VIDEO – The new Republican attack line on President Obama is a reprise of the old Ronald Reagan line from 1980: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”. Looking back at our economy four years ago under President George W. Bush, the answer is YES.
Republicans, at their national convention last week, proved they have nothing new to offer the American people. There was very little substance or policy that the GOP discussed. Instead, they spent three days bashing Barack Obama and trotted out politicians telling you that all you need is to work harder and your kids might get rich like they are. ‘Look at me, the American success story!’ The Republican party crashed the economy by redistributing wealth to the top 1%, and there they were, asking working people to suffer through their proposed austerity measures so they can continue to give tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations.
They did, however, reach back into the archives by summoning their hero, Ronald Reagan. In his 1980 presidential campaign against President Carter, Ronald Reagan asked the American people, “are you better off today than you were four years ago?”. Desperate to try anything, they are attempting to go after Obama with the same line.
But this time, the answer is clearly ‘yes’. Four years ago, after suffering through seven and a half years under the George W. Bush presidency, the American economy (and the world economy) was on the brink of collapse. The reckless policies of the Bush Administration were clearly to blame for the Great Recession of 2008.
Republicans themselves do not want to talk about Bush or remind the people of those days. Well, they can’t have it both ways. If they are going to ask the question about how things are now versus four years ago, then you have to draw the comparison between today under Obama and where we were four years ago under Bush.
Apparently, the GOP is making a desperation bet that the American people completely forgot about President Bush and what was happening four years ago: the stock market tanking, major financial institutions collapsing, banks refusing to lend money, frozen credit markets… In Bush’s September 2008 speech (4 years ago) he warned, “we are in the midst of a serious financial crisis”.
The Republican National Convention proved that the Mitt Romney platform today is simply a continuation of the Bush policies of the past: deregulation for corporations, tax cuts for billionaires, subsidies for big oil, and even a call to war (this time with Iran). So as we ponder their question, “are we better off today than we were four years ago”, we can only answer, ‘yes’.
And answering in the affirmative does not mean things are the best they could be. But President Obama’s policies and stimulus stopped the bleeding, and reversed a trend of losing almost 800,000 jobs per month when he took office. Since reversing the trend of job losses to job gains, we have had 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth. The American people know we are in a slow, but steady recovery. They also know we cannot afford to go back to the GOP policies that brought us the Great Recession. We are much better off than four years ago.