The following letter was written by Ken Kovack, Legislative Director for the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) and appears here with his permission.
November 25, 2009
From: Ken Kovack, Legislation, Washington, DC Office
During the last year of the Bush administration, as his ratings in the polls were dropping and the public mood for change was taking place, a historic election was in the making. At the same time our financial system and Wall Street was near collapse, companies “too big to fail” would be seeking government aid to bail them out of the enormous cost of their poor decisions impacting here, and around the world. Regardless of the situation CEO bonuses would be sought at taxpayers expense even as these executive decisions caused bankruptcies and higher unemployment with predictions by economists that the rise in unemployment would continue into the first and second quarter of the year 2010 before beginning to abate. The stark comparison here is that Wall Street and the bankers are again doing well as trickle down economics is not creating enough jobs, even with the stimulus dollars, to favorably improve the unemployment projections. Now, republicans and some democrats are angry at President Obama for not dong enough even as they make complaints about the increasing national debt. Be reminded of the following as you consider President Obama’s extensive efforts for bipartisan support.
Looking back, the Bush/Cheney Administration inherited from the Clinton/Gore Administration, the largest budget surplus on record. According to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan, Bush squandered the surplus in about a year stating, prior to his first tax cut, that we could cut taxes, continue to balance the budget and pay down our national debt. That promise failed.
The Bush/Cheney Administration was the only administration to lead us into two wars and continue to reduce taxes. That policy denied our government the resources necessary to conduct the two wars and the normal costs associated with running the government. There is more but let’s move forward.
After winning the race for the presidency, the Obama/Biden administration inherited the largest deficit in our nation’s history, two wars, increasing unemployment, a failed foreign policy, a Republican minority in Congress that voted overwhelmingly against the Obama/Biden stimulus plan and not one Republican voted for the first Obama/Biden budget proposal. (A reminder. Not one Republican voted for the first Clinton/Gore budget proposal that lowered the annual budget deficit by $40 billion.) In addition, all of us are familiar with the ongoing Republican opposition to health care reform that so many agree is vital to meeting the needs of ordinary Americans, the millions presently uninsured and the general economy. And I would be remiss if not reminding you that only five Republican Senators voted for the Fair Pay Act requiring equal pay for women employed performing the same jobs as men.
It is not news to remind you that the voices of conservative Republicans in and out of Congress have stated that they hope the Obama/Biden administration fails. Two well known conservatives in the ranks of Republican opposition to President Obama, Floyd and Mary B. Brown, have suggested that he be impeached. Obviously, they want conservative Republicans in control of the White House and the Congress regardless of what their distortions of the truth and wishes for failure will cost the nation. We don’t stand with them. We don’t stand with those that distort the truth, raise our fears and oppose programs helpful to the general public. We stand for truth, justice, fairness and change. We are distressed that unemployment remains so high especially while Wall Street and the banking industry are again profitable.
As a nation of people we seem too often to be in a hurry to get things done, get where we are going and too often easily dissatisfied. Considering all the negatives that the Obama/Biden administration inherited are we asking for or expecting too much too soon? Put yourself in their shoes and perhaps ask, what would I do to improve our nations overall conditions while confronting the opposition. After eight years of getting the nation into a state of decline, is it reasonable to suggest that it will take more than a year to recover especially considering the constant opposition?
This President, I believe, wants to be a peoples President. Reaching out for bipartisanship in the interest of fairness and change has been offered in word and action without results. Looking ahead, the lack of Republican bipartisanship, at least meeting Democrats halfway, is evident in their actions, distortions and opposition votes as proof that the Obama administration will always have trouble in bringing about the changes in his campaign agenda. Americans voted for change. Bipartisan efforts are not working. Looking ahead, next years elections will require our continued and sustained involvement ever hopeful of a larger House and Senate majority to act on the promise of not only Health Reform now, but also to fulfill the administration agenda for Green Jobs, the economy, reform our education system and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act..
No one ever said reaching these legislative goals and successful elections will be easy. They never are. But success is always a hope as sometimes expressed in the statement regarding public policy, the harder we work the more success we can enjoy. This is additionally important because of next year’s national census that begins in March. House, Senate, Governor’s and state races, congressional redistricting and public funding are all part of the mix in which the Census has impact. Who will you want in office to make these important decisions?