. He would hack the 35 percent business tax rate to 15 percent. He would eliminate the estate tax paid only by the nation’s richest 0.2 percent. So, basically, Trump would cut taxes for himself – a 10 billionaire.

In Trump’s previous tax plan, low-income people, those in the lowest taxbracket, would have paid 10 percent, but now Trump makes them pay more. They’ll have to cough up 12 percent.

At the same time, Trump said, he’d eliminate all that pesky government regulation that’s getting in the way of business doing whatever it wants. So, for example, he’d abolish that annoying regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s the one that just fined Wells Fargo $100 million, part of a total of $185 million in penalties, for issuing credit cards and opening accounts without customers’ consent, sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees and damaging credit. Republicans like Trump have tried to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the day Democrats created it.

By cutting taxes on the rich and letting businesses run roughshod over consumers, Trump claims he would create 25 million jobs over a decade. This is Reagan and Bush trickle-down economics. It worked great for the rich. They got richer and richer. It never worked for the rest. The rest always do better when there’s a Democrat in the White House, as there is now. The Census report issued last week showing progress on wages is testament to that. But there’s more. Far more.

Princeton economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson found in 2013 that since World War II, the economy performed significantly better under Democratic presidents, regardless of the measurement used. For example, Democratic presidents average 4.35 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Under Republicans, it was 2.54 percent.

Democratic presidents presided over higher stock market returns and corporate profits, greater compensation growth and productivity increases.

Economist Steven Stoft analyzed 72 years of jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during which Democrats controlled the White House for 36 years and Republicans for 36 years. He found that 58 million jobs were created under Democrats and 26 million under Republicans. That means Democratic presidents created more than twice as many jobs.

Significantly, because Trump is telling African-Americans how horrible their lives and their communities and their schools are, and how great he would be as a Republican president for them, a study published by the American Political Science Association found that that over 35 years of Republican presidents, black unemployment rose 13.7 percent. On the other hand, over 22 years of  Democratic presidents, black unemployment fell 7.9 percent.

And here’s another noteworthy fact as Trump runs around claiming he’s going to bring manufacturing back, even though he manufactures his own signature suits and ties and shirts offshore in places like China and Mexico and Bangladesh: Democrats create manufacturing jobs; Republicans destroy them.

Bloomberg news service analyzed data from the past eight decades and found manufacturing jobs increased under each of the seven Democrats and decreased under the six Republican presidents.

Even as employment expanded, manufacturing jobs declined under Republican presidents. The largest losses occurred under Reagan and the two Bushes – an average of 9 percent.

Republicans are bad for jobs. They’re bad for manufacturing. They’re bad for the GDP in general. Trump’s 25 million job promise? Malarkey.

Moody’s Analytics looked at his tax, trade and immigration policies and projected they’d cause a recession and eliminate 3.5 million jobs. That was before he changed his mind on taxes again and released the third plan this week, but it’s virtually unchanged from the previous two, other than costing low-income people more.

Americans should reject Trump’s Republican trickle-down promises that have done nothing for workers in the past but swipe their cash and flood it up in torrents to billionaires like Trump.

Americans who want a job, a raise, improved GDP, more American manufacturing, better health insurance – just improved security in general – should look to the Democrats. They’ve got a long track record of actually delivering on those promises.

Leo W. Gerard is president of the United Steelworkers union. President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Follow him on Twitter @USWBlogger.

See:http://www.alternet.org/labor/morning-america-delivered-democrats?akid=14668.123424.ZC9-4u&rd=1&src=newsletter1064138&t=20

Paul Krugman: 4 Surprising Reasons to be Cheerful at the Close of 2014

Don’t believe the propaganda that good governance can’t deal with big problems

Source: NY Times via AlterNet

Author: Janet Allon

Emphasis Mine

Paul Krugman is feeling a tad optimistic as the year 2014 winds down. In his Friday column, he writes about “Tidings of Comfort,” if not quite tidings of great joy. The reason? Despite all the miserable messages about a world spinning out of control and a government completely not up to the task of confronting tough problems, “a number of major government policies worked just fine,” he writes. “And the biggest successes involved the most derided policies. You’ll never hear this on Fox News, but 2014 was a year in which the federal government, in particular, showed that it can do some important things very well if it wants to.”

Here are the four areas where Krugman posits the government, and in particular, the Obama administration showed its competency:

1. Ebola

Just a month or so ago we were in a full-blown panic about Ebola coming to this country. And the message of many policiticans was that our public health officials were in no way up to the task of dealing with it using conventional methods.” Instead, they insisted, we needed to ban all travel to and from West Africa,” Krguman writes, “imprison anyone who arrived from the wrong place, and  close the border with Mexico. No, I have no idea why anyone thought that last item made sense.”

This was all wrong. It turned out that the epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually knew what they were doing, despite some early mistakes. Ebola is still killing people in Africa, but there was no outbreak here, despite what the fearmongers projected. 

2. The Economy

Yes, the recovery has been painfully and unneccessarily slow, in particular it has been ” held back by unprecedented cuts in public spending and employment,” Krugman writes.

But the story you hear all the time portrays economic policy as an unmitigated disaster, with President Obama’s alleged hostility to business holding back investment and job creation. So it comes as something of a shock when  you look at the actual record and discover that growth and job creation have been substantially faster during the Obama recovery than they were during the Bush recovery last decade (even ignoring the crisis at the end), and that while housing is still depressed,  business investment has been quite strong.

What’s more, recent data suggest that the economy is gathering strength —  5 percent growth in the last quarter! Oh, and not that it matters very much, but there are some people who like to claim that economic success should be judged by the performance of the stock market. And stock prices, which hit a low point in March 2009,  accompanied by declarations from prominent Republican economists that Mr. Obama was killing the market economy,  have tripled since then. Maybe economic management hasn’t been that bad, after all.

Whether the gains in the economy help poor Americans still struggling with low wages, staggering inequality and brutal rises in the cost of living, remains to be seen. But at least by some conservative standards, Obama’s stewardship has been on track. Not that you’ll ever see that acknowledged on Fox or by Republicans.

3. Obamacare Krugman cites one of his favorite topics, “the hidden-in-plain-sight triumph of Obamacare,” at the end of its first full year.  Krugman says he is asked, even by liberal friends, whether the program can be made to work. Apparently, they have not gotten the memo. It is working. 

In fact, Year 1 surpassed expectations on every front. Remember claims that more people would lose insurance than gained it? Well, the number of Americans without insurance  fell by around 10 million; members of the elite who have never been uninsured have no idea just how much positive difference that makes to people’s lives. Remember claims that reform would break the budget? In realitypremiums were far less than predicted, overall health spending is moderating, and  specific cost-control measures are doing very well. And all indications suggest that year two will be marked by further success.

4. Foreign policy This one will be controversial, but Krugman writes that Obama’s foreign policy of containing threats like Putin’s Russia and Islamic State. rather than waging all-out war on them, is “looking pretty good.” The message is that, despite all the right-wing propaganda to the contrary, 2014 shows that the government can be part of the solution, which is not to say that problems have disappeared from the world. Or that Fox News and their flunkies will admit it. 

See: http://www.alternet.org/economy/paul-krugman-4-surprising-reasons-be-cheerful-close-2014?akid=12617.123424.-2lbsH&rd=1&src=newsletter1029336&t=7