Posted October 11, 2012 | comments 11 Comments

Reader commentary: Yes, we're better off today

By Bob Lowerre

A fair question in this campaign is, "Are we better off now than we were four years ago?"

A fair answer is, "absolutely."

Just about four years ago, President George W. Bush and his treasury secretary realized that the U.S. economy, and indeed the world's economy, were at the brink of collapse. They initiated a desperate effort to avoid this catastrophe that would lead to a worldwide depression. It centered on rescuing the banks, a policy called TARP. It was continued and expanded to other efforts when President Barack Obama took office.

Do most of us like the government bailing out the banks? Of course not. But where else would you start if the collapse of the economy was triggered by the failure of the banks? These decisions, mainly by the Obama administration, staved off a depression that would have made the recession look like a picnic.

Domestic industry was likewise endangered. A crucial ingredient was the auto companies. Against much advice, Obama acted to save GM and Chrysler, along with countless thousands of jobs. Mitt Romney tells us he'd let them go bankrupt.

The threat of al-Qaeda and its leaders long hung over us. As a result of Obama's courageous decision, Osama bin Laden is now dead. Dozens of other similar leaders likewise have been sent to their just reward. The terrorist threat remains, but in the last four years it has been dealt crippling blows.

In those years, well over 4 million new jobs have been created in private industry. At the end of 2008, more than 800,000 such jobs were being lost per month. While unemployment remains distressingly high, what would it be had Obama not rescued the economy from the abyss? And what might have been done to improve the situation had the Republican congressional leadership not publicly announced early on that their primary objective was to deny Obama a second term?

On another front, tens of millions of our people who are without health care coverage will soon have it. Insurance companies can no longer deny us coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or cut off coverage when we become ill. No longer can a ceiling be put on the total amount insurers will pay. And our children can remain on our policies up to age 26. After all the repeal bluster, even Romney now says he would preserve some of the above.

Under the president's leadership, laws were passed ensuring that the greed and chicanery of Wall Street and the big banks can never again threaten the well-being of the American people. The administration is busy preparing the complex regulations needed to put the legislation into effect. They are harassed at every step of the way by waves of lawyers and lobbyists unleashed by the very powers that caused the crisis in the first place. They are aided and abetted by Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan who, in every speech, deplore regulation.

Our elder citizens now enjoy the guaranteed benefits of Medicare. Under the budget devised by Ryan and endorsed by Romney, the prospect looms that Medicare will be converted into a voucher scheme run by the insurance companies. How much better off are many of us today than we would be under a Romney-Ryan regime!

And there are reasons why the stock market approaches its highest level in history.

Unemployment is too high; the housing market, while improving, has a long way to go. But imagine what they, along with the nation and the American people, would be were it not for the bold and courageous actions of the president summarized above, along with many others.

Bob Lowerre is a retired attorney living in Woodstock.

11 Comments | Leave a comment

    I can't argue with Bob. My grandad told me not to discuss politics with the obstinate.

        Yes, unfortunately very typical of people who wait for their great "leaders" to tell them what to believe.

        Didn't Biden blow Ryan away last night!? Ryan looked like he had just fallen out of a nest. It was so refreshing to see not only some "passion" but the opportunity to call this team out on their lies.

        Good ole Joe delivered. Yes, I know he laughed too much so SNL already have their material for this week. Already some of the Republican zombies are yelling, "disrespect". Imagine them having the nerve to even utter that considering the way Obama has been treated from day one.

        Well I hope Joe gives our president some tips for next Tuesday.

      Need to reconstruct your sentence structure ....obstinate is an adj vice noun. Your welcome.

    Agreed, VP...Baghdad Bob must have been Bob Lowerre's debate coach...("Absolutely" better-off, indeed!)

    One also wonders how a retired attorney could confuse between bankruptcy and the GM/Chrysler bailout -- which is essentially the same format (except GM's creditors and the taxpayers were ripped-off.)

    Fiat (owner of Chrysler) has already paid-off their Federal kiss to the foreign-owned manufacturer. So, why the need for intervention? The Union Vote, of course!

    Worse: As part of the deal, the government embedded itself into the boardroom. As a matter of equity, is the government now prepared to step-in throughout American industry?

    GM and the country would have been better off going through legitimate reorganization.

    We are definitely better off now than in the fall of 2008 due to our President's measured, intelligent approach to problem solving. In 2008, Obama was elected by a large majority because of his positions including affordable health insurance for all, sensible banking regulation reform, respect for women, fair tax policies, compassionate and logical immigration reform, and a firm, but tactical foreign policy. Because of his leadership, the auto industry is thriving, jobless numbers are falling, hiring is up, the stock market is rebounding, one war has ended, and health insurance availablity has grown. We are on the road to recovery. Now is not the time to go back to the policies that caused this mess in the first place. We need Obama in 2012.

    Are we better off today? Does a hobby horse have a wooden behind?

    The rarely seen, hard-to-execute FLIP - FLOP - FLIP

    Back in June, Mitt Romney offered an important insight into how he views economic policy.

    ยท "[President Obama] wants to hire more government workers," Romney said. "He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."

    Right. It'll "help the American people" just as soon as we allow more layoffs of school teachers and first responders. Why will the economy benefit when these workers are unemployed? Romney never got around to explaining that, but the larger point was hard to miss: the president believes the country would benefit from fewer teacher layoffs; Romney believes the opposite.

    At least, that's the way it seemed. Four months later, in last week's debate, President Obama brought this up, noting, "Governor Romney doesn't think we need more teachers. I do."

    The Republican responded, Ii>"I reject the idea that I don't believe in great teachers or more teachers." In other words, Romney no longer seems to agree with what he said in June.

    That is, until yesterday, when Romney sat down with the editors of the Des Moines Register. As Sam Stein noted, the former governor seemed to revert back to his original stance, arguing, "He wants to hire more school teachers. We all like school teachers. It's a wonderful thing.

    Typically, school teachers are hired by states and localities, not by the federal government. But hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy over the next three-to-four years."

    First, as a matter of economic policy, hundreds of thousands of public education jobs have been lost in recent years, and saving those jobs would, in reality, not only help schools, students, families, but also have a meaningful economic impact. Romney resists this, but teaching is a real job involving a real paycheck. Teachers who are employed can then use that paycheck to purchase goods and services, pay bills, make investments, etc. When those teachers are laid off and federal officials let it happen, the workers withdraw from the marketplace and hurt the economy.

    Why Romney struggles to understand this is unclear.

    "In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster โ€“ leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC โ€“ the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers โ€“ out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds."


    Speak for yourself and DON'T use WE, please. You do not speak for ALL OF US. You might be better off but a lot are not.

    Bain, under Romney, purchased an old mill in 1993, renamed GS Technologies. Almost a decade later it closed. A federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees. Some analysts say Bain should not be blamed for the company's failure, noting that a wave of cheap imports forced nearly half of the U.S. steel industry into bankruptcy during that period.


    The Mendacity of Mitt Romney Lying To The Teabillies

    As of Friday 10-12-2012, the number of Mitt Romney lies has reached 804, listed here chronologically, including reference source web links.


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