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Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand

Posted: September 14, 2010 05:40 PM

Stop. Think. Breathe.

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It's not news... many people in our country are suffering. Uncertainty over our economy continues with high unemployment, which in turn has triggered many more home foreclosures. The lack of jobs has left a lot of people understandably angry, fearful and cynical about what they will face in the days ahead.

It's natural to want to stop the pain, to find a fast solution or look for a quick fix to end the agony of the last twenty months. But it took many years (eight) to unravel the policies and regulations that both protected our economy and kept it strong, and it is going to take time to rebuild and restore it.

The patience of the American people has worn thin. However, as we head into a midterm election, we must not make decisions based on frustration or anger, and revert back to the party and the leaders that turned a $236 billion budget surplus left by President Clinton into a $1.2 trillion deficit left by President Bush. We cannot, out of fear, go back to the same party and policies that created this economic meltdown, abused the system, and did little to help those who were left victimized by the greed of Wall Street and the special interests from K Street.

Republicans spent eight years creating and supporting the destructive policies of the Bush Administration, which systematically debilitated the economy as well as weakened our regulatory system. They created the biggest disparity between the ultra rich and the poor, while working to relax and eliminate rules governing banks, corporations, and financial institutions. Now, as we near Election Day, they are again asking hardworking Americans to trust them with their vote. Why should we trust them? They spent twenty months stonewalling the President's efforts to recharge our economy and put Americans back to work.

My question to the Republican Party is: What actions would you take that would differ from the actions that originally got us into this mess? Would you extend the Bush tax cuts that primarily benefit the top 1% of our country? Continue to block energy policies that will create millions of new green jobs? Keep policies in place that reward corporations that ship American jobs overseas? Oppose strong financial reform that insures that transactions, loans and credit cards are fair and transparent? Oppose a jobs bill that helps small businesses get the loans and the tax cuts that they need to prosper? Those are not the decisions that will lift America out of its difficulties and make our country stronger.

Week after week, on the 24 hour cable news cycle, Republican officials and prominent GOP leaders twist, distort and misrepresent the facts in order to place blame on others, while they continue to obstruct progress. It's like the old saying that if you tell a lie big enough and you keep repeating it often enough, people will eventually come to believe that it is true. Whether they are discussing financial regulation, health care, jobs, the economy, energy policy...virtually every important issue our country is grappling with today, the Republican Party that once stood for something, now refuses to engage in constructive conversation about anything, all the while, offering virtually no new policy alternatives in return.

Since President Obama took office, the Republican narrative has been to serve their party over serving the people. They have been committed to blocking progress at all costs in order to insure the failure of this President. But now is the time to give President Obama a chance to fulfill his promise of reviving the spirit of hope and possibility that has always allowed our country to dream and to make the impossible possible. The only way he will be successful is if he has a Congress that dreams with him and an American electorate that gives him the chance!

I believe that Americans truly want a government that represents the middle class and working families of this nation, not the extremely rich, the bankers, and the CEOs. We have experienced a difficult recession, but due to the President's policies, the country has avoided a total depression. What matters as we move forward is that consumers are protected, Wall Street is regulated, children have health care, and our representatives in Washington are committed to working for the people, not the private interests. I only hope that we can all take a deep breath and show the patience that is required to give our smart, committed and hopeful young leader the time he needs and the elected allies in Congress he requires to lift us all into a new time of innovation and prosperity.