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Denise Dennis

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Let's Not Forget: A Reality Check for Americans

Posted: 11/04/11 07:16 PM ET

Too many Americans have short memories and have forgotten when and how our current economic decline really began.

During the 1980 Presidential primaries, candidate Ronald Reagan advocated a "trickle-down" theory of economics. The idea was that tax breaks for the rich and corporations would be good for the economy. Sound familiar?

The theory was so ridiculous, so outrageous that one of his GOP rivals in the primaries, George H.W. Bush, aptly described "trickle-down" economics as "voodoo economics." By the time he became Reagan's running mate, however, H.W. Bush forgot his aversion to voodoo economics and instead embraced it. Reagan-Bush won the election in 1980 and ushered in 30 years of tax policies that favor the wealthy and of deregulation policies that have put us all in peril.

Consequently, except for the years of the Clinton administration, which left the US with a surplus, we've been on an economic slide downhill ever since the excesses of the 80s.
From 2001-2008, our economic woes were exacerbated by the policies of George W. Bush. His tax cuts and reckless borrowing-and-spending spree left behind a morass of debt that will require more than a quick fix.

Remembering this, it should have come as no surprise last week when the Congressional Budget Office revealed that since 1979, the wealthiest one percent of Americans have seen their after-tax incomes increase by 275 percent; while the middle class has seen theirs increase by 40 percent; and lower income Americans have seen an increase of only eighteen percent.

Trickle-down economics -- voodoo economics -- has become the mother's milk of the GOP and has indeed been "a curse" on Americans.

Now, the GOP, who for so long have been adept at spinning, misdirecting and manipulating the American public, are trying to blame President Obama for our broken economy.

President Barack Obama is not responsible for the economic dilemma we face. Anyone who believes Obama could have turned the economy around in three, short years -- while the corporate powers who fund the GOP are spending millions of dollars to thwart him--is out of touch with reality.

Like many Democrats, I have been frustrated when the President has refused to "stick it to" Congressional Republicans as they've been trying to stick it to him. Whenever I put myself in his place, though; I understand that his steadiness and refusal to get into the mud with Congressional Republicans requires extraordinary inner strength that is rooted in strong convictions. He doesn't have to posture; he has justice and integrity -- qualities we don't see often anymore -- on his side. There is real power in integrity and the quest for justice.
The GOP has provided us with ample evidence that they do not care about average Americans or even about the nation's future; but instead care only about maintaining raw power at any cost.

Exhibit one: Soon after the President's inauguration, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, proclaimed that the goal of Congressional Republicans was to make Obama a one-term President and that, in order to achieve this, they would oppose any legislation POTUS proposed.

Exhibit two: Although more than sixty percent of the American people support the President's Jobs Bill, Congressional Republicans refuse to pass it because, if the legislation were to pass -- in addition to providing jobs for millions of Americans -- it would reflect favorably on President Obama.

Exhibit three: GOP governors are inveigling to disenfranchise voters in their states by trying to pass legislation that would require photo ID cards for voters.

The GOP has, in effect, declared an insidious, ideological civil war on this country. When one political party refuses to acknowledge and work with the democratically elected President of the United States, they are refusing to honor the nation and the principles on which it was founded.

Considering what he has been up against, President Obama is doing remarkably well. The following video clip, of a presentation by author Jake Lamar at a Democrats Abroad event in Paris, is a reality check for Americans -- especially disillusioned Democrats and Independents:

Jake Lamar is the author of six novels and a memoir, Bourgeois Blues, grew up in the Bronx, NY, is an alumnus of Harvard, and former associate editor of Time magazine. He has lived in Paris for 18 years and is a frequent guest on news programs in France, presenting his perspective on U.S. politics. (Full disclosure: Jake is also a good friend of mine.)